Come join us this Wednesday night at 7 PM for our first outdoor chapel service of the summer. Feel free to use our benches or bring a favorite lawn chair. We always have the option of moving indoors to our worship space if the weather doesn't cooperate but the weather for this Wednesday looks amazing!
This simple Service of Holy Communion will have it's own acoustic music, a spoken liturgy, and different readings and message from Sunday mornings. This summer we will be focusing on "Stories We Think We Know." These are very familiar stories from Genesis that many of us learned in Sunday School and even many non-church people would recognize. However, we are going to focus less on the events of the story and more on the context of the first writers, readers, and hearers of these stories. We are going to ask the following questions: What was at stake for them when these stories were written? What is at stake for us today? We hope you can join us Wednesday night. Future Wednesday services will be on July 10th and July 24th.
This Sunday at 9:30 AM, we celebrate one of the three great festivals of the church year, the Day of Pentecost. Coming 50 days after Easter and ten days after the Ascension of Our Lord, it is the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit to Christ's followers, the birth of Christ's Church in the world, and our mission together. Historically, Pentecost has been a huge celebration in Europe, where church celebrations take on the tone of Easter here in the States. Because Pentecost tends to fall over graduation weekends or Memorial Day (but not this year!), our celebrations tend to be more intimate and subdued. However, in no way does this diminish the importance of this day in the life of Christ's Church. For that may have been the first Pentecost but there have been many more since that time as God's Spirit continues to work in, with, and through us for the sake of the world.
If you are going to be in worship, here or elsewhere, this Sunday, wear something red as we celebrate the coming of the Spirit. (and St. Andrew's faithful - remember our important congregational meeting following 9:30 Worship) May God continue to bless us. empower us, and guide us for the joys and challenges of the journey ahead.
Holy Spirit, come upon us. Breathe new life into us. Help us to share this new life in what we do and say. You are our Creator. Help us to be creative. You inspire us. Help us to inspire others. Help us to build up rather than to break down. Help us to be renewed and refreshed when we are torn down and tired. Call us by your Spirit into the way of New Life, through the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
For those of you who are getting through this week by looking forward to an extended weekend, rejoice that we have such a gift as we transition into beautiful weather and the summer months ahead. However, I encourage you to remember to give thanks this weekend for the reason we have this holiday in the first place. Let us give thanks to God for those members of our armed forces who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms that we enjoy. Also, if you see someone in uniform in the days ahead, thank them for their service to our nation as well.
If you find yourself around a special meal with family and friends on Monday or if you find yourselves gathered around the barbecue, take time to say grace giving thanks for our many blessings. Also, feel free to print out and read the following prayer as well:
Almighty God, you are our strength and our shield. We give you thanks for the men and women of our armed forces, past and present, especially for those who have died while serving. May their sacrifices serve the cause of peace, and may our nation be ever grateful for their service. With your wisdom and strength guide our military's leaders, and give to your people a desire for justice and peace. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
We pray for safety in your travels and if you are in the area, we hope you will have the opportunity to join us for Sunday worship. Remember that we begin our summer schedule this weekend with one service at 9:30 AM. This Sunday, we will also have another installment of "Ask the Pastor" as the message will be shaped by your anonymous questions about the Bible, Church History, Liturgy and Worship, St. Andrew's, or faith and daily life. Come with your questions or simply listen and learn from the questions of others.
By the way, as we collect summer hymn requests for worship, there were some that were requested repeatedly. We will be singing one of them on Sunday (with percussion and trumpet) - the Battle Hymn (Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory).
A blessed week and weekend to you all. See you in church!
Looking ahead - We begin our journey from despair to hope, from darkness to light, from death to life. Here is our worship schedule for Holy Week:
Palm Saturday / Sunday
Saturday Worship - 5 PM
We celebrate Christ's entry into Jerusalem, reflect on what he and the crowds experienced, and what those experiences may say to us in today's world.
Palm Sunday - 8:15 and 11 AM
A triumphant processional, shouted hosannas, trumpets, bells, and festive music from our choirs acknowledge Christ as king. But this day of celebration is far more than it seems, because God brings about the fulfillment of his loving plan for the world in some pretty unexpected ways.
Maundy Thursday – 7:30 PM
Tonight we are reminded that our life of discipleship is a life of forgiveness and servanthood. In this worship experience, we are commanded by Jesus to love one another and we are united with Christ, with the saints, and with one another at the Lord's Supper. This brings us great strength in our own life of discipleship.
Good Friday Service of Tenebrae (Darkness and Light) at 7:30 PM
This deeply moving worship begins in light and ends in darkness. We gather around the word, prayer, and the cross, the central sign of our salvation.
Easter Vigil – Liturgy of Light, Word, Baptismal Remembrance, and Holy Communion at 5:00 PM
In this historic, deeply symbolic service, we are reminded of the great acts of God from Creation to Exodus to Resurrection. God's saving grace is proclaimed, then light fills the church as that grace fills us. Come and experience profound readings, wonderful music, and a first glimpse of the resurrection.
Easter Sunday – 8:15 and 11:00 AM:
With word and sacrament, prayer and song, choirs, bells, and brass, we rejoice at the empty tomb. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Participating in the upcoming services can only heighten your sense of joy when we celebrate the resurrection. Think about family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors etc who could join you for one of these special services.
As we approach the cross and the empty tomb in worship, consider the following questions:
- Christ humbled himself out of love. Where might we need to be humbled for the sake of our brothers and sisters in Christ?
- What needs resurrecting in our lives?
- What makes it hard to turn this over to God and trust that God will bring us, too, through darkness to light, through death to new life?
Holy God, remind us of your presence with us when we stumble, suffer, or are afraid in any way. Give us strength, courage, forgiveness, reconciliation, and peace. Help us to be an encouragement and a sign of life to others. Amen
At the heart of the Christian faith is the death and resurrection of Christ. On one side of this event and it's remembrance are the 40 days of Lent (not including Sundays), a time of preparation for the celebration of our Lord's passage from death to life. On the other side are the 50 days of Easter, a time of proclaiming and rejoicing in our redemption. Right in the middle of it all is Holy Week including Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, days in which our attention is riveted on Christ's death and resurrection. The entire 90 days is best seen as a whole viewed from two sides, from the cross and the empty tomb, each incomplete without the other. Listed below is a schedule of Lenten observances in the weeks ahead:
Ash Wednesday - March 6 - Come join us as we begin this season of renewal seeking strength for our daily lives.
- Noontime Devotion – A brief service of scripture, reflection, confession, and imposition of ashes. This is an opportunity for spiritual preparation and reflection in the middle of a work day. This is also a good worship opportunity for seniors who do not venture out at night and pre-school parents and grandparents transporting children (as well as those of you who work nearby and can take an extended lunch.
- 7:30 PM – Worship with Imposition of Ashes and Holy Communion (with music from Members of our Sanctuary Choir)
Lenten Dinners are held here at St. Andrew's at 6:30 PM. preceding our Lenten Services. We invite you to join us for fellowship and a hot meal before the service. There will be sign-up sheets on the bulletin board in the narthex each week with the menu posted. Please sign up so we know how many to plan for each Wednesday.
Midweek Lenten Series 2019 (Wednesdays at 7:30 PM)
Parables of Grace
Join us as we go deeper into the teachings of Jesus, parables with many possible meanings and parables that point us to love, forgiveness, generosity, gratitude, joy, and peace.
March 13 The Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37
March 20 The Lost Sheep Luke 15:1-7
March 27 The Pharisee and the Tax Collector Luke 18:9-14
April 3 Sower and the Seeds Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
April 10 The Mustard Seed Mark 4:26-34
"You awaken us to delight in your praise; for you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you" – St. Augustine
This upcoming Sunday, churches throughout the world who follow the assigned readings and festivals of the Church Year will be celebrating Transfiguration Sunday, the final Sunday before the Lenten season begins. On this day, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up to a mountaintop to pray. There they will experience an awesome vision they will never forget. We need mountaintop experiences of our own, places to pray, and sources of strength for the valleys ahead. We will also be following Jesus through the valleys during the season of Lent. Our daily journey with Jesus will take us to:
- quiet places of prayer
- opportunities to feed the hungry
- nights in lonely gardens and angry storms
- the joy and peace of more mountaintop moments
- instructions to care for ourselves and those around us
- reminders that we are never alone but always in the power of the Spirit
- assurance that Jesus meets us exactly where we are but never leaves us that way.
Join us this weekend as we gather around Word and Sacrament as our eyes are opened to the ways that Jesus transfigures and transforms lives. See you in church!
Luke 5:1-11 (This Sunday's Gospel which I will not be preaching on - keep reading!)
1 Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2 he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." 5 Simon answered, "Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets." 6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" 9 For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people." 11 When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
There are some Sundays when we gather for worship and find some real treasures in our assigned readings (some Sundays not so much!) This week I will be focusing much of my attention on the first reading but there are some lessons to be found in the assigned Gospel reading written above.
First of all, they had been fishing all night and came up empty. I can only imagine the look on the face of Peter (a fisherman) when Jesus (a carpenter) makes the "brilliant" suggestion of dropping the nets on the other side of the boat. Have you ever had someone who knows absolutely nothing about your job try to tell you how to do your job? Don't you love that? As silly (and unlikely) as this all seems, I think that there is a point here. Sometimes the tried and true, what we do over and over again doesn't work and we need to try something different. This can be true of family life, work, the way we take care of body, mind, and spirit, our relationships, and the church.
Secondly, they are being asked to put out into deep water which is risky. Sometimes playing it safe doesn't bring the changes we need in life. Sometimes we do need to take risks and trust that God and people who love us will be there if we fail.
Next, there are those days when we just need to keep fishing. We need to keep at it even in those seasons when it doesn't seem to be making a difference. In good times and bad, we know our gifts and we know our calling and we remain faithful.
Finally, even though Peter is fearful and sees himself as unworthy of the Lord's encounter and call, Jesus does not seem to be phased at all. He tells Peter, "Do not be afraid" and then calls him to the new thing that God is doing in his life. God knows our deepest needs better than we know them ourselves, God sees qualities and gifts in us that we don't always readily recognize. God knows that there is so much more to our lives than anything we can see now?
How might God be calling you to love? To forgive? To strengthen? To trust? To serve? We gather as God's people to discern God's calling in our lives and to be reminded that we will have what we need to follow. I am so grateful for the tremendous responsibility and wonderful privilege of being a servant leader among you and I look forward to what God is calling us to do and to be in the year ahead See you in church!
Make A Blanket Day - this Saturday, Feb. 9 downstairs in St. Andrew's Hall from 10 AM to 2 PM including hands on demonstrations of tied fleece blankets, knitted or crocheted Afghans, and quilted or tied comforters. Also, learn ways that you can contribute your handiwork to the Project Linus mission, creating blankets for children in hospitals, shelters, and other social service agencies. This is open to the community so invite interested family and friends to join you. Drop in for as long as your schedule allows or pack a lunch and stay the whole time! You can contact Kristi Simkins - krisscots@comcast. net with any questions.
As we get ready to turn the calendar page and look forward to the promises of 2019, I want to thank so many of you for being such a blessing to our congregation and communities in 2018.
This year concluded in wondrous ways for our faith community. Over three services on Christmas Eve, we had well over 500 people praising our newborn king (This is in addition to 200 the day before at our Christmas Pageant) I have received many positive comments about the energy in the room at worship and especially the power, grace, and beauty expressed in the music. A big thanks to Nicole Kruvczuk and our children and youth, Marcella Curtiss and our choirs, Lynette Becattini , Charles Armstrong, and Wendy Leinhauser for all of their work behind the scenes, and all of you who volunteered so much of your time during the Advent and Christmas season. Also, a huge word of thanks is extended for your financial support throughout the year and especially on Christmas Eve where we experienced tremendous generosity The way you have opened your hands, your hearts,and your voices has brought more blessings to people in this community and abroad than you will ever know.
Tomorrow we will have one Worship Service at 10 AM (No Saturday worship tonight)
Next Sunday, January 6, we will celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord as we return to our regular worship schedule with worship at 5 PM on Saturday, Sunday Worship at 8:15 & 11 AM, and Christian Education on Sunday at 9:30 AM.
Also on Sunday, January 6 we begin two new exciting adult education gatherings at 9:30 AM:
Music Since the Reformation (meeting upstairs in Choir Room)
This series, led by Dr. Don Joye, will cover music development from the Reformation and touch on contributions by the masters (including Bach, Handel, Beethoven, and Haydn) as well as other modern examples.
Sin of Certainty (meeting upstairs in Daniel's Den)
Difficult passages of and questions about the Bible and how we often mistake "correct belief" for faith when what is really needed is trust.
Finally, I make a sad face as I inform you that Christmas decorations will start coming down on Monday January 7 at 6:30 PM. Time marches on and while admittedly it is not as much fun as putting the decorations up, the company is just as good. If you would be willing to help, it would be greatly appreciated.
The month of December was quite a ride for us. Now it's time to follow Jesus through the joys and challenges of 2019. A blessed New Year to all. See you in church!
Thank you for coming one holy night so many years ago. Thank you for meeting us in a manger in love and humbleness. Thank you for reaching out your hand to fill us with mercy and forgiveness. Thank you for sending us angels to announce your birth so that there would be no doubt as to your majesty and goodness. Shine a light in our darkness. Be born in our hearts today and everyday. Come Lord Jesus.
We hope to see many of you here, along with family and friends, this Sunday at 11 AM for our annual Christmas pageant. What a beautiful, fun, and moving way to tell the Christmas story. We will begin 11:00 Worship with Christmas carols played by our orchestra of our children and youth, as well as quite a few adults who have dusted off their instruments for the occasion. We then will turn to the story of the incarnation with children and youth of all ages playing a role in this central story of our faith.
Both our Christmas pageant and last weekend's amazing cantata are evidence of what I have come to love about the people and mission of St. Andrew's: a high value placed on bringing generations of people together in the name of Jesus (generations in our choirs are a great example), committed servants who understand their role and take ownership of it, a treasure of musical talent, the willingness to share that talent, and incredible generosity in supporting the ministries of this congregation and community. I hope to see many of you at worship. Looking ahead to Christmas Eve where I know that I will see many of you at more than one service:
4:00 PM - Family Worship
A more informal worship experience with familiar Christmas carols and St. Andrew's children participating in the leadership of worship. This experience is great for families with younger children (including a glow stick "candlelighting"), those of you who need to get home to prepare dinner, parties, and family gatherings, and those of you who are young at heart who will have your hearts stirred as we bring the innocent and wise together to praise the new born king.
7:00 and 10:00 PM - Candlelight Communion
Traditional Christmas Eve worship with familiar carols, special music from our choirs, soloists, and instrumentalists, the proclamation of the birth of our Lord, the celebration of Communion, and gathering with lit candles for the singing of Silent Night. This is a night of reunion for many St. Andrew's families and an opportunity to bring welcome and blessing to many guests, some who are coming through our doors for the very first time. Be sure to invite family members, friends, co-workers, or neighbors to join you for worship. Come join us as we give thanks to God for the greatest gift of all, the life of his Son among us.
Please keep in mind that there will be Christmas music prior to each of these services. Come a little early to secure the seating of your choice, especially @ 7 PM.
Sunday December 30 - Christmas Lessons & Carols - 10 AM
Celebrate Christ's birth in a simpler celebration around familiar readings and carols. If we missed one of your favorites on Christmas Eve, there is a good chance that we will sing it on this day.
Our regular weekend schedule resumes on Saturday January 5 @ 5 PM and Sunday January 6 (Epiphany of Our Lord) with worship at 8:15 and 11 AM, Christian Education at 9:30 AM.
On behalf of our staff and Church Council, I wish all of you a truly blessed Christmas and a hope filled New Year.