Here in Kingston it is a beautiful snowy winter day. We have procured a mini shovel with which to greet our one year old grandson when he arrives next week – he has work to do!

It is a season when we can be overwhelmed by all the work that is ours. It is not just the shovelling or the preparations for the gatherings of friends and family that can fill these weeks. We are all aware also of the work that is ours as neighbours and global citizens – from advocating for the unhoused in these winter days when the city shelters are full, to exploring ways we can encourage a transition into a culture and an economy that will respect this world sufficiently to leave it intact for the next generation (and to the glory of God). It can be overwhelming.

It is exactly at a time like this that Christian faith comes to the fore. Many of us in the Presbyterian Church in Canada are joining together in reading daily devotions by Walter Bruggemann, ‘Celebrating Abundance’. The emphasis is on rejecting the contemporary emphasis on ‘scarcity’ and living into the ‘abundance’ of God’s promises and provision for us and for all. As I turned the pages this past week, I thought about how Bruggemann once said to a group of ministers … ‘Few of our people imagine God to be an active character in the story of their lives’.

We may believe in God, but we treat God as somewhat detached and passive, involved perhaps just at the end of lives, on the periphery between this world and another. Generations of God’s people before us have thought of God very differently. They declared that God does things, that God is constantly at work among us, for good …

 

Corby Eisbacher

This sense of wonder and joy that God is at work is what Mary and Elizabeth share when they meet. Mary makes clear that it is not just the child growing in her womb that God is working, but a new humanity and new world through that child/Christ. We can hear her she sing to this day … ‘God has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts and put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of low degree. God has filled the hungry will good things and the rich God has sent empty away’ (Luke 1:46-55) and so much more. God is at work, and in that work of God we find assurance and strength … to work with God. 

That big shovel belongs to God. That little shovel is mine and ours.

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join the worship of God. Certified child care is offered during the service and there is free parking on the streets around (please note that the time-of-day restrictions on Clergy Street north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays) and in the surface civic lot just behind the church off Queen Street.

Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below, and consider each hymn and prayer and announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service. If you have any questions about forthcoming events and opportunities, please call the church office Tuesday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – noon, 613-546-6316, or email anne@standrewskingston.org

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Join us next Sunday as we continue our journey to Christmas and light the third candle of Advent during a service of Lessons and Carols led by the choir of St. Andrew’s.

Marilyn McLean and the Kingston Street Mission

BELOW: Read about ‘Street Mum‘ and the Kingston Street Mission that has a home here at St. Andrew’s Church.

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OR 

Click here to read about ‘Street Mum‘ as it appears on kingstonist.com.

The Annunciation – John William Waterhouse, 1914

As I was preparing for this season of Advent, it struck me how much movement there is in the initial chapters of the Gospel According To Luke. Gabriel coming to Mary, Mary going to Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary going to Bethlehem, the shepherds going to the manger, the child brought to the Temple in Jerusalem …

Life is full of journeys, of course. For some of us, they may be journeys of geography. But for all of us there are journeys of heart and mind and soul, of relationships and understandings and of faith. And so, accompanying the journeys that marked the incarnation of our Lord, these weeks of Advent we will explore the journeys of our lives.

We begin the journey of Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:26-38). There are a whole host of wonderful works of art that take up this scene, many communicating the stillness and strength of the moment when a young woman was confronted by a heavenly messenger … and she responded with such amazing trust and commitment ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word’.

What I love about the particular canvas above by Waterhouse is something else – Mary is not at her devotions inside but outside spooling wool, and her raised hand captures an ambiguity of the instant, as she struggles with whether to accept or dismiss this divine commission. We may not have the experience of an angel standing before us, but have we not all received the call of Christ? And the challenge of the moment, of the life? 

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join the worship of God. Certified child care is offered during the service and there is free parking on the streets around (please note that the time-of-day restrictions on Clergy Street north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays) and in the surface civic lot just behind the church off Queen Street.

Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below, and consider each hymn and prayer and announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service. If you have any questions about forthcoming events and opportunities, please call the church office Tuesday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – noon, 613-546-6316, or email anne@standrewskingston.org

Download (PDF, 313KB)

Join us next Sunday as we continue our journey to Christmas and light the second candle of Advent, exploring the journey of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth.

Presbyterian congregations across Canada this morning will be greeted with this image on the cover of the Orders of Service. It is a portion of a great stained glass window found just as you enter the sanctuary of St. Andrew’s Kingston from the main doors through the bell tower. And I find it quite stunning.

Around the perimeter are pomegranates, which must have evoked a sense of wonder in the late 1800s when this window was installed in this far corner of creation. The fruit hang from branches that evoke the Tree of Jesse, from which God had promised to raise up a new leader, a Messiah, for the people of God. At the centre is a crown, heralding the King of Kings, with rays of golden light streaming behind. Both point us to Jesus the Christ. This depiction is exactly as we would expect and can fully celebrate.

But of course there is a backstory that is critical to understanding. The background of the crown is blood red. The rays of light from the crown are in the form of a cross. It is the embracing life and sacrificial death of Jesus that define how he rules. This is known as ‘Christ the King’ Sunday, and we still ask, as did the disciples of old, ‘Who then is this?’ (Mark 4:35-41). 

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join the worship of God. Certified child care is offered during the service and there is free parking on the streets around (please note that the time-of-day restrictions on Clergy Street north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays) and in the surface civic lot just behind the church off Queen Street.

Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below, and consider each hymn and prayer and announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service. If you have any questions about forthcoming events and opportunities, please call the church office Tuesday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – noon, 613-546-6316, or email anne@standrewskingston.org

Download (PDF, 308KB)

Join us next Sunday as we begin our journey to Christmas and light the first candle of Advent, singing ‘O come, O come Emmanuel’


Click on the link below to hear the interview of Sandi Dodds on CKWS News. 

‘It’s just like your family’: Kingston’s The Mess Studio 10 years old and going strong

Let’s talk about “The Mess.”

That’s the name of an art-based program in downtown Kingston, designed for those affected by poverty, addiction, mental and physical health issues. On Tuesday, The Mess officially celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Sandi Dodds is the executive director and co-founder.

“We’re called The Mess Studio because life can definitely be messy and so can art,” Dodds said.

The Art of Hanging Art

And according to Dodds, if you keep working on it and persevere — in both life and art — something beautiful will result. And that’s been the case as The Mess celebrates a decade on the Limestone City scene.

The initiative, which is run out of the basement of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in the downtown area, is a place where art and relationships come alive, Dodds says.

“We are diverse and inclusive but at the heart of The Mess are people that are struggling with physical or mental health, addition, poverty, loneliness,” Dodds explained.

“We qualify that only to say please come out. Don’t let anything stop you from being a part of our community, we want to remove all stigmas.”

Sharon Walker has been a part of The Mess for seven years now. She enjoys producing art, and she also enjoys the atmosphere where she does it.

“It’s really a great place to come and meet new people and it’s just like your family,” Walker said. “That’s what it is.”

Dodds and co-founder Mechele te Brake have taken something from humble beginnings to what it is today, and Dodds says they had no idea that they’d go two to 150 people.

The Mess has spent the past seven years at St. Andrews, all rent-free. The non-profit organization is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

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