At the very front of the St. Andrew’s sanctuary, in a forest of wonderfully-curved and warmly-polished wood, stands an angular, starkly-white stone structure. It stands out, in colour and in material, and it is meant to. It is the baptismal font.

The word ‘baptism’ has its roots in the Greek verb ‘baptizein’, to wash. The font stands before us to remind us how in Christ we are cleansed by God, given a new beginning with our God, in this life and into the next. But I love also how the word ‘font’ comes from the Latin ‘fons’, fountain – the font stands there to remind us that the Holy Spirit continues to flow into and through our lives all our days, as surely as fountains of water gurgle up from the ground.

If you are looking for a church home, or visiting the area, we invite you warmly to join us this Sunday morning. Have a look at the Order of Service below (and notice how the music picks up the theme of music!). We will be welcoming members of Queen’s InterVarsity Fellowship, for whom the historic St. Andrew’s manse is home.

There is free parking on the streets around, and in a public surface lot just behind the church on Queen Street. During the service there is a nursery offered for infants, and a programme for children.

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King’s Town had become Kingston, Upper Canada. In the summer of 1817, a group of residents met in the newly-opened Moore’s Coffee House on Store Street (now Princess Street and again filled with coffee houses) and, with pledges of over £500, covenanted to begin a Christian community in the Presbyterian tradition. Before their first minister arrived in 1821, they had not only been gathering regularly for prayers but had also constructed a large church prominently placed on a limestone ridge overlooking the port. At the time, the town’s population was only about 2,500, but they were building upon strong foundations of faith, for future generations of witness.

This weekend we gather to give God thanks for our heritage in the Christian faith, for the witness of those before us in this corner of God’s creation who have shown us the way by ‘prayer, precept and example’, and for the opportunities we have in this time and place to witness to Jesus Christ and the promises of God.

If you are in the area, please join us for a wonderful service of celebration and commitment. The Mayor of Kingston, Bryan Paterson, will join a member of St. Andrew’s and student of Queen’s, Jamie Summers, in reading the Scriptures. The Moderator of the 143rd General Assembly, the Reverend Peter Bush of Winnipeg, will be preaching. The St. Andrew’s Choir will be presenting a special composition by John Hall based on Psalm 84, ‘How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord … Even the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young at your altars, O Lord. Happy are those who live in your house, singing your praise.’

There is free parking on the streets around and in the public surface lot off Queen Street just behind the church. During the service there will be offered a nursery for infants and young children, and also a programme for older children and youth. Have a look at the announcements, and join us not only on Sunday morning, but for a film night, Bible study, choir … in Christ!

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It’s the beginning of a new academic year. It is also the beginning of a new congregational year!

If you are looking for a church home, away from home, you would be welcome at St. Andrew’s. This year, St. Andrew’s is celebrating 200 years of witness at the centre of the city that became Kingston. Two ‘Fathers of Confederation’, John A. Macdonald and Oliver Mowatt, were raised in and were active as members of this congregation. It was this church that began Queen’s University. On one of the back pews you can still see where cadets from RMC engraved their signatures, including that of World War One ace, Billy Bishop.

Our worship is what could be described as simple and ‘classic’. The hour begins with the Bible being brought in and placed before us. The focus of our worship is listening for God’s Word in scripture, sermon and, on the first Sunday of each month, Holy Communion. We sing our souls from a hymn book that brings forward 2000 years of Christian praise, and we are accompanied by an organ of over 3000 pipes. We are part of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, a branch of the Church of Christ that traces its heritage back to the ‘reformation’ of the Church in the 15th and 16th centuries, particularly under Jean Calvin in Geneva, Switzerland.

We are excited to be in partnership with Queen’s InterVarsity Fellowship, with eight students living in the historic residence next to the sanctuary, forming an intentional Christian community on the downtown block. With IV you will find lots of study and prayer opportunities with fellow students! http://queenschristianfellowship.weebly.com

And there are lots of opportunities to serve with the love of Christ through initiatives that have their home within St. Andrew’s. The Kingston Street Mission offers a safe place 8 p.m. to midnight for all struggling with accommodation issues and loneliness https://www.facebook.com/Kingston-Street-Mission-218081651859148/. The Mess builds community amongst individuals from across the social spectrum through the creative arts (Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) https://www.facebook.com/themesskingston/ And Special Meals offers a free home-cooked meal to all every Sunday evening, 5 p.m.

You are invited to join us on Sunday mornings. And if you have any questions, please contact our Minister, Andrew Johnston, at a.johnston@standrewskingston.org

https://www.google.ca/maps/place/130+Clergy+St+E,+Kingston,+ON+K7K+3S3/@44.2330454,-76.4916625,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x4cd2ab009b2f4267:0xf2f188208aadf021!8m2!3d44.2330454!4d-76.4894738?hl=en

At the corner of Princess and Clergy Streets – our doors are now blue!

The sanctuary, with the great ‘St. Andrew’ window on the Princess Street side.

The manse, and now home of the Queen’s InterVarsity Fellowship community.

 

Church buildings come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and characters … just like the Christians they are constructed to serve. As we begin our 200th anniversary year (the big celebration is next weekend!), I will be exploring how the current St. Andrew’s Church leads us into the worship of God during this year of grace. I begin this Sunday by looking at the doors, and how they extend the invitation to enter into the presence of the Holy One … and the exhortation to go into the world in service of the God known in Jesus, who himself said ‘I am the door. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find nourishment’ (John 10:9-10).

If you are in the area, you are warmly invited to join us. There is ample free parking on the surrounding streets and in the public surface lot off Queen Street just behind the church. During the service there is a nursery for infants and young children, and a church school for school age children. Have a look at the Order of Service, and the announcements, in the bulletin below … and join us!

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This long week-end offers us a grace-full opportunity to step aside from our work … and consider the work of others. We live in a universe beyond our measurement, we inhabit cities we did not build, we did not choose to be born and yet we have life.

In the midst of resting from our labours, we gather to reflect upon God’s works of creation, salvation and inspiration. With the psalmist, we pray ‘Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children’ (Psalm 90:16). With Paul in his letter to the Philippians, we consider all we know in Christ and declare ‘To our God and Father be glory forever and ever’ (Philippians 4: 20). And together we will sing, ‘Lord of light, whose name and splendour far outshine the suns of space, deign to make us your co-workers in the kingdom of your grace; use us to fulfill your purpose in the gift of Christ your Son: Abba, as in highest heaven, so on earth your will be done’.

Have a look at the Order of Service below. We warmly welcome you to join us. During the service there is a nursery offered for infants and young children. There is free parking available on the streets around the church and in a public surface lot just behind the church off Queen Street.

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The word most often accompanies a shrug of the shoulders, a tone of apathy if not of cynicism. When a question is asked, asking for a choice between here or there, this or that, now or then, the answer can so easily be … ‘Whatever’. Quite different the use of the word by the apostle Paul in his letter to the church of Philippi (Philippians 4:8).

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This phrase is presented in a detail of a window of the sanctuary of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Ottawa, executed in 1926 by James A. Ballantyne of Edinburgh Scotland. Three heavenly visitors are portrayed, representing Love, Truth and Justice. They appear to a man at his devotions, Bible open, with the phrase of Revelation 2:10 highlighted ‘Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life’. How is one faithful in life and even unto death? The answer is given in the words of the apostle, ‘whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things’.

Far from the ‘whatever’ of a shrug, the word here is used to emphasize the active, discerning, disciplined Christian endeavour of identifying the good in this world of grace, and ‘thinking upon them’, celebrating them, encouraging them, sharing them. I am always struck how open ended is this exhortation – ‘whatever’ as in ‘everywhere’, ‘with every opportunity’ and ‘at all times’. Seen in a stained glass window, our first thoughts are of the saving ‘things’ and ways of God. But what is begun in the sanctuary is to be continued in all the spaces and relationships of the world beyond. The ‘service’ of the Christian is to hold back the powers of darkness by participating in the good of our world, whatever it may be – in the realm of art and music, or community service and advocacy for justice within the nation.

Join us this Sunday as we hear the words of Paul, rejoicing in the things of God known in Christ Jesus, and considering how each of us might better respond, to the glory of God and the good of neighbour. There is free on street parking and in a public surface lots on Queen Street just behind the church. During the service a nursery is offered for young children. Have a look at the Order of Service below … and start humming some of the great hymns in preparation!

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I am returning from a time away. Béatrice and I spent wonderful days away with our family, and visiting her gathered family – we were sixteen in all. Now I return to my church family. I look forward to the congregational year ahead, beginning in a few short weeks with the 200th anniversary celebrations.

More immediately I look forward to completing our summer exploration of Paul’s letter to the Philippians … and us. This Sunday the focus is upon his declaration ‘I press on’ (Philippians 3:10 4:1). The amazing thing is that Paul, imprisoned and isolated as he is, makes this declaration not out of grim duty but with great joy. The point he makes for us as Christians is that, however full our heritage, we need to allow the future to shape our lives. In Jesus Christ we know what lies ahead for us by the grace of God, and it is that which provides lives now with strength and joy. ‘Press on’ is less an exhortation to discipline than an encouragement to turn on the power that flows from the Holy One into our lives!

If you are in the area, we warmly welcome you to join us. Have a look at the Order of Service below. There is ample free parking on the streets around the church, and in the public surface lot just behind the church off Queen Street. During the service there is a nursery offered for infants and young children.

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