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These warm and wonderful days of summer we continue our journey through Paul’s letter to the Philippians with our Minister. The words this morning are of great encouragement (Philippians 2:1-18). There is a healing and a hope waiting for us to explore (further) and enjoy (more fully) … in Christ. This is not a matter of achievement or accomplishment, but is all gift … of God. ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you’ (Philippians 2:12-13).

There is assurance but also exhortation in this passage of Paul’s letter. As I was preparing my words for the sermon this Sunday, I remembered a parable told by William Barclay. It focused on a child who chose to continue playing in a small sand box when the joys of an entire ocean beach were just steps away. The Scottish Presbyterian Bible commentator was pointing to the fact that so many Christians seem to become content with what they know and resist growing into faithful maturity, perhaps with struggle but for good. Not one of us can be satisfied with anything less than the fullness of life promised, the salvation of God.

Since May, a group of Queen’s students associated with InterVarsity Fellowship have been living in the heritage manse of St. Andrew’s, creating an intentional missional community at the corner of Princess and Clergy. This morning Deirdre and Alix will be with us, and share some of their hopes and prayers.

Have a look at the order of service below, and if you are in the area, you would be welcome to join us in the worship of God. A sanctuary of beauty. Classic hymns of praise. A time of reflection and renewal. Even some special music from the St. Andrew’s recorder class! There is ample parking on the streets around, and in the public surface lot just behind the church off Queen Street. And during the service there is a supervised nursery for infants and young children.

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We will be gathering outside, upon the grass and beneath the branches, to offer our weekly service of worship in ‘God’s cathedral’ (as Celtic Christians of old used to say) of creation.

Since we began this ‘tradition’, we have explored God’s Word for us by focusing each year on a different theme – ‘trees’, ‘birds’ and ‘garden’. This year we will consider how God speaks to us through the rivers of scripture and our lives – the rivers of Eden, of Babylon, of baptism, of the Holy Spirit. Our special guests will be choristers of the Tyendinaga Church Choir, whose contributions will include singing ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’ in Mohawk.

If you are in the area, we would welcome you to join us. Have a look at the order of service below. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket if you wish, but chairs will also be available. During the service, the children will be invited to participate in a church ‘scavenger hunt’ led by Laura. And after the service a BBQ for all!

Hope you can join us.

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A new exhibition at the Agnes Etherington Arts Centre of Queen’s University focuses upon the 50 years of amazing gifts by Alfred Bader, and features a painting by Luca Giordano, ‘Jacob’s Dream’.

Luca Giordano, Jacob’s Dream, around 1694-1700, oil on canvas. Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston. Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 1988 (31-003)

This canvas prompted within me a return to the biblical story (Genesis 28:10-22) and a discovery of the various ways it has spoken to God’s people through the ages – a medieval riff upon the spiritual disciplines of ‘ascending’ into God’s presence; a Reformation emphasis upon the grace of God’s faithfulness to God’s promises; a subversive hope given to African-Americans enslaved; an assurance given to Alfred Bader himself when interred as an ‘enemy alien’ in this land; a reminder in a secular society that ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it’. I wonder how this story speaks to you at this point along your journey?!

Join us if you are in the area – you would be welcome. There is a nursery with certified child care for infants, and a programme for young children during the service. There is free parking on the streets around and in the public surface lot just behind the church off Queen Street.

Have a look at the order of service, and the announcements … and join us!

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The Scottish theologian Thomas F. Torrance has called the Trinity ‘the fundamental grammar of God’. The phrase reminds me that the Trinity is not just the way we talk about God. The Trinity is the way God is.

The one God is a community, composed of Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the classic words of the Scriptures and creeds. The one God is a community of love – the Lover, the Beloved and the Love itself that they share (as described by Jurgen Moltmann). And the love that this divine community is within itself … is a love that overflows from itself, known by human beings like us in divine acts of creation, salvation and inspiration.

Last Sunday we explored how the first act of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the creation of the Church, the drawing of women and men into community by which they could grow into the divine community that is God. This Sunday we will explore how the love that binds Christians together is by definition a love that also overflows, from the church into the lives of neighbours and nations.  The scriptural text for the sermon will be a passage that invokes all three ‘persons’ of the Trinity and describes the commission to mission – the Risen Lord saying to his friends ‘As the Father sent me, so I send you’, then breathing upon them the Holy Spirit (John 20:19-23).

We will be singing great hymns like ‘Thou whose almighty word’, ‘O Spirit of the living God’ and ‘Glory be to God the Father/Son/Spirit’, and the choir anthem will be Tchaikovsky’s ‘Cherubic Hymn’ with the well-known words ‘Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee. Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty, God in three Persons, blessed Trinity’.

If you are in the area this Sunday, please join us. We would warmly welcome you. There is a nursery for infants and a programme for children during the service. There is ample free parking in the public surface lot just behind the church off Queen Street and on neighbouring streets (time of day restrictions are not enforced on Sundays).

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Pentecost Sunday

If you are in the area, we warmly welcome you to join us as we celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit, bringing together the Church as the Living Body of the Living Lord … fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus … and today! There is a nursery for infants and a programme for young children offered during the service. Free parking is found along nearby streets and in a public surface lot just behind the church off Queen Street.

Have a look at the order of service. And consider each of the announcements of the following pages a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service!

Of particular note is the opening of the 143rd General Assembly this evening, 7 p.m. For further details, see the link in the Special Events section to the right.

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The Ascension of Christ by Salvador Dali, 1958

Some might still imagine the universe as a three storied structure, with heaven above, earth in the middle and hell below. Even so, I doubt I could find anyone who would say that space travel could ever bring us to heaven.

It is true that the Ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:1-11) definitely uses the language of ‘up’. Yet it strikes me as less a description of leaving and more a matter of completion. In the most profound way, I hear the ascension of Jesus as completing his incarnation. Jesus came amongst us and took our our human life to restore us to relationship with our God, here and now. Our God resides not apart from us but amongst us, which is the whole point of Pentecost. Home is not ‘up’ but here. With God. Thank God.

If you are in the area, you are warmly invited to join us in worship this Sunday. During the service a nursery is offered for infants and there is a programme for children. There is ample free parking available on the streets around (even where it states no parking during certain day time hours), and in the public surface lot behind the church on Queen Street west of Clergy. Have a look at the Order of Service, and the announcements, and join us!

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When you hear the phrase ‘the rock and the sword’, what comes to mind? If you are like me, the image is probably that of Merlin bringing the unknown young man Arthur to a great stone at Westminster, and Arthur pulling the sword and being crowned King of England. That is what would come to my mind, if I were not the Minister of St. Andrew’s Church Kingston, that is!

In fact if you plug ‘the rock and the sword’ into any internet search engine, the first listing is for a volume of this congregation’s history! This Sunday morning, author Brian S. Osborne will present St. Andrew’s with a revised and expanded version of its history, in preparation for the 200th anniversary celebrations of the congregation commencing September 16-17 later this year.

The title of this book is taken from a quote of Robertson Davies, who spent formative years in St. Andrew’s and wrote ‘I have found the Shorter Catechism a rock at my back and a sword in my hand’. The sermon this Sunday will take up the phrase ‘the rock and the sword’ but will delve beyond the volume of history, beyond Robertson Davies, beyond even the Shorter Catechism, and focus upon some scripture texts that might prove a strength to us in our day (and in particular I Samuel 2:1-8, Psalm 62 and Ephesians 6:10-17).

If you are in the area, please join us. There is ample free parking along the surrounding streets, and during the service there is a nursery available for infants and a programme for children. After the service there is a congregational lunch to which all are welcome. Have a look at the order of service, and announcements within. It would be a pleasure to welcome you!

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