This painting by William Kurelek comes from his collection entitled Northern Nativity.

During the Depression of the 1930’s, William was 12 years old. When he later looked back to that year, he remembers it as a hard time, with men riding boxcars, searching for work to send back support for their families, lining up in soup kitchens and knocking at doors for food for themselves. He also remembers how that year at school they had started rehearsing for the annual Christmas concert and how at Sunday School he had heard again the Christmas story … and Throughout that December when he was 12 years old William had these Christmas dreams. A few were long; others were more like pictures that flashed on very briefly. But they all started and ended with the questions – If it happened there, why not here? If it happened then, why not now?

From these childhood dreams came this wonderful collection of paintings. This particular canvas is entitled In The Mountains. It is a very Canadian scene, set amongst the majestic Rocky Mountains. There is a lodge, with skiers enjoying their Christmas vacation on the slopes, receiving group lessons, and on the balcony conversing. And in the foreground, Mary and Joseph are arriving on a difficult mountain trail. On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, this painting caused me to ponder anew the journey of Mary and Joseph to ‘the inn’, and also the unwanted journeys of challenge and struggle in our lives.

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us. Certified child care and a programme for young children are 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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And join us Christmas Eve, 7 p.m., for an hour of carols and readings in the beauty of the historic St. Andrew’s sanctuary. At the conclusion of the service, as the lights are dimmed, each person holds a candle with the flames dancing as stars in the cupola overhead, and together we sing ‘Silent night, holy night’.

An hour of God’s promises in scripture and God’s worship in music, lead by the Choir of St. Andrew’s. A time to be still, to reflect, to be renewed. If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us. 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. And after the service, please linger for an informal congregational lunch in St. Andrew’s Hall – it is potluck so bring something if you can … but your presence will be the best contribution! 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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And join us on Sunday December 22, 10:30 a.m. for a service for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, which will include a contribution by the children and youth of the congregation.

A good group of the St. Andrew’s congregation are following daily Advent devotions by Old Testament scholar Walter Bruggemann. The theme explored is how as Christians, knowing the promises and providence of God, we have been freed and called to live with strength and generosity in care of neighbour and service of God’s kingdom.

Did you know that there are fellow Presbyterians reading the same devotions from coast to coast with us? If you are interested, join the Facebook group, follow the conversations, and even join in if so inclined!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2397226327195079/

There are also study sheet available online and for printing …

https://presbyterian.ca/canadian-ministries/presbyterians-read/

 

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.