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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“Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still! ”

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802
William Wordsworth

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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Summer! As the rivers sparkle in the sun, as the markets fill with produce of garden and field, as friends visit or are visited, these are days in which gratitude arises spontaneously and deeply. We warmly welcome you to gather with us to give thanks … to God, ‘the Lord who provides’. The Rev. Nancy Hancock will be leading worship. A nursery for infants and young children is offered during the service. Have a look at the Order of Service below, and join us!

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‘The Three Servants’ by JESUS MAFA – A Christian community in the Cameroon

If you are in the Kingston area, we would welcome you to join us in the worship of God. Our preacher this morning is the Rev. Dr. Karen Bach. Karen was the first Ecumenical Chaplain of the University of Toronto, and has also served as Director of the Evergreen Centre of the Yonge Street Mission, focusing upon additional pastoral services for young people on the streets of Toronto. The sermon theme is ‘Wise Investing in 2017′ based on Jesus’ parable of three servants from Matthew 25:13-40. Another special guest is violinist Doug Handforth. During the service a nursery is offered for infants and preschoolers. Have a look at the Order of Service below, and please join us!

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