The warm colours of this scene provide a hint of the artist’s provenance far from the snows swirling outside this morning … Rupert Charles Wulsten Bunny of Australia created this painting in 1896 to conjure the announcement of the angel Gabriel to Mary, the announcement that God wished to work a new beginning for humanity through her. All would hinge upon Mary’s response (Luke 1:26-38).

This fourth Sunday of Advent we acknowledge how God now approaches us. Not by angel but by Holy Spirit. Not to participate in the incarnation of the Christ, but rather the extension of his kingdom of peace and justice and joy. And so much now awaits on our response.

If you are in the area, you are warmly invited to join us in worship. From the Order of Service below, you will notice that we will not constrain our joy, and we will be singing some carols in advance of our evening candlelight service (7:30 p.m.) A nursery for infants is offered during the service. Children will be invited to remain in the sanctuary for the service. Ample parking can be found in the public surface lot just behind the church off Queen Street, and along the streets around (please note it is possible to park on the streets north of Queen on Sundays, even during the designated daylight prohibited times).

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This morning we are led in reflection by the Choir of St. Andrew’s. Readings from the Prophets are developed by anthems and carols that look to the coming of Christ. Join us as we continue to journey towards Christmas …

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John the Baptist
Hans Gottfried von Stockhausen, 1967

John the Baptizer is calling the people to be open to a new beginning with God. That new beginning, we believe, they knew, and we know, in Jesus the Christ.

As I think of John pointing to the approaching Good/God, I think of the wonderful phrase ‘Faith is a bird that feels the light and sings while it is still dark’.

And this Advent, as I consider not just the coming of Christmas but the coming of the Kingdom of God,  I wonder … Is faith a verb for me? Does my faith cause me to act in ways that visibly point to God’s promises for humanity and demonstrate God’s presence in this world? Upon what action could I place my name, as a mark that I have put my faith in the God who is before us? I shall think on this.

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join this Sunday for corporate worship. The Advent soul will be lifted by some wonderful music that includes a sweep from the Genevan Psalter of 1551 through J.S. Bach and Charles Wesley to contemporary Joan Collier Fogg.  There is ample free parking on the streets about and in the surface public lot just behind the church on Queen Street. There is a nursery and a programme for children during the service. Have a look at the Order of Service, and the announcements … and join us!

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Have a look at our monthly newsletter. Its format is a bit strange, due to the fact that it is meant to be distributed as a three-fold paper document. But we pray you will consider each announcement a personal invitation.

Notice the Sundays of Advent, Christmas Eve service, Hogmanay, and so much more!

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‘On the Way to Bethlehem’ – Sanctuary Banner by Anne-Marie Gabrini and Fern Houston

‘On the way to Bethlehem’ – this is one of four new banners to be unveiled this Sunday morning. I love it.

I love the ‘naif’ style, with its flowing simplicity. The sun is rising, speaking of the new day about to dawn in the birth of the ‘Emmanuel’, ‘God-with-us’. A shepherd is unawares that soon he will be caught up in something awesome. A simple wine skin and bag lie on the ground, a meal is being prepared over a makeshift fire and a donkey is relieving his thirst speak to the journey of a couple. The Holy Spirit hovers over all, in the process of transforming an ordinary scene into something extraordinary.  I love this banner. I love each of the banners.

What I find most moving about ‘On the way to Bethlehem’ are the forms given to Mary and Joseph. Mary is wonderfully rounded in belly, pregnant with the One she is to name ‘Jesus’, ‘God saves’. But I look at Joseph, and I see his contours equally wonderfully rounded. It may just be the wind blowing his gown full, but I see a man portrayed symbolically as participating in the birth of the Saviour.

Is this not the call of Advent? We live the other side of the birth of Jesus, but before the completion of the Kingdom of God he began. God is at work among us, in others around us, we are called to support them and their work like Joseph supporting Mary. The call is for us to support any work of peace and justice that might point to the Realm of Peace and Justice that God has begun in Christ and supports through Christians.

This Advent we will be exploring the theme ‘Faith is a Verb’, beginning this Sunday with a look at Joseph and ourselves. If you are in the area, we warmly welcome you to join us. Have a look at the Order of Service below. There is a nursery for infants and a programme for children during the service. And there is ample free parking on the streets about and in the surface public lot off Queen Street just behind the church.

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