The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them (Luke 2:20).

William Bell Smith – National Gallery of Scotland

The first Christians saw the story of the shepherds as their story. Like the shepherds, they also felt led to the side of one who was God’s offer of a new beginning for humanity. They also fell to their knees as they glorified and praised God. And they too lived to share the good news of how their lives were changed by this encounter with the Holy One.

I love this depiction of the adoration of the shepherds by a nineteenth century Scottish artist, who included not only women among the shepherds but also a bag piper! It encourages me to think how our adoration might be more inclusive, and more distinctive …

As one year gives way to another, by the grace of God, we join the shepherds and generations of Christians before us in praise and adoration. We will gather in St. Andrew’s Halll for an informal hour to sing all the remaining carols (particularly those referencing the shepherds!) and lift up our prayers.

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us!

I am humming the tunes already … Angels from the realms of glory, The first nowell, See amid the winter’s snow, In the bleak mid-winter, Go tell it on the mountain …

An hour of carols and readings that tell us the story of God coming among us, as one of born, born in Bethlehem. There will be bells in the tower ringing, and handbells also in the sanctuary. There will be singing of both choir and congregation. And all will hold a candle to receive the flame from the Christ Candle, and together we will sing ‘Silent night, holy night’. All welcome! Have a look at the Order of Service below, and join us if you are in the area. And look further below for additional information about accessibility and parking.

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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 this evening) and in the surface civic lot just behind the church off Queen Street. There is a wheel chair lift available in the doors of the church closest to the manse (the courtyard is entered from the driveway half way along the St. Andrew’s block of Clergy Street) and a wheelchair ramp is available through doors along Princess Street.

Madonna and Child – Sandro Botticelli, 1470

I am moved by this painting of Mary and the infant Jesus. It is course highly stylized, but I feel a stillness and depth to it that evoke a sense of time standing still, of eternity breaking into chronology. I have to admit however that I selected it because of the rose bush in the background.

It is still Advent, but we cannot contain the Christmas celebrations! This Sunday the children will contribute some special poetry and music. And the sermon will explore the origins in scripture and Christian tradition of the hymn ‘Lo, how a rose e’er blooming’ (Es ist ein rose entsprungen).

Have a look at the Order of Service below, and if you are in the area, please join us. Information about child care, parking and handicapped access follows. A warm welcome in the name of Christ!

Download (PDF, 350KB)

During the service there is offered a nursery for infants if desired. 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. There is a wheel chair lift available in the doors of the church closest to the manse (the courtyard is entered from the driveway half way along the St. Andrew’s block of Clergy Street) and a wheelchair ramp is available through doors along Princess Street.

God, our hope and desire,
we wait for your coming
as a woman longs for the birth,
the exile for her home,
the lover for the touch of his beloved,
and the humble poor for justice. (Janet Morley, England)

This Sunday the choir of St. Andrew’s offers us the opportunity to hear again the great story of how human history was transformed with the coming of Christ. As we listen, our souls are strengthened to enjoy beauty, identify truth and live with compassion. And as we wait for all to be completed in God’s good time, we set out again in Christ’s way of peace and justice.

Have a look at the Order of Service below, and if you are in the area, please join us. Information about child care, parking and handicapped access follows. A warm welcome in the name of Christ!

Download (PDF, 540KB)

During the service there is offered a nursery for infants and a programme for young children if desired. 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. There is a wheel chair lift available in the doors of the church closest to the manse (the courtyard is entered from the driveway half way along the St. Andrew’s block of Clergy Street) and a wheelchair ramp is available through doors along Princess Street. If you have any other questions, please call the church office Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. – noon, or email info@standrewskingston.org

 

 

Painted by Niclaus of Heguenau and Matthias Grunewald in 1512-1516, this portion of the great Isenheim altar centrepiece shows John the Baptizer … pointing. It was of course the supreme ministry of John to point to the one who was coming … the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ. ‘On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry announces that the Lord is nigh …’

This Second Sunday of Advent we consider our calling as Christians, raised up as individuals and as the church … to point to Jesus the Christ, these days the other side of his resurrection. We will take up this exploration in scripture, sermon and song. (An interesting prompt from the painting itself – the monks of Monastery of St. Anthony in Isenheim, near Colmar France, who commissioned this painting were known for their sacrificial care of individuals suffering from the plaque). And with joy we will also receive new members along the journey.

Have a look at the Order of Service below, and if you are in the area, we warmly welcome you to join us. During the service there is a nursery for infants and a programme for children. There is free parking along neighbouring streets (the time of day restrictions on Clergy north of Queen are not in effect on Sunday) and in the surface civic lot just behind the church off Queen Street.

Whether near or far, a ‘pointed’ Advent to you!

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Each month, a congregational newsletter is printed that lists the activities and opportunities of this community of faith. Have a look. We warmly invite you to join us as you are able, as we continue (200 years +!) in Christian worship, study and service at the heart of this city.

(The format of this newsletter looks a bit strange on this digital screen – just imagine it as a double-sided tri-folded paper document!)

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The beginning of a new church year!

With Advent we look back at the coming of God in Christ, but also forward to God’s completion of all that God commenced among us in Christ.

On the cover of the Order of Service this Sunday I have placed a photo of one of the large mosaics on high in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, a image of Christ as ‘Pantocrator’, ‘Ruler of All’ – with the shimmering light, we are reminded of the beauty and authority of the one who has defeated death and is at work to bring human history together for good.

I thought this life of expectation might be explored through some of the great hymns of Advent, beginning this Sunday with one by Phillip Doddridge ‘Hark the glad sound, the Saviour comes, the Saviour promised long’.

Doddridge wrote this poem in 1735 after reflecting upon Jesus’ first sermon, in his hometown of Nazareth, when he quoted the words of the prophet Isaiah ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor’, and then declared ‘Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing'(Luke 4:16-22).

What I appreciate most about the hymn is the present tense … ‘the Saviour comes’ … ‘you come the prisoners to release’ … ‘you come the broken heart to bind’.

With Jesus ‘coming’, the only real question is how I will receive him, how I am shaping my life to welcome him and the realm of peace and justice he is bringing for all. If you are in the area, I invite you to join us for a service of Advent worship and reflection. There is a nursery for infants and a children’s programme offered during the service, if desired. If you are driving there is free parking available in a civic surface lot off Queen just behind the church and on the streets around (the time of day restrictions on Clergy north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays).

Have a look at the Order of Service below, and please consider each of the announcements as a personal invitation to grow in Christian faith, community and service.

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