St. Andrew’s Church has a special relationship with Queen’s.

It was in the sanctuary of St. Andrew’s that it was agreed to begin a second institution of higher learning in Upper Canada (after King’s College in York that was limited to individuals who would subscribe to the Anglican articles of faith). When the Royal Charter was granted, it stipulated that Queen’s College be located no further than three miles from St. Andrew’s Church Kingston. The Canadian Presbyterian Church as a whole provided financial support to keep the college (then university), handing governance over to its graduates in 1912.

To mark this relationship, we will welcome the Rev. Dr. William Morrow to the pulpit this morning of Homecoming Weekend. Dr. Morrow (Ph.D. University of Toronto) is Professor of Hebrew and Hebrew Scriptures in the School of Religion, Queen’s University. Educated for the ministry in Knox College (M.Div., 1978), he is currently an Anglican priest.

And how fitting that the lectionary reading for this Sunday, for the sermon text, is the scene of Moses before the burning bush (Exodus 3), from which comes the motto of the Presbyterian tradition ‘burning, but not consumed’. I love this image of the church alive by a power beyond itself, but also of the church as a modest bush rather than a mighty palm tree or oak. I look forward to Dr. Morrow’s insights.

Please join us in the worship of God! You will find below the Order of Worship, but also several announcements of forthcoming opportunities to grow in Christian faith, community and service.

During the service there is a nursery for infants and a programme for children. There is ample free parking on the streets around and in a public surface lot off Queen Street behind the church. We look forward to welcoming you.

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What a great evening! Traditional and original songs and tunes by this Kingston-based quintet, with special guest Jennifer Shepherd of Picton.  (Turpin’s Trail were the headline act at the Brimstone Head Folk Festival in Fogo, Newfoundland this past summer.)
Listen to tracks of their music at www.turpinstrail.com and come to enjoy them live.
Tickets $20 at the door.
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Princess at Clergy. Evening parking free on street and in surface lot off Queen Street behind the church.

You who have given so much to me,
Give me one thing more,
a grateful heart, for Christ’s sake. (George Herbert 1593-1633)

Thanksgiving in Canada is a Christian holiday. It was the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada that petitioned the government of the Dominion of Canada to establish a national holiday for Thanksgiving, a petition granted in 1879, when the Governor General announced ‘And whereas it is our duty to acknowledge publicly to Almighty God our thankfulness for the bountiful harvest with which he has blessed us during the present year … we have thought fit … to appoint this day … as a day of Public Thanksgiving to Almighty God’.

On this holy-day, you are invited to join us and give thanks to God. Not one of us chose to be born, and yet we have breath and blood. We live in a land of beauty and bounty, of diversity and security. We live in a city we did not build, with hospitals and schools and so many at work for the common good. When we were so far from good and God that we could not find our way back again, the Holy One came among us in Jesus to offer a new beginning to us. We know that so much of life is grace, so much of life is gift. And we know that a gift is never truly a gift until the giver is thanked … and so we will gather to lift up our thanksgivings to God.

The sermon continues a series that explores how the architecture of the sanctuary is meant to support our Christian faith. The focus this morning is upon the pews, the history of pews in general but particularly the shape of these pews that remind us we are gathered to be a community, a community of thanksgiving to God!

Have a look at the order of service – wonderful hymns of thanksgiving! – and the announcements and invitations to grow in Christian faith, community and service. There is ample free parking along the streets and in the public surface lot just behind the church off Queen Street. During the service there is a nursery offered for infants and a programme for children.

A joyous thanksgiving!

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Looking at the way it is lifted off the ground, it is clear that we are to think of this as a table, not an altar. This is not a place for sacrifice but it is a place of presence. At this table we gather, and as we eat and drink, we are gathered into the very real presence of the Holy One. How is this accomplished? Many have pondered and debated, but I appreciate most the humility of Jean Calvin before the mystery – ‘Now if anyone should ask me how this takes place, I shall not be ashamed to confess that it is a secret too lofty for either my mind to comprehend or my words to declare. And, to speak more plainly, I rather experience it than understand it.’

The table stands at the centre of our sanctuary to remind us of the central promise of the Risen Lord to be with his people, through life and even death, into life.

I remember vividly a service I attended in St. Andrew’s Church Chennai (Madras) India – now part of the Church of South India http://www.thekirk.in . I was visiting India as part of a monitoring team for Presbyterian World Service and Development. Guy Smagghe and I arrived just in time for a communion service. The Holy Table was decked in white linen. But the amazing thing was that each row of seats had linen over their backs also. It was as if waves of white went forth from the table at the centre, a symbolic way of extending the table to every seat of the large sanctuary, the presence and promises of the Living Lord to each member. (I later learned that this is a custom of the Scottish Presbyterian tradition, whose members first erected the church in 1821, and the Indian congregation maintains it to this day.)

In the name of Jesus Christ, you are invited to join us this Sunday for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper … at the Lord’s Table. Have a look at the order of service. There is a nursery for infants, and a programme for children, during the service. And there are many opportunities to grow in Christian faith, community and service.

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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 Turpin’s Trail concert, the special Sunday morning speakers (the Rev. Dr. William Morrow on Queen’s Homecoming weekend, and the Rev. Deb Rapport of Arise Ministry), the autumn Tuesday evening study series … and so much more!

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At the very front of the St. Andrew’s sanctuary, in a forest of wonderfully-curved and warmly-polished wood, stands an angular, starkly-white stone structure. It stands out, in colour and in material, and it is meant to. It is the baptismal font.

The word ‘baptism’ has its roots in the Greek verb ‘baptizein’, to wash. The font stands before us to remind us how in Christ we are cleansed by God, given a new beginning with our God, in this life and into the next. But I love also how the word ‘font’ comes from the Latin ‘fons’, fountain – the font stands there to remind us that the Holy Spirit continues to flow into and through our lives all our days, as surely as fountains of water gurgle up from the ground.

If you are looking for a church home, or visiting the area, we invite you warmly to join us this Sunday morning. Have a look at the Order of Service below (and notice how the music picks up the theme of music!). We will be welcoming members of Queen’s InterVarsity Fellowship, for whom the historic St. Andrew’s manse is home.

There is free parking on the streets around, and in a public surface lot just behind the church on Queen Street. During the service there is a nursery offered for infants, and a programme for children.

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King’s Town had become Kingston, Upper Canada. In the summer of 1817, a group of residents met in the newly-opened Moore’s Coffee House on Store Street (now Princess Street and again filled with coffee houses) and, with pledges of over £500, covenanted to begin a Christian community in the Presbyterian tradition. Before their first minister arrived in 1821, they had not only been gathering regularly for prayers but had also constructed a large church prominently placed on a limestone ridge overlooking the port. At the time, the town’s population was only about 2,500, but they were building upon strong foundations of faith, for future generations of witness.

This weekend we gather to give God thanks for our heritage in the Christian faith, for the witness of those before us in this corner of God’s creation who have shown us the way by ‘prayer, precept and example’, and for the opportunities we have in this time and place to witness to Jesus Christ and the promises of God.

If you are in the area, please join us for a wonderful service of celebration and commitment. The Mayor of Kingston, Bryan Paterson, will join a member of St. Andrew’s and student of Queen’s, Jamie Summers, in reading the Scriptures. The Moderator of the 143rd General Assembly, the Reverend Peter Bush of Winnipeg, will be preaching. The St. Andrew’s Choir will be presenting a special composition by John Hall based on Psalm 84, ‘How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord … Even the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young at your altars, O Lord. Happy are those who live in your house, singing your praise.’

There is free parking on the streets around and in the public surface lot off Queen Street just behind the church. During the service there will be offered a nursery for infants and young children, and also a programme for older children and youth. Have a look at the announcements, and join us not only on Sunday morning, but for a film night, Bible study, choir … in Christ!

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