Author Archives: Andrew Johnston

The Church and Anti-Racism

The horrific death of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of police in the United States, and the circumstances surrounding the death of Ms. Regis Korchinski-Paquet (currently being investigated) in Toronto, are calls for racial justice.

Anger, rage and helplessness have been expressed along with calls of lament and for action and for justice. Together, in Living Faith, we affirm that

God’s justice is seen
when we deal fairly with each other
and strive to change customs and practices
that oppress and enslave others.
Justice involves protecting the rights of others.
It protests against everything that destroys human dignity. (LF 8.4)

It is our collective task and responsibility as followers of Jesus to witness to the truth of the Gospel, to speak clearly against evil in this and all of the forms and to continue Christ’s ministry of reconciliation in the world. Black lives matter, and to say anything other rejects the biblical affirmation that all are lovingly made in the image of God.

In 2019, the General Assembly said that,

“The Presbyterian Church in Canada affirms that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating for superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust” (A&P 2019, p. 35).

This underscores the kinds of just relationships we are called to build, in both the great commandment to love God and each other, and as ambassadors for reconciliation.

For those seeking resources in responding to the call for racial justice, consider:

Additional resources will be coming in the weeks ahead at

When John and I, as Director of Music and Minister, began our preparations early in the week for this Sunday’s worship time, John mentioned to me ‘Pentecost is a great celebration. Whereas Christmas and Easter have become very much wider-community events, Pentecost remains something precious within the Church’. Precious indeed, for the Church is the work of the Holy Spirit! (Acts 2)

And at almost the same time The Visual Commentary on Scripture  introduced me to an 11th century mosaic (above) that fills the dome of the Hoses Loukas monastery chapel in Phokis Greece. I have enjoyed exploring it as I prepared for Sunday’s online worship.

And now I look forward to joining with you in prayer and praise, in reading and reflecting upon scripture … and through it all, celebrating the work of the Holy Spirit in binding us together into the Living Body of the Living Lord.
In a time like this, when we are constrained at every turn and know our frailty in every dimension, it is a joy to be reminded that the Church is the the work of the Holy One, whose sovereign will is to embrace us in Jesus Christ and lead us into a new community and humanity of peace and justice.

Join us Sunday morning with Video at
and with Podcast at

During the service we will be reading the chapter from our contemporary Canadian Presbyterian statement of faith, Living Faith, about the Holy Spirit in our lives as individuals, in the Church, and in the world.

Saturday May 30, 3 p.m.. 
Amid the unique challenges and opportunities of this year’s COVID-19 pandemic, leaders of member churches of the Canadian Council of Churches will gather “together in one place” (Acts 2:1) in ecumenical friendship and prayer this season of Western Pentecost / Eastern Ascension. Prayers, Scripture readings and reflections will be offered in English and French. The sermon will be given by the Rev. Amanda Currie, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
Register + learn more on Eventbrite:

A Pentecost message by Amanda Currie specifically for members of the Presbyterian Church in Canada is available at

And a Pentecost message from the Presidents of the World Council of Churches entitled ‘Waves of Despair, Tongues of Fire’ is available at


General Assembly

This annual gathering of representatives from across our denomination scheduled for the first week of June has been cancelled, and is now scheduled to meet the first week of June 2021. The various committee reports (from Church Doctrine to Mission) that were to be presented this summer are now ‘interim reports’ and can be read here:

A Video Conversation 
Our Moderator, the Rev. Amanda Currie, shares reflections on this season of faith and life in conversation with the Rev. Jennifer Cameron of St. Columba Church Belleville (who preached at St. Andrew’s last year)

Presbyterian World Service and Development is responding to the COVID-19 crisis in the name of Christ. 
Watering a garden of hope in South Sudan
A five minute video update presented by Executive Director Guy Smagghe,

On the Fifth Anniversary of the TRC’s 94 Calls To Action
A reflection on what has been understood and accomplished, and what is outstanding:

A Letter Encouraging Consideration of Guaranteed Basic Income
On May 14 the Moderator sent a letter to the Prime Minister concerning a Basic Income Guarantee. It can be read here

Download (PDF, 205KB)

This Sunday morning we will take a final look at the high stone St. Martin Cross of the isle of Iona, with a focus upon the distinctive circle at its centre. What might the Celtic Christians have been sharing with us about the Holy One and their lives as they placed that circle on that cross?

A time of prayer and praise, of God’s word in Scripture and sermon, of assurance and commission.

Join us Sunday morning with Video at
and with Podcast at

The great ‘high crosses’ of the Celts, like the St. Martin’s Cross that has stood on the island of Iona for 1200 years, were placed outdoors. No doubt there were several reasons for this. Tomorrow we will explore what may be the foundational reason … how this location articulated an important dimension of their Christian faith, and how it might speak to us of the Christian way today.

You are invited to join in worship Sunday morning with Video at
and with Podcast at

I conclude with a prayer from the Outer Hebrides, in which the sun is known as ‘the eye of God’. As the people see the sun rise and feel the light and warmth it brings, they are reminded of, they feel, the Holy One looking upon them, ‘gently and generously’ …

The eye of the great God,
The eye of the God of glory,
The eye of the King of hosts,
The eye of the King of the living,
Pouring upon us
At each time and season,
Gently and generously.
Glory to thee,
Thou glorious sun,
Glory to thee, thou sun
Face of the God of life.                   Carmina Gadelica III 307


May 10, 2020

While we thank God for our continuing health and security, and all who are working for the common good during this time of confinement, these days are long and I thought it might be fun to get out of our ‘leisure wear’, dressing up in our ‘Sunday best’ or even better, and sharing a photo to share the joy.

And several have added a thanksgiving to God for our mothers, sometimes even combining the fancy dress with the gratitude.

Thanks to all who have responded! This is fun!!

Have a look –

p.s. this morning’s worship service is available at
and the Podcast at