Have a look at our minister’s monthly newsletter, and join us as you are able through this festive season of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany!
(It is set up as a trip-fold paper brochure, so you must scroll through perhaps for it to make some sense!)

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Music is part of being the people of God. After escaping from the Egyptians and crossing the Red Sea, Miriam took up the tambourine and the people of Israel sang a song to the Lord. Think of the David the shepherd with his harp, and the psalms that still give voice to our souls. Think of the priests in the temple of old. These days I place myself beside Mary singing God’s praise (Luke 1:46-55). Music is part of being Christian, and it certainly part of our celebrations of the birth of Christ, of Christmas.

Join us this Sunday for a service of music – beginning with a by-request hymn sing at 10:10 a..m., followed by carols of Advent and Christmas for all, and contributions by the St. Andrew’s Choir and Bell Choir, interspersed with readings of scripture. There is ample parking available free on surrounding streets and in a public lot just behind the church off Queen Street. During the service there is a nursery offered for infants 3 years and younger, and a programme for children.

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Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe.
You call all people to walk in your light
and to seek your ways of justice and peace,
for the night is past, and the dawn of your coming is near.

Bless us as we light the first candle of this wreath.
Rouse us from sleep,
that we may be ready to greet our Lord when he comes
and welcome him into our hearts and homes,
for he is our light and our salvation.
Blessed be God forever.

Join us for the first Sunday of Advent. There is a nursery for children three and younger, and a programme for older children during the service, if they wish. There is free parking available along the streets around and in the public surface lot behind the church off Queen Street. Have an advance peek at the Order of Service, and the announcements that follow. Welcome, in the name of Christ!

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This morning we will take time to count our blessings, and give thanks.

We give thanks for the blessings of … living in a corner of creation wondrous and a city beautiful … friends and strangers and family who accompany us along this journey … the promise that our lives are of origin and destiny, and that we are loved with a love that will not let us go … the church that binds us not only to each other but to God.

And this Sunday, even as we also welcome new members, we will hear about yet another blessing. It is a blessing we hear about from Paul, who apparently quoted Jesus – ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35).

It sounds counter-intuitive and is certainly counter-cultural. As I continue to ponder its meaning in Christ, I am helped by a story told by Eugene Peterson in his book ‘Run with the Horses’.

Peterson tells how he saw some birds teaching their young to fly. Three young swallows were perched on a dead branch that stretched out over a lake. “One adult swallow got alongside the chicks and started shoving them out toward the end of the branch—pushing, pushing, pushing. The end one fell off. Somewhere between the branch and the water below, the wings started working and the fledgling was off on his own. Then the second one. The third one, however, was not to be bullied. At the last possible moment, his grip on the branch loosened just enough so that he swung downward, then tightened again, bulldog tenacious. The parent pecked at the desperately clinging talons until it was more painful for the chick to hang on than risk the insecurities of flying. The grip was released and the wings began pumping. The mature swallow knew what the chick did not—that it would fly—that there was no danger in making it do what it was designed to do.” Peterson writes, “Birds have feet and can walk. Birds have talons and can grasp a branch securely. They can walk; they can cling. But flying is their characteristic action and not until they fly are they living at their best, gracefully and beautifully. Giving is what we do best. It is the air into which we were born. It is the action that was designed into us before our birth.”

You are invited to join us in counting our blessings, and considering even more blessing! A nursery is available for infants and preschoolers up to 3, as is a church school programme during the service for children who prefer not to stay in the sanctuary. There is free parking on the streets about, and in a public lot behind the church off Queen Street. Have a look at the order of service, and join us!

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Restorative Justice.

As Christians we know the forgiveness of sin and the gracious embrace of God; we hear and experience God’s promise of new beginnings. This week we are reminded that we are called to be agents of God’s forgiveness, embrace and gracious new beginnings for others, and in particular the men and women who are caught up in our contemporary system of retributive justice governed by fear and anger.

Did you know that Canada’s crime rate has hit a 45 year low this year, but this year also marks an all time high of people incarcerated in prison? I didn’t. Did you know that two thirds of provincial prisoners have not been convicted of anything: they are in prison only because they cannot come up with bail, exposing a link between poverty and incarceration. I didn’t. Did you know that a typical Canadian prison cell was built for one prisoner and now houses three, and they are allotted twenty minutes fresh air a day? I didn’t. Did you know that the annual average cost to incarcerate an individual is now estimated to be $117,000? My mind fills with thoughts about how such a sum could be spent more productively, respectfully, and indeed faithfully.

As we continue this autumn through the Acts of Apostles, we arrive at a scene in which Paul is in prison (Acts 16). The earth trembles, the doors open, and he is freed. When the jailer awakes, he prepares to kill himself, knowing well what the consequences were for those who allowed prisoners to escape. But Paul shouts that he has not left. He has remained, not out of passivity or fear but thinking of the jailer. This jailer embodied oppression and violence, but Paul did not respond to him with hate or even apathy. To this individual the apostle extended a new beginning. As the doors of the jail were opened for Paul, so did Paul open his oppressor to life. There is freedom, and there is freedom.

Lots to think about. Lots to prayer about.

Due to a glitch in the church office, there is no Order of Service appended online this week. You will just have to join us in person … and you would be welcome!

 

 

Bryan Babcock Design, Amherstview

St. Andrew’s Church Kingston and the Presbytery of Kingston have the honour of hosting the 143rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.

The opening worship will be held at St. Andrew’s on Sunday June 4, 7 p.m. The sanctuary will be filled with 300 commissioners from across Canada, ecumenical and interfaith visitors, national staff … and you are invited! The service will highlight music that celebrates both the Reformation@500 and the Confederation of Canada@150. The current Moderator, The Rev. Douglas Rollwage of Zion Church Charlottetown will be preaching, and the Moderator Elect, The Rev. Peter Bush of Westwood Church Winnipeg will be inducted.

The meetings of Assembly will be held in the gym of the Athletic and Recreation Centre (ARC) of Queen’s, 284 Earl Street. These discussions are open to all, and will be held 8:30 a.m. – noon, 2 – 5 p.m., 7-8:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, concluding at noon on Wednesday. Enter the ARC from Earl Street, turn left into the gym from the foyer, identify yourself to the front desk as a visitor to Assembly, then proceed by stairs or elevator to the lower level and the gym. Parking is available in the lot beside Tindall Field at the corner of Union and Albert, or underground just in front of KGH.

The reports that will be considered by Assembly are available for download at http://presbyterian.ca/gao/ga2017/

And you can sign in to watch the discussions live at https://livestream.com/the-Presbyterian-Church-in-Canada/pccgeneralassembly2017

Here is a general map of the campus:

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Of special interest to many will be the address to be given by Dr. Cindy Blackstock on Monday June 5, 3:45 p.m.

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Have a look at our congregational newsletter for the month. (It is meant to be folded into three, so you need a bit of imagination to understand its layout!) Please consider each announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service. It is the month that includes St. Andrew’s Day!!

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