In support of the recent provincial ‘stay at home’ mandate, the Elders of St. Andrew’s have decided it would best to suspend in-person worship until further notice.
This decision was made this week at the monthly Session meeting on April 12. Though provincial regulations allow for a continuing 15% capacity in the sanctuary, the Church received a letter from our local KFL&A Public Health ‘strongly recommending places of worship to conduct virtual services‘, and the Elders felt it responsible to heed this request. Services will be available online each Sunday from 10:20 a.m. and thereafter on the St. Andrew’s Youtube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzEy41z3sqfRm8X_lLfKGUA

The Church Office will be closed at least until May 6. Telephone messages will be retrieved once a morning Tuesday to Thursday. Please feel free to contact our staff with the addresses below.

Custodian – glenmercer@hotmail.com
Bookkeeper – candace@standrewskingston.org
Office – lorikim@standrewskingston.org
Minister – a.johnston@standrewskingston.org

We thank you for your understanding.

Even as we extend our prayers for all struggling during this time of pandemic, either in illness or in service, we continue in hope. I invite you to consider this reflection posted recently by the World Council of Churches …

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Reflection

‘Hope springs eternal in the human breast’ was written in 1732 by the poet Alexander Pope. It captures the profound instinct that dark and difficult times will pass. To hope is to anticipate, even expect that better days will come. More recently, others have shared their wisdom on this theme. Take, for example, what Hellen Keller has said, ‘Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.’ Zig Ziglar said, ‘If there is hope in the future, there is literally power in the present.’ Nelson Mandela’s words are also timely, ‘May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.’ Hope is a bridge that helps us to journey from the difficulties and depravities of the present to a future that looks not only different but better.

Consequently, when hope is lessened or even destroyed, our spirits are crushed. Little wonder that hope is one of the central tenets of the Christian faith! For followers of Jesus Christ, “hope” is more than being optimistic or having a positive outlook on life. It is that and more, for our hope is anchored in the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Our faith, therefore, leads us to affirm that what we hold to as hope enables us to see beyond the current calamities, even beyond the ‘sting’ of death and to maintain still that we are a ‘hope-filled’ Christian people.

In these times, Christian hope, though, also embraces other signs of hope which helps us keep hope alive during this pandemic. The flames of hope are ignited when we see scientists throughout the world, working together to create vaccines. Our hope in humanity is affirmed as we witness nations sharing knowledge and information to mitigate the pandemic, agreeing to quarantine and isolation to protect each other. Though there have been innumerable challenges and difficulties that have emerged since the start of the pandemic, there have also been many signs of hope that remind us that things will get better.

During this week of prayer, in all the varied expressions of lament, concern, intercession and gratitude, there has been a thread of hope, a confidence that God is with us. Our God, who suffers with his people, will continue to bring hope and healing. Paul’s prayer is our prayer that God, the source of hope, will fill us with joy, peace, and hope because we trust him. A hope that is rooted in God, not in outward circumstances. Hope that is expressed in what we do and say. God’s people serving him, bringing hope where there is poverty and suffering. This is our active participation in God’s mission, the Missio Dei.

Prayer 

God of hope,
our hearts overflow with gratitude for your abiding presence during these exceedingly difficult and troubled times.
May the flames of hope remain aglow among individuals, families,
communities and nations during the pandemic.
May our trust in you be affirmed, especially as we continue to navigate each day
the challenges that have confronted us.
Let all that we are wait quietly before you, O God, knowing that our hope is in you.
By your Spirit, may we be grounded in the hope that is proclaimed in your word:
you are our rock and salvation, our fortress where we will not be shaken.
We pray in the name of One who, by his resurrection,
has given us the hope of life eternal, Jesus the Christ, Amen.

https://www.oikoumene.org/resources/prayers/week-of-prayer-over-covid-19-day-6-prayers-of-hope

Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian and United churches are joining together to sponsor a series of evenings of online study and discussion, led by the Rev. Dr. William Morrow. No prior knowledge of the Bible needed. Readings will be provided in advance. Without charge, but registration is requested to receive the Zoom link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/141532570729 

http://www.stjameskingston.ca/lenten-series

And now for something different!
Tuesday Evenings February 16 – March 23, 7 p.m.

You are invited to explore the gospel known in Jesus Christ and the Bible … as developed in the themes and characters of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece.

Grace – Valjean
Justice – Javert
Poverty – Fantine
Revolution – ‘Les Amis’
Love – Marius and Cosette
Hope – The Garden

It is not necessary to read the novel (considered one of the greatest, and longest!) or see a film rendition or the musical, but if you do wish to fill a quiet winter day before the study begins on Tuesday February 16, here are some options …

Tuesday Evenings February 16 – March 23, 7 p.m.
Contact Andrew for a link to the Zoom Sessions a.johnston@standrewskingston.org

We will be following a study outline prepared by Matt Rawle, a United Methodist Church minister and international speaker ‘who loves to tell an old story in a new way’.


November 30th, 2020

And this year our fifth annual St. Andrew’s Day Social is online!

A thoroughly St.-Andrew’s-Church-Kingston offering with contributions from members of music, poetry, history, reflection and a wee bit of fun: including 

– readings of Burns and from the Glasgow Bible
– the landing of the Hector in Pictou New Scotland
– piano melodies of Scottish tunes
– the history of the saint Andrew
– reminiscences of St. Andrew’s Church Québec City
– the significance of bulbs planted around the church this autumn
– reflections on oatmeal and the Christian life
– a minister in a kilt and an organist hamming it up off the keyboard

Enjoy! Available at https://youtu.be/7hkPAbOikgY


 



Extract of a congregational letter from the Session of St. Andrew’s, distributed Thursday June 11:

            On Monday evening, the Elders of St. Andrew’s gathered (thanks to Zoom) for their stated monthly meeting. One of the major topics was to be a study of the Guidelines for Re-Opening Church Buildings published recently by the Presbyterian Church in Canada
https://presbyterian.ca/2020/05/29/session-resource-on-re-opening-church-buildings/.
It just so happened that it was also the day that the Ontario government announced the possibility for places of worship in certain regions to open, subject to certain restrictions of attendance and physical distancing at all times (though promised guidelines for spiritual leaders have not been received at time of writing).

            After prayerful discussion and discernment, the Elders agreed a) that St. Andrew’s continue to offer online worship opportunities at least well into the foreseeable future, and b) that church leadership work through the quieter weeks of summer and the Minister’s vacation to prepare for a return to worship in the sanctuary in September.

            Behind these decisions were two considerations. One consideration is that it will be some time before a vaccine for COVID-19 is available, and until that time there will be members who will not and perhaps should not physically gather for worship … hence the continuation of online worship opportunities. The other considerations revolve around the fact that public health guidelines are still evolving … and even now these all point to the fact that though our sanctuary may be unchanged, the way we are present in it will be very changed, and will need significant preparation. From what we understand at this point, it is not just a matter of roping off ‘buffer’ pews, but also designating directions for use of doors and aisles, no fellowship times before or after worship, sanitizing washrooms and furniture, and even perhaps restrictions on singing.

            While some of us may feel this planning and these precautions are excessive, we are asked to consider that they are undertaken out of care for the more vulnerable among us. In this spirit, the Elders felt it best to plan for the beginning of a new congregational year in September with the assurance that we have taken full advantage of evolving guidelines and competence.

            And to provide a different perspective completely, Lori-Kim has shared some humour about the Post-Pandemic Church from Ireland … https://youtu.be/fIfItkvCVfA?fbclid=IwAR3brDAlQ2aInuucMjnpPqYfihvYI0whUpTp-AGeu5719PNnbMtlCSHEKCo


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: https://presbyterian.ca/gao/ga2020/

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)
https://youtu.be/oi3HT7-WDTo

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 https://presbyterian.ca/pwsd/2020/05/14/watering-a-garden-of-hope-in-south-sudan/
A five minute video update presented by Executive Director Guy Smagghe, https://presbyterian.ca/pwsd/2020/05/21/covid-19-update/

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:
https://presbyterian.ca/2020/05/25/five-years-of-the-trcs-calls-to-action/

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 morning I noticed the snowdrops against the limestone of St. Andrew’s. Being plants that wait not for spring to flower, they have been symbols of strong hope for many through the centuries.

These snowdrops greeted me with gospel assurance as I joined John and family to record a brief time of praise and prayer in the sanctuary, as a witness of strong hope in this time of challenge. We pray you will join us and join together in Christian worship (with thanks to Jeremy, Meghan, Danielle, Margaret, Greg and special thanks to Christopher and John for offering this gift to us).

A few updates on congregational life conclude this post.

Podcast – https://anchor.fm/st-andrews-presbyterian-church-kingston/episodes/St–Andrews-Presbyterian-Church-Kingston—March-21–2020-ebp2pa/a-a1o9hcv

Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85d9XWOWkgQ&feature=youtu.be

Script –

Notes from the Director of Music

It has always been my hope that providing a bit more information about the music presented at St. Andrew’s services will add to its understanding, appreciation and impact. And so with this the first recorded presentation, as a substitute for an actual service, I felt compelled to tell you a bit more about the music.
In 1535, a German hymn book printed a hymn with a text by Lazarus Spengler about Adam’s fall and the resultant redemption by Jesus Christ. A tune which had its origin in a secular song sung by the soldiers at the Battle of Pavia, was provided for the text and first appeared in the Gesangbuch of 1536. Durch Adam’s Fall ist ganz verderbt has inspired composers like Telemann and Buxtehude to make arrangements. Franz William Zachau (1663-1727) was the teacher of G. F. Handel and composed a little chorale prelude based on the tune. The original tune followed by Zachau’s piece are presented as a Prelude. Yesterday, March 21, was the 335th birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach, born in the same year as Handel. We can often look a little deeper into Bach’s music and find some musical patterns which are based on the text. In his chorale prelude based on Durch Adam’s Fall , Adam’s fall is represented by a recurring falling interval in the pedal part. A translation of the first verse appeared in a Moravian Hymn Book of 1826:

When Adam fell, the frame entire
 Of nature was infected;
The source whence came the poison dire
Was not to be corrected,
The lust accurs’d, indulg’d at first,
Brought death as its production’
But God’s free grace hath sav’d our race
From mis’ry and destruction.

The motet which we were able to do with our little group of singers, was probably composed by Richard Farrant (1530-1580) but other composers such as Christopher Tye have been credited. The beautiful text comes from a prayer book of 1566. The text is as follows:

Lord, for Thy tender mercies sake, lay not our sins to our charge,
But forgive that is past, and give us grace to amend our sinful lives,
To decline from sin and incline to virtue,
That we may walk with a perfect heart
Before Thee now and evermore.

We put together this little service with some sadness that you could not be with us. This is a challenging and I am sure a lonely time for many of you and I hope that this recording will be of some help and comfort.

Recording the tower bells
Recording the music and prayers inside

If you would like to subscribe to future posts on this webpage, please provide your email address in the box of the right hand column of this page, under ‘Subscribe via Email’.
Beginning tomorrow, a daily email will be sent, sharing thoughts by various members of the congregation. If you would like to receive this, please send your request with your name, entitled ‘Daily Thoughts’, to info@standrewskingston.org

Updates
– all congregational and community group activities within the St. Andrew’s facilities have been suspended until further notice
– the interior plastering and painting of the sanctuary around the tower doors is now complete!
– the Kingston Lionhearts are now distributing packaged dinners seven evenings a week in Skeleton Park, 6-7 p.m.
– two youth of the congregation have delivered groceries within the congregation: if you would find this helpful, contact a.johnston@standrewskingston.org 
– a member of the congregation who works for Canadian Blood Services mentions that the response to a call for donors this week has been amazing!

We are not sure what form the next Sunday contribution will take, but stay tuned!