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 …
there are several DVDs at the church office that can be borrowed for a day or two: just call in advance to reserve one for curb-side pick up Tuesday-Thursday 9 a.m.-noon and speak to Lori-Kim
Here are a variety of different Advent opportunities for individuals and families, adults and children …
Online Daily Advent Emails a) scripture accompanied with works of art and music and wonderful notes of context and interpretation http://ccca.biola.edu/advent/2020/ from the Centre for Christianity, Culture and the Arts (Biola University) b) a word for reflection and prayer each day from the Virginia Theological Seminary. Join an international community in prayer to explore the mystery and wonder of Advent! https://adventword.org/en/home/ c) Visual Theological Commentary brings you three readings of scripture and three works of art each day with some words for exploration, https://thevcs.org/Advent2020 from King’s College London
Podcast ‘Understanding Christmas: Strange New World #1 A talk about understanding Christmas by beginning with an understanding of the Bible, the world’s most influential, misunderstood book – ‘a podcast tailor-made for skeptics, believers, and everybody in between’. Hosted by Matthew Myer Boulton, who’s spent twenty years teaching the Bible and theology to students at Harvard Divinity School and elsewhere. https://www.saltproject.org/podcast-strange-new-world
Each week of Advent, the living room will ‘grow’ into Christmas. Advent 1 – https://bit.ly/3f84GzS After opening the link above, click on the candle, and a Bible story will be told. Then you can click on things all around the room. The nativity set will reveal daily devotions making use of scripture and/or the Spark Story Bible with additional prayers and wondering questions. A musical instrument opens up to a a new song and papers on the floor will reveal the words to lengthier songs for everyone to sing along. The mixing bowl on the table will take you to recipe for the travellers that week, and the cup with pencil crayons offer up a fun craft. And finally the window over the couch takes everyone outside for an adventure together.
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
While online participation will continue to be offered, the sanctuary of St. Andrew’s has been opened for Sunday morning worship. The service will not be as we knew it before the pandemic began, but the Elders are now able to offer an opportunity to all for whom this is appropriate.
Great care has been taken to ensure guidelines of public health authorities are followed. Please see below a letter that was distributed to the congregation providing full details. In summary, these include …
– three doors only will be open for entrance to the church: along Clergy Street, the door at the top of the stairs by the canon and the door in the tower; and along Princess Street, the door at the top of the ramp for those with accessibility challenges – keeping physical distance from those in front, once in the door you will be asked to provide your name (and contact information, if visiting) – the wearing of face masks at all times in the building is mandatory – you will be ushered to a seat, filling the front pews first – there will be no congregational singing or choir: to ensure no sharing of materials, the lyrics to hymns and scripture passages are included in the bulletin – you will be asked to leave from the same door in which you entered, beginning from the back pews – we are asked to leave the sanctuary directly to avoid close proximity to others in the narrow aisles at the back or in the foyers, and we will have no opportunity for fellowship within the church facilities
For all the limitations and constraints involved, the Elders are thankful that God has brought us thus far, and we are able to offer this opportunity of praise and worship.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.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!