So what was Béatrice doing this week with a pot of red cabbage leaves in one hand and a pot of brown onion skins in the other? You will have to listen the podcast or video to find out!
But the main point is that … Easter is on the horizon, and this morning we return to our preparations by tackling some of the hardest-to-hear yet also most-hope-filled words of our Lord (Mark 8:31-37).

A big ‘thank you’ to John Hall, our Director of Music, and family for their contributions of music and digital recording that allow us to ‘join together, separately’ in Christian worship this day (and with services already in the works online for Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday).

Podcast – https://anchor.fm/st-andrews-presbyterian-church-kingston
Video – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzEy41z3sqfRm8X_lLfKGUA

During these weeks when we cannot gather physically, members of the congregation are sharing personal thoughts and prayers as a way of maintaining community and encouraging faith. If you would like to receive a brief reflection from a member of the St. Andrew’s family each morning, just send me an email to be placed on the distribution list – a.johnston@standrewskingston.org

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!

In response to the COVID-19 public health appeals, Gill Hall has been closed to the community groups that call it home.
As Sunday evening approached, we were afraid that our friends and neighbours would be left without the weekly community meal that St. Andrew’s offers, thanks to teams from across the city who cook up a storm in the kitchen and serve with Christian care.
But Marilyn of the Kingston Street Mission put Bev of Special Meals in touch with the Kingston Lionhearts … et viola, a feast delivered for take out!
Driving a refrigerated van, David pulled into the St. Andrew’s lot with 150 amazing restaurant-quality meals – pork with potatoes and cauliflower, fish fillets with rice and mixed vegetables, vegetable chilli and pasta, pierogis and cheese, along with granola served with dessert bars and fresh fruit.
Lionhearts, you are amazing! https://lionhearts.ca
Thank you, on behalf of everyone serving and served at St. Andrew’s Sunday evening!

I find it hard not to join with you in worship of God this morning.

This hour of prayer and of praise at the beginning of every week is for me far more than an appreciation of the beauty of the sanctuary or the care of community, far more than part of a personal routine or professional responsibility. For me, this is a time when assurance and joy are renewed within me.

But this morning I am reminded that my hope is not in the sanctuary or even in a service of worship, but in God, and in God alone. I remember how Martin Luther, during a time of trial, of plague and war, paraphrased Psalm 46 ‘A mighty fortress is my God, a refuge never failing, our helper sure amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.’ 

Even as I long for a return to our joining in worship together here at St. Andrew’s, I shall use this morning as an occasion to allow words of Scripture shared by our Moderator below to settle deeper and fuller than ever before, and I invite you to join with me …

In Christian trust and hope, 
Andrew

A Message and Prayer from the Moderator re. COVID-19

As the world struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic, our congregations and communities strive to adjust to the rapidly changing circumstances, taking precautions to ensure that people are safe, and caring for one another in faithful and creative ways.

As we began the Season of Lent a few weeks ago, we reflected on Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness and the struggles he experienced. We also may feel like this is a wilderness time—a time of challenges and uncertainty. Even as we take good care to reduce the risk of transmission, we are invited to place our trust and hope in God who is with us and will help us.

The Lenten psalms provide inspiration for this prayer:

“O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
O Come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.” (Psalm 95:1-7)

Prayer

Loving God, we thank you for your presence with your children through the anxiety of the COVID-19 situation.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff- they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

Thank you for wise leadership and health authorities that guide us in making good decisions for our communities.

You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).

Thank you for doctors, nurses, medical researchers and technicians, and all those who are working to care for the sick and develop treatments for this illness.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).

Thank you for cleaning staff and caregivers and volunteers, and all who are working to keep our environments clean and safe.

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).

Thank you for pastors, elders, neighbours, and friends who are working to care for those who are vulnerable, alone or afraid.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning” (Psalm 130:5–6).

Thank you for the peace and comfort that comes from knowing that we are not alone. God, grant us patience as we wait; grant us courage as we serve you and care for one another; grant us hope as we trust in you for the future.

O [People], hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem” (Psalm 130:7).

Amen.

—The Rev. Amanda Currie
Moderator of the 2019 General Assembly

The Rev. Amanda Currie

 

 

Last night the Elders of St. Andrew’s agreed that it would be best to cancel morning worship this Sunday.

  • We have been made aware of the importance of refraining from public gatherings to avoid the risk of contacting the Coronavirus and delaying the spread of it. Some may be carriers of the virus and not be aware of it.
  • Conditions related to this virus change frequently and our health system is under tremendous strain – we remember all who are serving our community and in no way want to add to the pressures of care being experienced by them. 
  • A cancellation this Sunday will provide us with an opportunity to assess if we can put in place a plan which will provide a safe environment in which we can consider gathering to worship together on future Sundays.
  • Wherever we are, we can hold up in our prayers those who work in our healthcare community, our families, neighbours and bothers and sisters around the world who have been affected by this illness, and all in need of renewed health of body, mind and soul. 

There will be no entry to the church Sunday. But if you would like to join with me in personal prayer or the reading or scripture Sunday morning 10 a.m. – noon, please call the church office and I would be pleased to speak with you – 613-546-6316.

The tower of St. Andrew’s continues to point to the One who is sovereign through history and steadfast in loving kindness. The psalmist once shared how the personal discipline of patience and trust through a season of uncertainty was met in his own life by the faithfulness of the Lord God Almighty. Surely this is our faith also.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog, 
and set my feet upon a rock, 
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God … (Psalm 40)

‘Take up your cross, and follow me’ – Mark 8:31-9:1

The doors of St. Andrew’s will be open this Sunday for the worship of God. But please consider your own health and that other others, and know that if it is not appropriate for you to join in this particular service of worship, we will be remembering you in prayer, and your God is close to you.

For those of us who do gather (see the proposed Order of Service below), we will be practising social distancing, spreading ourselves through the sanctuary, presenting our offerings at the end of the service rather than passing the plate, and we will forgo a time of fellowship and our monthly pot luck. Our health system is under tremendous strain – we remember all who are serving the common good at this time, and in no way want to add to the pressures of care being experienced. 

The Kingston Street Mission and Special Meals have cancelled their programmes offered from St. Andrew’s until further notice. Please join us in prayer as we explore alternate ways to service our neighbours in need.

You may be assisted by going to the following links:
A Call for Compassion and Community: A Statement from the Canadian Council of Churches, written by the Rev. Stephen Kendall, Principal Clerk of the Presbyterian Church in Canada https://www.councilofchurches.ca/news/a-call-for-compassion-and-community-a-statement-from-the-canadian-council-of-churches-on-covid-19/,
and a prayer of intercession that comes from the Lutheran World Federation https://www.lutheranworld.org/sites/default/files/2020/documents/200312_-_intercessory_prayer_in_the_midst_of_the_spread_of_covid_-_en.pdf

Download (PDF, 355KB)

As one week gives way to another, together may be trust in the promise ‘that in all things God is at work for good’ (Romans 8:28), and commit ourselves to being part of that good.

“Christ and the Woman of Canaan” by Annibale Carracci 1595

This Sunday it is International Women’s Day. How wonderful that on this day we come to this passage in the Gospel according to Mark of the Syrophoenician woman’s encounter with Jesus (Mark 7:24-30). Of all the scenes of the life of Jesus recorded in the gospels, this must be among the most controversial, but also one of the most meaningful.

I admit that I have infused the sermon title – ‘the challenge to change’ – with an intentional ambiguity. It would be natural to presume that I will  highlight the need for us to be open to being changed. This is important, and I will explore it with particular reference to Jesus in this scene, who was willing to revise his perspective on the boundaries of God’s mercy and his calling. As hard as we find his words to the woman, his example of being willing to be changed is surely equally challenging for us.

But even more I will focus upon the challenge to change … not ourselves, but others. It is the strength of this woman – who is desperate but does not despair, who holds out for an alternate reality and persists with that vision – that changes Jesus. Two characters in this story, and both are examples for us in our stories.

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us this Sunday morning. Certified child care is offered during the service and a programme for young children also. There is free parking on the streets around (please note that the time-of-day restrictions on Clergy Street north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays) and in the surface civic lot just behind the church off Queen Street. There is a wheelchair lift inside the doors to St. Andrew’s Hall from the church parking lot mid way along Clergy Street, and hearing assist devices are available upon request from an usher. 

Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below, and consider each hymn and prayer and announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service.

Download (PDF, 548KB)

Next Sunday we will gather to continue in worship of God … and to enjoy a congregational lunch after the service!