Note from Nicole

This coming Sunday…

Dear St. Andrew Community, 

This Sunday is Acoustic Sunday and our scripture comes from 1 Kings 19:1-15a and Luke 8:26-39. 

Both scriptures have a moment when I imagined the protagonists dropping to their knees. Kneeling in prayer is a common practice in some churches. To this day, when I find a Catholic church that’s open and empty, I’ll go in and kneel. Kneeling brings on a humility and dependence before God that just doesn’t happen while sitting or standing. But that’s a voluntary practice and not what I imagined in these two scriptures.  

Being brought to ones knees feels as though it’s happening to you, and usually during times of grief and despair. 

In those moments, our whole body becomes the prayer, with complete vulnerability and surrender. It’s not a place I’d wish on anyone, and yet, the few times I’ve found myself there, God has shown up in ways that standing up once again takes on a life of its own. 

The same is true for those in this scripture and may it be so for you, should you ever be brought to your knees in prayer. 

See you Sunday,

Nicole 

P.S.-I made a mistake at the beginning of my sermon this past Sunday. I was referencing my sermon writing process. Instead of saying I write on Thursdays I said “Sundays”. I write most of the day on Thursday and then revisit it and refine it on Sunday morning, while it’s still dark. 

Why is this important? It’s not really. Except that a few of you have asked me when I sleep. The creative process is different for everyone, that’s mine and now you know.

SUNDAY SERMON VIDEO

If you weren’t able to attend last Sunday’s service, or if you would like to watch the sermon again, watch this video of last Sunday’s sermon by Rev. Nicole Trotter – “Delight – Full”:

To access past Wednesday E-News emails and Sunday Sermon Videos, follow this link.

MONTHLY MISSION FOCUS

St. Andrew has a long history of mission giving as we put into practice what it means to love our neighbor. We do this within our church, in the greater community of Sonoma, across the country and around the world. In an effort to focus our giving and participation, we will be highlighting one mission each month throughout the year in worship, during announcements and in our weekly Wednesday Eblast.

Our Mission focus, for the month of June, is Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). See below for more details!

Each month over the course of the year, should you feel moved to contribute financially towards the mission of focus for that month, please indicate on your check or envelope where you’d like the money to go. Without notation, we will place all contributions towards the operating budget of the church, which is always appreciated.

Focusing on one mission per month does not preclude you from giving towards any of our missions throughout the year. You can always indicate where you’d like your contribution to go, and please keep in mind there is more than one way to contribute to the life and community of St. Andrew, as your time and talents are greatly appreciated.

Cryssa and Mary

Disclaimer: this youth’s case has been closed and is not active in the Juvenile Court and that’s why names can be listed on this testimonial. 

Cryssa entered the foster care system in 2012 when she was 15 years old due to family turmoil and neglect. When a child enters foster care because his or her home is no longer safe, a CASA volunteer can be appointed by a judge to represent a child’s best interests. A volunteer guides a foster child through the overburdened and complex child protection system with the goal of reaching a safe and permanent home. A CASA volunteer often becomes one of the only consistent adult presence in a foster child’s ever-changing life.

Cryssa explains a bit how she and Mary met: “I was really surprised how quickly I was assigned to a CASA. It was Christmas time, I was fifteen years old and I really needed a CASA. In the beginning, I didn’t quite understand CASA’s role. At first, I thought of her as a woman, who would visit me and bring me amazing Christmas cookies. I soon discovered that she was someone with whom I could just let my emotions flow. Then, I quickly learned that as my CASA, she had a voice in the Dependency system. While my lawyers and social workers spoke up for me, it was amazing having that third voice, that also spoke out for me. As my CASA, she always had time to listen, to really understand my feelings and my concerns. She was able to present my wishes and my hopes to the judge through a court report.

She has always been on top of everything during my time in Foster care – consistently checking in with everyone on my team, making sure the best decisions were being made, and ensuring that everyone, at the very least, understood what I wanted and understood that I was working very hard to attain it.”

CASA Volunteer Mary reports: “My time with Cryssa has been a rollercoaster but I have always believed that she had great potential to create a rewarding and safe life for herself so I advocated for education, shelter, mental and physical health improvements. It wasn’t always easy; there were many bumps on the road. Yet today, she tells me that my presence in her life really made a difference. She says, “You were the only one who visited me in Juvenile Hall. I always knew that you cared about me. You were my CASA, my friend, my VOICE in court. You never put me down. You held me in your heart and I will always hold you in mine.”

The work of a CASA volunteer also involves gathering information from everyone involved in a child’s daily life, including family members, foster parents, teachers, doctors and social workers. They use the information they collect to report to the judge, advocating for the child’s physical and emotional needs. They are not foster parents – they are highly trained community advocates acting as a powerful voice for a child or sibling group. And Cryssa shares her insight on their relationship: “The number one person, who helped me be the person that I am today, has been Mary. When I entered the Foster Care system, I felt very alone and that I couldn’t get anything done to improve my life and CASA gave me confidence in myself and that I could change my story. When she was assigned as my CASA, I had no idea that it was the beginning of both a long journey and a life-long friendship!”

CASA volunteers are everyday members of the community doing extraordinary work by choosing to speak up for abused and neglected children in their communities. They are screened and trained, then appointed by the court to advocate for the best interests of a child or sibling group in the foster care system. Often the CASA volunteer is the one constant presence in a child’s life while he or she goes through the overburdened system. 

Founded in 1997, CASA of Sonoma County has served over 1,400 Sonoma County abused and neglected children since its inception. CASA is one of 44 similar programs throughout California. Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Arnold Rosenfield founded the CASA program out of concern for the many children languishing in the foster care system, often victims of poorly documented or ill-conceived decisions. Judges have often expressed the need for unbiased and crucial information in their overwhelming caseloads, and look to CASA to provide that information. The objective opinion of a CASA volunteer, who has no stake in the case except what is best for the child, is an invaluable aid to the court. We are there because we care – serving one child at a time!

Each year, CASA recruits, screens, orients, and provides dozens of hours of training for 160 – 180 adults to serve as mentors/advocates for 180 – 220 children in the juvenile court system. CASA carefully matches each foster youth with an appropriate adult mentor/advocate who will provide long term, consistent support. 

For more information on how to make a lasting difference in the life of a child as a CASA volunteer stop by our info table at church this Sunday or contact Heloisa Heinen at 707-565-6375 or [email protected] and also check our website www.sonomacasa.org.

Not everyone can be a CASA volunteer. But everyone can bring SOMETHING to the program, funds, volunteer time, board involvement, bring awareness to the community. I hope you’ll look into your heart and find what you can do to help CASA. Because there are children in Sonoma County who are counting on us. And that is really what CASA is all about – our children who are communities’ responsibilities. Working together, we can end the cycle of abuse and neglect so that every foster child has a chance to thrive and of a successful future.

If you’d like to support CASA with a financial donation, please follow this link to donate electronically or drop a check to St. Andrew in the mail or in the offering plate on Sunday with “CASA” in the memo field. Thank You!

PIZZA & THEOLOGY

PIZZA AND THEOLOGY

Thursday, June 23rd

6:00pm – 7:30pm

St. Andrew offers an evening of Pizza & Theology in the Fellowship Hall. Join us for a slice of pizza and salad as we gather around a table to discuss our most pressing questions about God. Donations to cover the cost of the dinner are gratefully accepted. Please RSVP to Dawne Carver via the church office  by following this link so we can plan accordingly. All are welcome!

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL

Monday, June 27 – Thursday, June 30th

9:00am – 3:00pm

Preschool through 5th grade (preschool attendees should have completed at least one year of preschool, please)

$75 per child for the week

This summer, step back in time to where Jesus walked to the Cross! Smell the fresh, warm bread; weave a basket of reeds; make clay pots; hear the marketplace music and experience life where Jesus grew up. Engage all of your senses as you transport with St Andrew to Jerusalem and walk with Jesus!

Registration is now open! Text VBS2022 to the St. Andrew Text-to-Church number: 707-278-6024 and follow the prompts or visit our website and follow the link: https://www.andrewpres.org/


CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS!

Volunteers are needed for VBS! Camp will be the week of June 27-30 (M-Th) and will run from 9am-3pm. Volunteers will sign up for a time block- you don’t need to commit to a full day:

  • Morning: 9:00-12:00: Tribal Leaders, Marketplace crafts, snack booth, playground leaders, celebration (music) helper, drama team, preschool leader;
  • Lunch crew: 12:00-2:00: supervise, set up, clean up tables;
  • Afternoon Crew: 1:00-3:00: Group leaders, station leaders: arts and crafts, music, sports/games, movie room, service project; 
  • Sunday 6/26: set-up crew- help set up tents and decorate following the service.

Following our Worship Service each Sunday, Dawne Carver and/or Kelsey Walthard will be waiting at the volunteer board. You can also sign up by texting VOLVBS to the St. Andrew Text-to-Church number: 707-278-6024 and follow the prompts, Or email Kelsey via the church office at: [email protected]

CONGREGATIONAL & CORPORATION MEETINGS

St. Andrew Congregational Meeting / Annual Corporation Meeting

Sunday, July 3rd – 10:00am

We’ll be meeting Sunday, July 3rd, following our 9:00am worship service, for a Congregational Meeting to elect Deacons and Elders and elect our Nominating Committee for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, immediately followed by our Annual Corporation Meeting to elect our Corporate Trustees.

Please plan to attend!

ASSISTING THE UKRAINIAN PEOPLE:

Follow this link for a message from Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, detailing ways we can provide aid for refugees and civilians suffering in Ukraine, and call for engaging a diplomatic solution to the conflict.


The Community of Sonoma Offers Opportunities to Support Ukraine
All are invited to meet on the Sonoma Plaza on Friday night at 5:00pm until further notice to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

Join Sonoma Valley Interfaith on Mondays and Wednesdays (9:00-9:30 AM) at the Sonoma FCC/CCS Redwood Grove for silent prayer and deepening compassion for the people of the Ukraine, Russia and the Baltic Countries. All are welcome!

SUMMER CAMP OPPORTUNITIES

READING AND LISTENING CORNER

Pastor Nicole’s Reading and Listening Corner

Dear Friends,

This is a sampling of books I’m either reading, skimming, or hoping to get to in addition to the lectionary sermon resources I enjoy. I’m always pleased to recommend a book on a topic that interests you.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.
Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. 

Creation and the Cross: The Mercy of God for a Planet in Peril by Elizabeth A. Johnson
Elizabeth Johnson asks how we can understand cosmic redemption in a time of advancing ecological devastation. In effect, how can we extend the core Christian belief in salvation to include all created beings. Immediately this quest runs into a formidable obstacle: the idea that Jesus’ death on the cross was required as an atonement for human sin—a theology laid out by the eleventh-century theologian Anselm. Constructing her argument (like Anselm) in the form of a dialogue, Johnson lays out the foundations in scripture, the teachings of Jesus, and the early Church for an understanding that emphasizes the love and mercy of God, showing how this approach could help us respond to a planet in peril.

Church of the Wild: How Nature Invites Us into the Sacred by Victoria Loorz
Whether disillusioned by the dominant church or unfulfilled by traditional expressions of faith, many of us long for a deeper spirituality. Victoria Loorz certainly did. Coping with an unraveling vocation, identity, and planet, Loorz turned to the wanderings of spiritual leaders and the sanctuary of the natural world, eventually cofounding the Wild Church Network and Seminary of the Wild.

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben
Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. 

Listening to-
Podcasts-On Being with Krista Tippethttps://onbeing.org/series/podcast/
The Mothhttps://themoth.org/?gclid=CjwKCAjwj42UBhAAEiwACIhADqJfNFaCwAJICpNzhegF3ribg4dmolsR2du7N132VAQkCxKG7pcHiRoCedIQAvD_BwE
Jon Meacham Hope Through Historyhttps://www.history.com/hope-through-history
Unlocking Us with Brene Brownhttps://brenebrown.com/podcast-show/unlocking-us/
Armchair Experthttps://armchairexpertpod.com/

WORSHIP AT ST. ANDREW ON JUNE 19

In-Person Worship St. Andrew Presbyterian Church
Sunday, June 19

9:00am Indoors in our Sanctuary

St. Andrew has been, and will continue to be, in compliance with the County and State regulations regarding Covid protocols. It’s important for us to protect one another as we worship. We have these updated guidelines in place for everyone’s safety, in accordance with CDC and Sonoma County regulations, and approved by our St. Andrew Session:

  • Masks are currently strongly recommended, for all individuals indoors. Health officials strongly recommend masks as an effective tool to prevent the spread of the virus. All employees and volunteers working with children and youth will be required to wear masks.
  • Do not attend services if you are not feeling well or are exhibiting symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, sore throat, etc. 
  • We will continue to have doors open to aid airflow throughout the sanctuary and hand sanitizer readily available.
  • We ask that all in attendance refrain from hugging and other forms of physical interaction.

Please continue your giving during this time, so that St. Andrew may continue to serve our local community and our membership. We recognize that some of you have been impacted financially by economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. For those of you who can, please continue to give on a regular basis.

There are several options available:

  • Give electronically to the St. Andrew General Fund
  • Set up your donation to St. Andrew to be paid through your bill paying service at your personal bank.
  • Mail a check to St. Andrew, or drop your envelope into our locked mail box: 16290 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476