Note from Nicole

This coming Sunday…

When my son was three, he must have remembered turning two, because he asked us not to sing “Happy Birthday” to him. That’s when I remembered how hard he cried at the age of two as we placed a cake in front of him, all eyes on him and began to sing. He never liked being the center of attention or the center of anything – except the center of a baseball field on the pitcher’s mound. The mound is the place he’s so focused on his sole purpose and intention that he’s able to thrive, despite the countless sets of eyes watching his every move. In that moment, he forgets himself long enough to thrive for the sake of the pitch, which is for the sake of his team.

In this Sunday’s gospel (John 12:2-33), God announces that God has and will glorify His name through Jesus. The people wonder if what they heard was thunder or an angel. And Jesus tells them the voice has come for their sake, not his own.

What allows some of us to bear the gravity of love while others shy away from it or misinterpret it as something intended for someone else? I can’t answer that, as our reasons will vary. But I can say this with certainty; God intends for all of us to accept love. The outpouring of love for our sake is sometimes too much for any of us to take in, but once we do, really do, it affects how we live, reflected in everything we think, say and do. It’s why we teach children the words “God loves you, Jesus loves you”, over and over again. Yes, you! Now let your life reflect that love for the sake of the team, which on God’s field, is all of creation.

Yours in Christ,
Nicole

GETTING ACQUAINTED:

For the next few months – each Thursday from 2-4 and Sunday from 12-2, Reverend Nicole Trotter will make herself available for a conversation so that we can get to know one another. This can be by phone, Facetime, Zoom, or an outdoor visit at the church, in a yard or at the square. You may like just 15 minutes or perhaps an hour. Please contact Amy in the church office at [email protected] to set up a time and let her know your preferred method of contact; Phone, church, etc.? If neither of these times work for you, please feel free to reach out to Nicole directly to set something up.

LENTEN TOUCHSTONES

At the start of Lent, the worship team invited all of us to create a spot at home that connects us to the experience of Lent beyond Sunday mornings. It begins with finding a stone as a symbolic invitation to the many biblical representations of stones.  If you haven’t accepted this invitation, it’s not too late – look for your stone today!

Once you have it, there are endless ways to use it. Over the remaining 3 weeks of Lent, we invite you to send a photo, or a written description of how you return to these touchstones. Share your contributions by emailing them to the church office by Sunday, March 21. Once we’ve collected your photos and/or thoughts, we hope to share your experience during Holy Week with a slide show to music. 

We’ve already received a few testimonies about the touchstones. Here are the words of our own Jenny Shipston and Suzanne Weise to inspire you:

My Touchstone reflection by Jenny Shipston

This year’s Lenten theme of “Gifts of the Dark Woods” has resonated with me. It does not feel that long ago that I was standing in front of Michael’s decorated trees on the altar and giving a eulogy for my husband that talked about going into the dark woods. I used the play “Into the Woods” to describe, that like the fairytale characters in that play, my family and I entered the dark woods hoping to get our heart’s desire-a cure for my husband’s cancer. But as the song says-“Sometimes people leave you halfway through the wood”. Since that journey my children and I have had our ups and downs but we always come back to our love of each other and the traditions that were established when my husband was alive and healthy. One of the important ones was to always grab a rock from a place that we were visiting either on the ground or maybe even the gift shop. A tangible memory of our fun. Some of those rocks my children placed in their father’s grave next to his ashes. Some are on my window sill to remind us of the good times we had and the good times we still continue to enjoy together. A shell has made its way in there as we have moved on and put our own spin on things. We have faced and will face other dark woods but we always take with us the solid reminder of the touchstones of our shared history and its promise of future happier times together.

___________________________________

My Lenten stones….
This is a concept I was not aware of, but I like it! My plan was to go in search of the perfect stone when I realized that I have two special stones that I keep right in front of me!One is a smooth, gray stone from Tofino Stone Poetry with this message written on it:Sometimes gratitude slips through my fingers like sand, once stone. Holding onto this moment I give thanks.Tofino is a charming little town on Victoria Island, BC and the stone was a gift from my stepson and daughter in law.The second stone ~ okay, maybe it’s resin or clay! ~ is a 2” angel, given to me by a friend as I approached treatments by way of infusions. I set my tray with water, a book and my angel which I held in my hand once the healing serum was started. When the beep, beep, beep signaled the time was up I packed up my water and book and slipped the angel into my pocket as we walked out to see what the world had in store for us that day ~ with gratitude!
Suzanne Weise

ENVIRONMENTAL MOMENT

The new Federal administration has put fighting climate change as a marque item in their agenda. We all have a part to play in supporting this agenda. This bi-weekly Environmental Moment will highlight some environmental good news and offer tips on how you can help reduce waste, energy, and use of plastics. May this instill hope for our future.

Good News: California was the first state to ban plastic straws in restaurants.

Green Tip #13: While you will not get a plastic straw in Starbucks or Applebees anymore, you can still buy them for personal use. Consider purchasing glass or metal straws instead. They are inexpensive and easy to clean.

Thank you! And if you have any Good News or Green Tips, or if you would like some product recommendations, please contact Eileen Haflich via the church office at [email protected]

Brought to you by the Mission Committee

FINANCIAL UPDATE

St. Andrew continues to be truly blessed by your generosity over these past months. Thank you for your prayerful consideration in helping to sustain St. Andrew during these challenging times. 

We have a Fiscal Year-to-Date net shortfall of $22,626. This shortfall is $8,908 greater than budget, or about 3.25% of budgeted income. 

This has been a difficult few years of transition for many reasons, all of which reasonably affect giving. Session wants to thank you for your ongoing generosity during this difficult period. We are confident that with time and God’s help, as the church reopens with our newly called Pastor Nicole, we will be able to make up this shortfall. In the meantime, we would graciously ask that you review your giving to help do what you can where you can.

If you have any questions, please contact the church office. The following is a summary of the financial statements for November through February and the Year to Date for the Fiscal Year starting in July:

WORSHIP ON THE PATIO MARCH 21ST

Outdoor Worship– St. Andrew Presbyterian Church
Sunday, MARCH 21 at 10:00 am

Dear Friends,

Join us for worship at St. Andrew, Sunday, March 21 at 10:00 am. This service will include recorded music, prayers, Scripture, Rev. Nicole Trotter’s teaching, and Communion. (An online service will still be available that day with similar content).

We can take reservations up to 45 people + staff. We expect the service to last about 45 minutes, allow 60 minutes for leaving carefully socially-distanced.

We have these guidelines in place for everyone’s safety, in accordance with CDC and Sonoma County guidelines, and approved by our Covid Taskforce:

  • We will greet you, check your temperature, receive your signed agreement and guide you to your assigned seats.
  • Participants will always stay 6-feet apart and wear masks.
  • It is important not to physically greet one another in any way.
  • Unfortunately, no chatting in groups is allowed on church property.
  • We will ask each person to use hand sanitizer before sitting.
  • Sanitized chairs will be spaced with at least 6 feet between individuals or family groups.
  • No bulletins will be provided, and no singing is possible for safety.
  • Participants will leave with self-contained communion kits that they can open in their cars or at home. Please do not leave the used packaging at the church!

Please click here to reserve seats for you and/or your family (first come, first served). Please list all family members in your “Covid bubble” who will attend with you so we can pre-assign a cluster of chairs for you.

Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to our Worship Service Agreement. Please sign the Agreement and bring it with you to the service – this will shorten check-in lines the day of the service.
Thank you!

We look forward to worshipping together

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

If you would like to receive emails from St. Andrew with current information about our Virtual Services and links to Virtual Meetings click below