Welcome to St. Andrew

You are invited to
St. Andrew’s All Church Coffee Hour

Sunday, April 19 – 11:00am – 12:00pm

Offer your prayers, share in small groups and enjoy checking in with friends!

Use the Zoom link in our Saturday and Sunday emails. Email the church office if you need the Zoom link: Link Request

While St. Andrew’s worship services are suspended, we are connected through love and friendship with you and people all over the world.  

Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, April 19, 2020.

Many thanks to Ron Moser (technical expertise), Amy Cox (formatting/posting), Caryn Prince, Bob Conover and Jan Reynolds (song selections), Tracy Walthard, Kelsey Walthard and Dawne Carver (teachings for children and youth).

Sing Praise to God

“Praise Song for the Pandemic” – Click here or below to enjoy this song

“Hosanna” – Click here or below to enjoy this song

Discovery Time & Sunday School

Click here or below to watch Tracy Walthard present Discovery Timebe sure to watch until the end for a funny surprise!

Our Sunday School Lessons for today are as follows:

Preschool Memory verse: “I am alive for ever and ever!” Revelation 1:18, NIV 

Grades K-5 Memory verse: Don’t do anything only to get ahead. Don’t do it because you are proud. Instead, be humble. Value others more than yourselves. Philippians 2:3, NIV

Be sure to check our Facebook page for Sunday School videos to share with your children: St. Andrew Sonoma Facebook Page

Pastoral Prayer

Click here or below to hear this prayer

This prayer, by Rev. Robert Conover, was distributed throughout the PCUSA

God of life,
we come to you in prayer at a time of crisis 
for the whole world community.

We pray for the Church,
set in the world to show people how to belong together
and how your gifts are given to be shared.
Grant that, as we feel
for the rejection and voicelessness of others,
we may meet Christ in them
and bear witness to his transforming love.

We pray for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 
and for the meeting of the 224th General Assembly:
for all commissioners and advisory delegates,
for all denominational staff,
for all who manage facilities and logistics,
for all who prepare meals and sustenance,
and for all who provide for comfort and rest,
that the Assembly might serve you in one common ministry
and be a visible sign of your presence in the world.

We pray for the rulers of the nations.
Move them to set aside their fear, greed, and vain ambition,
and bow to your sovereign rule.
Inspire them to strive for peace and justice,
that all your children may dwell secure,
free of war and injustice.

We pray for the world’s hungry and suffering, the homeless and refugees.
Give us, who consume most of the earth’s resources,
the will to reorder our lives.
Restore among us the love of the earth you created
and help us put an end to ravishing its land, air, and waters,
that all people and creatures may live in the abundance 
of your gift of creation.

We pray in solidarity for our sisters and brothers around the world who are sick.
Especially, with the outbreak of the coronavirus, we are reminded of our common humanity.
We pray for all those afflicted with COVID-19,
and all those impacted by this world pandemic.
We pray for all medical personnel, for public health officials, and all civic leaders.
Grant them courage and prudence as they seek to respond to this emergency with compassion and in service to the common good.

We pray for those who are facing death
and for those who mourn,
and for those whom we name in our hearts
before you now.

We give thanks for all those who have strengthened our faith
that we, too, might be a sign to the world
of your steadfast love, hope, and grace;
through Jesus Christ. Amen.

We pray in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray in this way,

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, 
as we forgive our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power
 and the glory, forever.  Amen.

Joys and Concerns

Please let us know how we can support you in prayer this week. We will share requests for prayer with Deacons and staff, and with the congregation as appropriate.

Moment for Reflection

 “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” Click here or below to enjoy this song

Message for Youth

What now? We celebrated Easter last week. Jesus overcame death, our sins are forgiven and we have new life in the Risen King! Now what?

Did you know that Jesus spent 40 days appearing to his disciples and other people? Acts 1:3 “During the 40 days after His crucifixion, He appeared to the apostles from time to time, and He proved to them in many ways He was actually alive. And He talked to them about the Kingdom of God.”

I sometimes forget that Jesus didn’t ascend to heaven right away. For me it’s important to remember that the disciples needed that time after Jesus’ resurrection to sit with Him and really get that He was alive. I wonder if the disciples had any idea that their world would be turned upside down through the power of the Holy Spirit and just how many lives would be changed through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The disciples weren’t just spectators of Jesus being alive. They were living life with Jesus. They were still learning from Him. That made me wonder – Do I live as if Jesus is really alive? Am I still learning from Jesus? Or am I living as a spectator, someone who is impressed with what Jesus did and impressed with the actions of the disciples? Are you living as a spectator or as a person who is completely changed by Jesus being alive?

I know that I want to live as a person changed on the inside out. I want to spend time in God’s word to feel/hear the Holy Spirit’s direction. To feel peace and joy in the midst of the chaos. And God is giving me that time. Time to look to him, to lean on him, to trust in him, to actually live as a person of faith.

I especially need that right now. I can get caught up in the fears and anxiety of all the unknowns. I can get stuck in the losses. I can forget to look to God. Yet that is not how we are to live as people of faith. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Take this time to deepen your faith by spending time in God’s word. Take the time to connect with others in thanksgiving. Take the time to ask God to change you from a spectator in your Christian faith to really living a new life in the Risen King! Blessings, Dawne Carver

Faith Offering

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 will be 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 mail box: 16290 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476

Scripture Reading

Click here or below to hear Rev. Robert Conover’s reading  (with additional commentary)

John 20:19-31

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Sermon and Blessing

April 19, 2020
Resurrection Faith

Rev. Robert E. Conover, Presbytery of the Redwoods

Click here or below to watch video or read below… 

Good morning. Happy second Sunday of Easter. So, I’m filming this earlier in the week, and I am told that maybe the congregation of the Redwoods Presbyterian Church in Larkspur may also be viewing this sermon, in addition to St. Andrew in Sonoma. And if I can give Stephanie Ryder in Larkspur a Sunday off, and Jan Reynolds in Sonoma a Sunday off after the big Holy Week and Easter celebrations last week, I am more than happy to do that. So, it is good to be with all of you.

We heard the lesson earlier, the story of the so-called Doubting Thomas. And in the very beginning, we see all the disciples are gathered there in a room. The door is locked. In other words, those disciples were not practicing social distancing. Now, we clearly are in a time for, just about five weeks now in the North Bay counties and all the Bay Area counties, we have been in social distancing and in sheltering in place. And it’s something we need to practice, of course.

The disciples may not have been practicing social distancing, but they do teach us that we always, as people of faith and as a human community, need to practice social engagement, social connection. We may be separated by, at the very least, six feet from each other these days, but nevertheless, we need to be socially connected. This is a story of resurrection faith. How do we experience, how do we encounter resurrection? Sometimes, it’s individually, but most often, it is through that connection with one another.

We can’t go more than about 10 minutes these days without hearing the word virus, coronavirus. And we know that, in general, viruses are something we want to steer clear of, but especially at this time. But you know, faith is a lot like a virus. You have to be near it, you have to be around it in order to catch it. Faith is something to be shared.

So, as we go about our time in these challenging days, make sure that you are staying engaged, connected with other people of faith, because it is not hard to wonder, it is not hard to lose faith. Certainly, our faith is challenged. So, stay connected and catch the faith of others. That’s the first thing we see. The disciples were not practicing social distance as we are, but they do show us to stay socially engaged, socially connected. Stay close with your family and friends. Stay close to your community of faith. It will strengthen your faith. So, that’s the first thing we see.

The second thing we see is focused on the so-called Doubting Thomas. Now, I don’t know about all of you, but I am a charter member of the Doubting Thomas fan club. Some of us come to faith quite easily. In fact, faith is a gift. And for some of us, we have received an abundance of that gift. And for others of us, not so much. Believing is challenging. There’s good news here. So faith, as a gift. Think of gifts in other ways. Now, some of us have a real gift for music. But you know, others of us, that gift is not so much. But all of us can sing. Some of us may even sing off key, but all of us can sing. In that way, we’re all blessed.

Now notice, Jesus appeared. How, we don’t know, out of nowhere, walking through doors that were closed. And He appeared to those disciples on that first Sunday evening. On that Resurrection Day evening. Thomas wasn’t there. Thomas said, “Hey, unless I see it for myself, I’m not going to believe.” We can be pretty sure that Thomas was a Presbyterian. Presbyterians want to see it. Very reasonable, rational people. If it’s hard to believe, we’d like to have a little proof. So, Thomas said, “Unless I see.” Now notice this, we can be a little hard on Doubting Thomas. If you’re feeling a little bit Doubting Thomas-like, here’s the good news. Jesus showed up a week later, especially for Thomas. Jesus didn’t leave Thomas out because of his doubt. Jesus made a special trip because of his doubt.

So, if you’re members of that Doubting Thomas fan club, know that you are held in good stead. If Jesus showed up for Thomas, Jesus will show up for you. Now, Jesus did say, “Blessed are those who believe but haven’t seen.” Well, of course, blessed are those who can play the piano and sing on key, of course. But all of us can sing, and Jesus will show up for all of us. He showed up for Thomas, He’ll show up for you, and even maybe for me. So, social connection. Realizing that Jesus, that God’s very self, God’s very presence, will show up for you, even though you may hold doubt deeply.

And third, what about this, Jesus walking through these closed doors? What do we make of that? How might that shed some light on our life of faith? I want to invite you to a practice, and I’ll outline it here, but then, on your own, in the quiet of your own home, I invite you to practice it. This is something I learned long ago, maybe 30 years ago, and have practiced it many times myself in various ways. So, here’s the practice. Find a comfortable place to sit and be quiet for just a few minutes. And then, close your eyes, and begin to imagine a room that is a comfortable place in your life. It could be your living room, your family room, could be your office. You could even be outside. Or you can create your own room. Create the perfect room, the perfect garden that you would like to have for your own. And just sit there for a brief time and notice the room.

And then notice Jesus. Just appearing in the room, He comes into the room somehow. But notice Jesus just appearing in the room and sitting there across from you. Maybe He comes and sits right next to you. What’s He look like? How does He sit? What’s the expression on His face? Just imagine. And what does He say to you? What do you say to Him? Is there anything you want to ask Him? Is there anything you long to hear from Him? What does He say? What’s His response? And did you notice that He showed up just for you? And then, let Him leave, until the next time you need a visit from a close friend. You remember the song, What a friend we have in Jesus.

I think it’s going to be some time before we are shaking hands with each other again. Dr. Fauci says, “No more shaking hands.” So, maybe the best way to close this time together, is simply bring our palms together at our heart, the way we’ve been taught in other traditions, and say, “In the name of the living God, I bow to you.” May God’s blessing rest upon you, now and always. Amen.

Closing Song

“10,000 Reasons” Click here or below to enjoy this song

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