Welcome to
St. Andrew’s Commemoration of Pastor Rich Gantenbein
Sunday Worship Service

Featuring Rev. Russ Kane, Rabbi Steve Finley and Rev. Bob Conover

Scroll Down to Experience This Virtual Worship Service


In addition to this Virtual Worship Service, you are invited to
St. Andrew’s All Church Coffee Hour

Sunday, April 26 – 11:00am – 12:00pm

We’ll have an opportunity to share our memories of Pastor Rich. 
We hope you’ll join us!

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 26, 2020.

Jan’s Welcome and Introduction

Click here or below to watch Rev. Jan Reynolds’ Welcome and Introduction

Dear Friends,

Today is a special and tender day as we commemorate the legacy of Rev. Rich Gantenbein to St. Andrew. Some of you may be new to our community and, if so, this service and our virtual coffee hour will begin to acquaint you with the many ways that Pastor Rich inspired and formed this congregation over many years. We are grateful to God for the opportunity to lovingly reflect upon the invaluable contributions of Rich to this church for more than three decades.

The Rev. Russ Kane has kindly offered the sermon today. Be sure to hear both parts of his sermon because he has a special message to St. Andrew in second part. As you know, Pastor Russ was a long-time close friend of Rich. They collaborated and supported one another in their ministries. Russ has kindly donated his sermon stipend to the Romania fund in memory of Rich.

The Rev. Bob Conover, Executive Presbyter and Stated Clerk of Redwoods Presbytery, has reflected upon Rich’s legacy to the congregation and the Church. Bob was a close friend and biking buddy of Rich.

Rabbi Steve Finley of Congregation Shir Shalom offers a touching blessing you will not want to miss! It is in English and Aramaic which is the spoken language of Jesus.

The music today was suggested by David Irvine and Amos Munoz. All music presented today were favorites of Rich!

As your Interim Pastor, know that every day I remember Rich with fondness and appreciation. He was my colleague and my friend. I will be forever grateful for his wisdom and his humor, and for introducing me to this vibrant congregation that I regard in love and admiration, and am honored to serve.

Blessings on your worship this morning.

Jan

Rev. Jan Reynolds

Sing Praise to God

“A Mighty Fortress is Our God”
(Rich loved “big organ” for this hymn) – Click here or below to enjoy this song

Rich’s Legacy

Click here or below to watch Rev. Robert Conover’s video on the legacy of Pastor Rich

Good morning, St. Andrew,

It’s good to be with you and I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to say a few words of my impression of Rich’s legacy for St. Andrew. Now, like so many of you, I was close to Rich. I liked Rich a lot. Rich was not perfect, he was just really good. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and all humankind and said it is good, not perfect, kind of like Rich, really good. So four things come to my mind about what Rich left you as a congregation.

The first thing was his focus. We all know one of his favorite sayings, and he had a lot of them, was “Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing”. Simple saying, but not easy to do. Life is so full of distractions pulling us one way or another. But Rich really had an ability to help all of us stay focused on those things that are central. Clarity of focus, Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing.

Secondly, Rich never let personalities get in the way. In the beginning, again, when God created humankind, he gave each and every one of us personalities and some of us are more characters than others. Rich never let personalities get in the way of his ministry. Everyone was always welcome. Everyone was treated equal. He would go out of his way to help the least of those among us just as those of us who have so much more. Personalities never got in the way. He was welcoming of all and shared his ministry with all, and my experience is that’s exactly the way St. Andrew does it and the way you very intentionally want to be.

Third, Rich had an outward focus of mission. Of course, there was care for the congregation, but fundamental to keeping the “Main Thing” was to stay focused outward, into the local community and into the world. The ever so well-known saying of “Don’t go to Church, Be the Church”, was another one of Rich’s sayings. Focus outward, just think of it as love within a family. If the love stays only within the family, that really is not the intention. It’s not the intention for the world. The more love there is, the more love there is; always focused outward.

Fourth, Rich was devoted to continual growth, both individually, personally, and as a congregation. Said another way, he was always working at updating his life, updating his awareness of the world, which means updating his awareness of God and theology. Doesn’t mean God is changing. It means that his vision is growing larger than it was before of what God is all about in the world. So he updated his self-understanding to come into line with what new things God had revealed to him. I think this is among the key things that Rich gave to St. Andrew and really has become the legacy that you all are carrying on.

I like Rich a lot. I like St. Andrew a lot. You’re not perfect, but you’re really good. Thank you. Thanks be to God.

Discovery Time & Sunday School

Click here or below to watch Tracy Walthard present Discovery Time – be 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

Message for Youth

How are you coping with all the changes that have happened in the last month? In the last week? I’ve got to be honest and admit not great. My attitude has definitely needed an adjustment and I’ve yelled out at not getting to do things I had been planning. I’ve cried out in frustration at not being able to get together with family and friends.

Last Sunday, I asked you, the youth, “What are your biggest challenges? What is really hard?” Here is an overview of your answers: Motivation, setting schedules to do schoolwork at home, seeing the events/games canceled on the calendar and missing being able to hangout with friends and people you see at school.

I also asked, “What are the biggest blessings from this? What is something that is happening that wouldn’t be happening if life was like before?” The biggest blessing was spending time together as a family. You all have had to pause from the busy lives of play practices, sports, homework and so many other things that make up your life. You have had to slow down. So have I. I have the chance to be still (you say being bored) and let thoughts drift. I have the chance to go through the piles of “stuff” that have accumulated in my busyness. I have a chance to sit with my family and really talk.

Romans 5:1-5 has been popping up a lot. 1 “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into the place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. 3 We can now rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And the hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.”

I really like the first and last part! Having peace with God and knowing how dearly He loves me is what I need to hear! But then verse 3 says to rejoice in the trials, my struggles, my hurts? I must admit I really wanted to gloss over that part. I don’t feel like rejoicing in all of this! I don’t want trials and things to be canceled. I want to rant and yell about it. Yet that’s not helping me, my family or those around me. That’s not what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to rejoice and have faith. I’ll admit that I have not been living as one with hope and faith. I have been concentrating on the challenges and trials. I was not looking at the blessings in this time.

I woke up this morning deciding that I want to count the blessings. I definitely need to grieve the losses and changes but I grieve as one with hope. That God is in control of all of this, and I don’t have to be. That I get to choose how I react to the situations around me. Today I choose to follow Him for He knows all of my tomorrows.

My prayer for all of us is that others see God in our actions, that they hear God’s love in our words and that we are living as people of hope.

Blessings, Dawne Carver

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.

Song of Praise

“In Christ Alone” by Kristian StanfillClick here or below to enjoy this song

Sermon – Part 1

The God Who Is Here
Genesis 28: 10-17
Rev. Russell Kane

Click here or below to watch video or read below
(Slightly edited from the video for readability):  

Hey, good morning, St. Andrew!
My name is Russ Kane, and I am the Pastor, for the last 24 years, at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Castle Rock, Colorado. More to the point, for the last 40 years or more, Rich and I have been friends, colleagues, and we even more than once kidded that we were co-pastors of different congregations.

Our relationship and our friendship reaches back that far, and it is an honor, an honor, to be here today with you. For those who don’t know me, I was there last year for Rich’s memorial. I got to preach in your sanctuary the next day. You should also know, perhaps, that we go back further than that. In fact, I was there for and part of Rich’s installation service back when your sanctuary was still the holdover to the Carriage House of the old Spreckels Estate.

It was a week like this one, and we had many weeks like this, where about the second week after Easter, we would gather and plan sermons for the next year. It was one of those years when Rich had been looking for where his next call was going to be, only to have that called up short after a Palm Sunday work project, when the old sanctuary in the church burned to the ground. I remember gathering in a campground that week and Rich relating that he indeed did have a new call, it just happened to be at the same address. That there was a new call to a new St. Andrew, and he got to be a part of that. Before even that, we were on the same staff in Los Angeles together. So again, it is an honor to be here with you even if being here is not what we intended – that we can’t be physically together.

But I guess it should also be noted that there is nothing about this last year that would have gone like we would, or anyone would, have intended. And so it is good to be here. And then as I was talking with Jan about this week and about the adaptations, it occurred to me, and by the way, you know how blessed you are to have Jan doing what she’s doing, to be your Interim Pastor, don’t you? There are so few congregations that get to have that kind of quality of care and pastoral leadership that you are getting in such a time, with someone who already knows who you are. Again, you know you are blessed.

And as we were talking about this particular week, it struck me that as odd as all this is, somehow it was also appropriate. Let me explain. Technology was one of those things that sort of defined us. It was a thread that ran through Rich and myself, our ministry together, and how we worked and how we worked together. When I first met Rich, Rich was working on his doctoral dissertation and he was doing it on a Commodore 64. For those of a different generation, google it. While you’re googling it, google an Osborne 1 because that’s what I started to use, and it began an era of technology being a tool by which we would do our ministries together.

We would often do study leaves, and I remember more than a few study leaves when the first stop we had to make was at a computer store. Rich had talked to them already, so he could rent the equipment of a tower, a big giant screen (because they were big and giant back then), the keyboard and the software that you had to upload. And then after half a day of putting it all together, we were ready to go. We really thought we were something back then, and we were very impressed with ourselves. We were also very impressed with ourselves when we moved on to laptop computers, and more than a couple of our early forays into working together in campgrounds involved us having to stop off at the ranger and ask if he would please plug in our battery charger so we could charge up our battery from day to day. I think the first time we had to pay the guy about five bucks because he was suspicious that somehow we were getting away with something and we were probably draining them a lot more electricity than was merited.

That continued on, and I think I was in Washington when “File Transfer Protocol via the phone” became something. I remember back in those days that we would try and do these series together. One of us would get it in what was called “camera-ready art”, google it. This was when cut and paste meant literally cutting and pasting graphics and sitting them on there. And then we would send them off. The day we found out we could do that now by phone and having a phone and putting it in one of those cradles that talked to each other, we were very impressed with ourselves.

Technology has been an incredible and an essential tool for the way we have adapted to ministry. So it seems appropriate, doesn’t it, on a day like today, that once again technology is being used to adapt to a particular situation. And so here we are, and again, I am so honored to get to be a part of this and to be here with you.

Our passage today is about adaptation. It is someone else who is adapting to a situation. His name is Jacob. The passage is Genesis chapter 28, verses 10 to 17, and it begins this way, that Jacob left Beersheba and went to Haran. Now with just that one verse, there’s a whole lot going on there. Jacob is in between where he wanted to be and where he was going. He was on a journey, he was in an in-between time.

The purpose of that trip might have varied. His mother might have told his neighbors that Jacob was being sent to go visit her brother, his uncle, who he had never met, and to maybe go establish a relationship, maybe even go find a good wife. Jacob, if he had been honest, would’ve said, “I’m getting out of town because my brother hates me. He has threatened to kill me. I have burned every bridge I know, and I have nowhere else to go.” Potato, potahto, he’s on a journey, and he’s on a journey not of his own choosing. And where he is going, the destination, it is unknown what he will find there. Can anyone relate? Can anyone in this last year relate to being on a journey that you didn’t choose and where you’re going to end up, who knows?

Let’s listen to what happened to Jacob because I think it might have something to do with us, today, as well, “He came to a certain place and stayed there for a night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place.” Literally, literally, he is between a rock and a hard place. And it was there that he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. This is one of those great Sunday School, Vacation Bible School stories. We know it as children. It certainly bears closer scrutiny as adults.

“And the Lord stood beside him and said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie, I will give to you and to your offspring, and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth. You shall spread to the East and to the West, to the North and to the South. And all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and your offspring. Know that I am with you…'” Know I am with you. “‘… and I will keep you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.’ And then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I didn’t know it.’ And he was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place? This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.'” “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I didn’t know it.”

I’m not sure if it was the 20th or the 25th anniversary of Rich’s ordination and installation at St. Andrew, but I was there, and on that Sunday celebrating with you that day, I chose this exact passage. And the reason I am choosing it today is because I want to bring some closure, I want to close the loop, and let me explain. It was on that day that I invited the congregation to step back and to just survey the last 20, 25 years of your life together. We tend to get in a week to week, day to day, month to month kind of existence, and it’s always good to pause, and to step back, to look, and to imagine the same question, “Has God been in this place, and maybe we didn’t know it?”

So I asked a series of questions that day. I invited people to stand up if it applied to them. And I remember saying, “Stand up, if you would, if this has been a place where you have turned your life around”. And some people stood up. Even more people stood up when I said, “Join these people if this has been a place of solace in a time of grief and pain for you”. Even more people stood up when I asked “Has this been a place where people have found strength and renewal of their faith”. Even more people joined when I said, “If this has been a place where you have connected with God, maybe even for the first time in a profound way, make sure you stand up. If your marriage has been strengthened, if this has been a place of healing, if this has been a place of reconciliation, if this has been a place of recovery.” Many people stood up.

“If this has been a place where you have found meaning in your life and direction for who you are, stand up,” and by then everybody had stood up, and we just marveled at that for a few moments. That maybe in ways we hadn’t thought before, surely God was in this place, even if we hadn’t recognized it at the time. Surely, this was the place of meeting. This was the place that had become the gateway to heaven. I mentioned that, and I bring it up today because of two things.

One being that it is one thing to see these stories and to see them as stories with biblical characters, but it is another thing to see these stories and note that these are our stories as well. To be able to connect our story to the great story of God. That becomes pretty powerful.

It becomes transformational, though, when we take it the next step. When we take a passage like this and we talk about where God has been. We’re used to talking about where God has been, when we’re celebrating and it’s the good stuff, the joyous occasions, the anniversaries. It is easy to see where God has been in our life when we’re standing at the edge of a sunset at the beach, or with a child, or listening to a baby laugh or in great fellowship. We’re used to talking about and noticing God in those places. But what about when we’re in between a rock and a hard place? What about not when we’ve arrived at our destination that we want to get to, but in the midst of it, when we are literally in-between where we have been and where we are yet to go? And it’s in that place that we begin to recognize God.

Wow, life changes. Because even in that place, even in this place, it becomes holy ground, and we begin to see our story in a whole different way. I’m going to pause there and I’m going to invite you in the next few moments to ponder some of the same questions. Where have you seen God, in the last year, on that journey from where we all took off a year ago to who knows where that’s going to be? And in this last year, where have you found solace and strength and meaning? Where have you found recovery? Where have you found encouragement and strength from one another? Where have you helped and found healing and new insights, new meaning? Take a few moments, reflect on that in this sacred space, this holy ground, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Pastoral Prayer

Click here or below to hear this prayer by Rev. Jan Reynolds

Holy and Gracious God,

On this day we give thanks again for the life of Rev. Rich Gantenbein– pastor, community leader, friend, husband and father. We know that the bright, energetic light of Rich has joined your great light, and that gives us joy.

We give thanks for Rich’s many gifts, his tireless energy, his enacted love. We are grateful for how Rich saw God calling out the gifts of others and how Rich would nudge us (sometimes coerced us out of love) to claim our vocations. We are grateful for his humor, his insightfulness, his self-honesty and self-revelation. We honor his gifts to the recovery community and his sharing 12-step wisdom with us all. We acknowledge his creativity in leading worship at St. Andrew.

We are grateful for Rich’s passion in service to our Sonoma community and to people in far reaches of the world. As we remember Rich’s fearless, expansive, inclusive and unconditional love, we ask that You place these seeds in us as well, so that we will spread them far and wide.

Today we pray for healing and comfort, and we pray that we may wake up to the presence of your Spirit right where we are. We are grateful for the hope that you give us today as we gather in separate places but, nevertheless, in unity.

O God, today we pray for Peace and Acceptance. Dear Father, there is a season and time for everything in this world. You have given us the opportunity to accept our loss of Rich over time and we’re still working on that. And yet, in time, we know that everything works out together for good. Let us remember these lessons as we weather through this current challenge of Sheltering In Place. May we lay down our need to be in control, because everything is in your hands, Lord.

God of All Comfort, this time in world history is tough for us. But we worship you in the face of difficulty and praise you for your many gifts. Let it be known that your grace shines upon each individual and family in this congregation, on our larger community, on all first responders and health providers, all those who continue to bring essential services to us. And we know, that your presence and your grace shines on everyone, everywhere, in this world.

May we remember that we commit our lives and our service to you. We pray this trusting that in your time, all will be well.

In Christ’s Name, we pray…

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.

Moment for Reflection

 “Jesus Loves Me” Click here or below to enjoy this song

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

Children from the Tinder and Green families enjoy their Children’s Ministry “Lent in a Box” activities!


Sermon – Part 2

The God Who Is Here
Genesis 28: 10-17
Rev. Russell Kane

Click here or below to watch video or read below
(Slightly edited from the transcription for readability): 

Surely the Lord is in this place, and I didn’t know it. I hope in the last few moments you were able to reflect back on some of those places in your life, those places where God’s presence was made very real, and you were convinced or you had a clue that you were known, you were loved, that God would be with you, and it has changed your life. Most people, even if it’s not in the last year, most of us have those places. Most couples have a favorite song that they hear, and it brings them back to that place or a favorite restaurant. Most of us have those places on this earth where God became real in a special way. Sometimes it’s in a church, sometimes it’s at a camp, sometimes it’s in a place that’s completely private and known only to our own soul and to God, but those become the holy ground places of our lives.

Once we have recognized those places though, then we have a choice to make. The choice becomes this, that we can do like Jacob did because the first thing that Jacob did in this story was he woke up and he recognized, “Oh my goodness, the Lord’s been in this place. I didn’t know it,” and he takes that stone that he’d been lying on and he pours oil on it and he creates a shrine. He calls it Bethel, the house of God. He says, “This is the place where God lives.” We have that temptation, don’t we? We want to take those experiences, we want to take those places, those people in our lives who have been special to us, and we want to enshrine them. And we go back to them, whenever we want to get in touch with God again, we go back to those places, those people, those experiences as if that’s the place, and the issue is the place.

But the issue isn’t the place. The issue is the God who used that place. This is the doorway, this is the gateway to heaven. When we take those things and we recognize, we have done the first half of the work. But the second half is to not make them shrines, become objects and ends in themselves, but to let them be the doorways into the divine, into the sacred, into a realm that we weren’t aware of, that the real issue isn’t the place. It’s the God who used that place, and then that the real journey in our life, regardless of where we think we are going, that the real journey is from here on out, how will we recognize God’s presence wherever we go, and how will we respond?

That’s more than just for this story, and that’s more than just for this day. I have come to believe that this is maybe the key issue for anyone who has one of those times and experiences, one of those sacred holy ground experiences. In almost 40 years of ministry, I’ve come to believe it, I’ve come to see that there is, in broad strokes to be sure, but I think accurately so, that there becomes a real choice. It becomes a fork in the road kind of experience, and we will either take those experiences that we have had, and we will either use those to make our world smaller or larger. We make it smaller when we enshrine those events and by saying, “God was in this place,” in other words, but God was therefore not in all the other places. God was in this person, God was in this experience, and we have not only made a shrine out of those things, but then we have diminished all the others, and I think that’s the exact opposite of the intent.

When we choose to broaden them, what we are saying is, “This is a doorway into the divine, into a world that I wasn’t even aware was there, into an experience. In this place, I know that I am known, I am loved. I have an identity that has changed me.” And therefore it becomes a doorway into where else might God be. Because if God could be even in this rock in the middle of nowhere, where else couldn’t God be? And as we go down that path, then the world gets bigger because God gets bigger. God’s presence gets bigger, we get bigger. At the end of the day, and again, I know this is broad strokes, but at the end of the day, I believe we get to this point when our world becomes smaller and more brittle and more fragile, fewer and fewer places somehow become those touchstone places, so that God and the sacred is either nowhere or it’s everywhere.

Again, the sacred is either nowhere, just a few spaces, it’s in this place, this doctrine, this Bible, this church, this person, and it gets smaller and smaller, so that becomes to the end of nowhere, or it becomes everywhere. All places, all people, all experiences become the potential where we begin to recognize and respond to the presence of God. That, I believe is the central issue. I believe that’s the central issue for us this day.

We have in common, St. Andrew, some common experiences, some common touchpoints. We’re here today to celebrate how the life and the ministry of Rich Gantenbein touched us, that we recognize God’s presence in that person and the way he did his life. In this last year, we share the common experience of the loss of him and the grief, but the last thing that Rich would want is to make him the issue. To somehow enshrine him, to somehow say that, “This is the place where we have to go to because this is where God has been,” rather than, “This is the doorway that opens up to where we might experience God in the future, to where God is yet to be.” That’s the choice that we have going from here, you and me.

Listen, may the God of Jacob continue to surprise us, continue to open our eyes, continue to be with us not only in the high places, the places of joy and happiness, but also remind us in the low places, even the godforsaken places. May we experience God there because if we experience God there, where won’t we experience God, and where will God not be? As you go from here, may we live our lives together in such a way that we become Bethel, we become the living residences of God so that as we go from here and in the weeks and the months in the years to follow, we live in such a way with such an awareness, in such an expectation and anticipation that as people cross our paths, they would have the experience that makes them go, “Wow, the Lord was in this place. I didn’t know it, but because of this people, I know that I am known by God. I know that I am loved. I know that this God is with me in ways that I would never have thought possible.” And as we go from here, then we become the living residences of the living God, and we become the people who make a difference.

It has been good to be with you. I want to close with the benediction that we use at our place. It’s right out of the book of Romans, and it seems especially appropriate on a day like today: People of St. Andrew, may the God of hope, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and all peace. In believing, may you abound with hope, by the power of the Holy spirit now and forever. Amen. Go in peace…

Blessing and Prayer for Rev. Rich Gantenbein

By Rabbi Steve Finley, Congregation Shir Shalom

Click here or below to listen or read below… 

Shalom. This is Rabbi Steve Finley of Congregation Shir Shalom here in Sonoma. I want to sincerely thank you all for including me in this remembrance ceremony for our dear, dear friend, Rich Gantenbein.

So back in 2014 my first year in Sonoma, I came to St. Andrew who was the host of that year’s interfaith Thanksgiving morning worship service. And as new kid on the clergy block, I was given the task on Rich’s insistence to give the main sermon. And because of my deep friendship with Rich that grew over the ensuing years, and largely because of the warmth and love and welcoming spirit of St. Andrew, I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to return on many occasions. So on behalf of the Jewish community here in Sonoma, I would like to extend how incredibly grateful we are to have this relationship with St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, a relationship that was begun by Rich.

I’d like to recite a prayer we call the Mourner’s Kaddish, words that those grieving over the loss of a loved one say at various times, and certainly at the one-year anniversary. But unlike all of our other prayers, this particular Holy text is recited in Aramaic, which among many other things was the language that Jesus spoke.

God, full of compassion, you dwell in the heights and in the depths, continue to grant perfect rest under the wings of your presence to Rich Gantenbein, our loved one who has entered eternity. Let him continue to find refuge forever in the shadow of your wings, and let his soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life. For you, the everlasting God, are his inheritance. May he continue to rest in peace. And let us all say Amen.

Closing Song

“Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaumwe close with one of Rich’s favorite songs (and crank up the volume):
Click here or below to enjoy this song


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