Welcome to St. Andrew

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In addition to this Virtual Worship Service, you are invited to join us on Zoom for the
All Church Coffee Hour
Sunday, July 12 – 10:00am – 11:00am
It will be a time for Check-in, Prayers, and getting better acquainted in Small Group Conversation.
We hope you’ll join us – Bring a church friend!

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

SUNDAY – JULY 12, 2020

“Beyond Broadway”


Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, July 12, 2020

Many thanks to Ron Moser (production and artistic touches), Amy Cox (production, formatting and posting), Caryn Prince (song selections), Jan Reynolds (song selections, prayer and artistic touches), Rev. Bob Conover (scripture reading and sermon), Tracy Walthard, Kelsey Walthard and Dawne Carver (teachings for children and youth).

Praise Song

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty, words by Reginald Heber, music by John Bacchus Dykes – performed by First Baptist Dallas Choir & Orchestra

Discovery Time & Sunday School

Click the arrow to watch Tracy Walthard present Discovery Time:

Our Sunday School Lessons for today are as follows:

Preschool Memory verse: “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” John 20:31

Grades K-5 Memory verse: “God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift.” Ephesians 2:8

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

Message for Youth

Today I started my day like any other day. I woke up, made coffee, made the bed and started to go through my “To Do List”. I checked the weather, emails/texts and Facebook. That’s when the world collides with my day. The weather looks great. No emergencies that came through in email or texts. So far, so good! Facebook posted a memory of last year’s Caravan send off. This triggered a few emotions. Some sad, that we are not headed to Portland, Oregon for Caravan right now and some of awe, at how much has changed in a year. Plus, I chuckled at me being in a boot and not able to drive because of a broken ankle! The roller coaster ride has started.

The ride happens every day. My job is navigating through the twists and turns of the ride. Sometimes I’m holding on for dear life, trying to breathe. Sometimes my hands are in the air and I’m laughing til my sides hurt. At times, the ride is calm and peaceful. At times, filled with great expectations. Can anyone relate?

This morning, the ride became overwhelming and I felt like I was flying off the rails. I was going down hard and fast. What do I do in that moment of high anxiety and trying to breathe? I reach out and seek God and His promises.

Here is where God led me, today:
I am 100% dependent on God. I always have and I always will be, whether I acknowledge it or not. So instead of depending on my emotions (which, let’s face it, are unpredictable and not always fun), I depend on facts. Fact #1: God loves you and me. Fact #2: Struggles and disappointments in life are real. We are guaranteed to have them. Fact #3: We don’t have to do it alone. “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the fire will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2. Jesus tells us in John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, for I have overcome the world.” So, even in trials, I am not alone and I may have peace in God! That gives me strength!

Now that I’m strengthened in His promises, I need to take a moment to be still, to breathe in God and breathe out worry, anxiety and/or fear. Sometimes this takes more than a moment. It’s always good to be still with God each day. This will allow us to feel His guiding presence in the good and bad.

The next step is to act, to do something positive. Sometimes it’s to make plans for the future. Sometimes it’s reaching out to a friend or doing a job. Sometimes it’s planting seeds or sending out a note to someone. It might be to knit, build or clean something. It’s all about changing perspective and doing something positive. To be a person of hope and to be used by God for His glory. To show up and do the next right thing.

And that’s how I get through the overwhelming part of the ride. It’s not always easy or fun being on the roller coaster. Yet with God, the ride can be exhilarating in the highs of life, and not so overwhelming in the lows of life. I am not alone and neither are you! God is always with us throughout it all. May God’s peace be with you today and always.
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.
Click on the image below to submit a prayer request.

Pastoral Prayer

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)


Listen to Rev. Jan Reynolds lead us in this morning’s prayer by clicking on the arrow below:

Gracious God,

We praise You for Your provision, and for propelling us into our callings by unveiling our strengths. Help us to listen, learn, and seek You in all we do, for we desire to steward our gifts well.

Every good gift comes from You. Let us look through Your perspective of love. All good things we do flow from You and Your Love.

Today, we pray in gratitude for the many creative ways artists, actors, dancers, and singers have shared their God-given, life-giving gifts to lift our spirits and encourage social change.

We pray for all people, world-wide, who have found lock-down hard, life and health difficult; for those who mourn, despair, and suffer. We pray for those we know and name in the silence of our hearts.

We pray for those for whom there are challenging changes to life and work. We pray in gratitude for the vast networks of support, from foodbanks to care assistants, that their burdens be as light as possible.

We pray for our world’s children and teenagers with changes they are facing to their learning and socializing in schools and universities.

We pray for all in the world affected by earthquake and storm, wildfire, drought, and flood. We pray for our environment; grant us the will to care for your entire ecosystem.

We give thanks for all we have rediscovered anew this year:
the beauty of silence and bird song;
the letting go of busy, over-committed lives;
the time to savor in many ways the gifts of word, speech, song and friendship;
the time to be in your world as your house.

Creative God, hear us now as we pray from our incarnate place here in Your world:

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

Be Still My Soul (In You I Rest), by Kari Jobe

Faith Offering

We thank you, Lord, for the marvelous display of your love for us through all your many gifts.

A time-exposure photo of the Milky Way


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

Scripture Reading

Click the arrow below to hear Rev. Bob Conover read this morning’s scripture
or read the Scripture below

Psalm 8 and Galatians 3:27

Good morning, St. Andrew. It is good to be with you, even though we’re not really together.

There are two lessons for this morning. The first is from Psalm 8. Hear now, the Word of God:

Psalm 8
O Lord, our Sovereign,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
  Out of the mouths of babes and infants
    you have founded a bulwark because of your foes
    to silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
   the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
  mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
   and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
  you have put all things under their feet,
   all sheep and oxen,
   and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
  whatever passes along the paths of the seas
O Lord, our Sovereign,
  how majestic is your name in all the earth! 

Our second reading is just one sentence long. It’s from Galatians chapter 3, verse 27:

Galatians 3:27
As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

May God bless to us this reading, from God’s Holy Word. Amen.

Sermon

“Beyond Broadway”

Psalm 8 and Galatians 3:27
Rev. Robert E. Conover

Click the arrow below to see and hear Rev. Bob Conover’s Sermon
or read the Sermon below

Good morning again, St. Andrew, if you didn’t hear me say good morning to you when I read the lessons. Jan Reynolds contacted me recently and let me know what the sermon theme was that you all had been working with – Broadway Gospels. You have considered different Broadway plays, or will be in the future, and seeing how the Gospel can come to life out of those stories.

Well, when she told me about doing this, I thought, “Well, that’s intriguing,” but I had no idea in the world what play I might use. So then on the 4th of July, just a week ago, I was reading the New York Times and there was an article entitled Beyond Broadway: The Show Goes On. Now, I don’t know if I would have even read that article, had it not been for what you all are doing for your preaching theme. But it intrigued me, and I read through it and I thought, “Sure enough, there’s the theme: Beyond Broadway: The Show Goes On.”

It began telling about how theater groups are continuing to perform. For instance, cars coming into a parking lot and people watching in a drive thru. They’re in their cars while using their mobile phones to hear the actors speak. Or plexiglass in a small theater. Plexiglass placed between the seats and then filling the theater to just a quarter capacity. And many of the performances are done outside, where we know it’s safer. One on a basketball court, and instead of changing the set around as we would normally do on a stage of a theater, they have the various scenes set up around the basketball court. So instead of moving furniture, the actors move to other places on the court. Of course, you can imagine there are many masks and many gloves and a lot of testing for temperatures.

One thing that was shared was when the play calls for the actors to dance, they do so back-to-back. It reminds me; with our granddaughters, we have now what we call backwards hugs. Cathy and I get down on our knees, because our granddaughters are not very tall. And then we give each other hugs back-to-back. Well, the actors had that all figured out. Or what I liked was Cinderella. At the end of the story, when Cinderella and the prince are just about to live happily ever after, they share an elbow bump instead of a kiss. So a lot of creativity, a lot of imagination, and a lot of care. A lot of care for the actors themselves, and a lot of care for the audiences who are watching. That’s God at work.

Now, we speak a lot about caring for each other and caring for ourselves. Love your neighbor as you love yourself, just a central theme of the church. And we do that pretty well, or at least we try. We’re not perfect, but it’s something that we consider central to who we are as a people, and St. Andrew does it well. At least as well as any, and better than many. We don’t often speak quite as readily, it’s not quite so much in the forefront of our minds, about what we are all about. It’s this idea of imagination and creativity, and you’ve heard me speak of this before. But two things that are simply central to the nature of God and therefore seeing God in the world: our imagination and creativity, and caring. Caring for ourselves, caring for one another. And these are two things that we see as these theater groups and actors are seeking to engage the world in which we are living right now.

When we read Psalm 8: “Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!” And it goes on to tell how God has hung the stars and then created us just a little lower than God and given us incredible responsibility, incredible stewardship responsibility. And then we read in that brief passage in Galatians, just that single sentence: “For those of us who are baptized in Christ, we have put on Christ.” And it’s not just the idea of putting on clothes, but it is the idea of putting on Christ’s likeness, just as in Genesis it says we all, all humankind, are created in the image of God. In some ways, you can say that we, in the Christian community, have a double dose. Not only are we created in the image of God, but we are called to put on the very likeness of Christ. And we do so in our baptism, in our birth into Christ’s church.

In our tradition, we call what we do with the water and often a baby, but sometimes an adult, we call that baptism. In other traditions, it’s called christening. Now, christening is part of our tradition, as well. We don’t call so much attention to it, and sometimes it isn’t widely practiced, but it’s there. And if you look in The Presbyterian Book of Common Worship, you have one in the back of your church sanctuary, it’s just we can’t get in there right now, you will see that part of our baptism tradition and ceremony ritual is that after the water bath, then we anoint with oil, making the sign of the cross on the forehead of the person who has been baptized. And that can be called christening, anointing. The word Christ simply means “The Anointed One”, and so in our baptism, we are anointed, as well. We, too, are “The Anointed Ones”. It is the christening. It is the Christ-ening. It is the very same as what is said in Galatians, about in our baptism, we are putting on Christ.

So how do we see the Gospel in this Beyond Broadway? The very nature of God and the core nature that God has created us in God’s image, in our anointed-ness, our Christ-ness, is twofold. One has to do with the creative and imagining efforts, the work that brings so much delight and capacity into the human community, as we are called to live in and care for this world.

The second is this whole notion of caring, which is not just about kindness. It’s certainly about kindness, but it is also very much about the work of social justice. So what does this have to say to us today? One of the actors said that, “If we can do this safely, then maybe others can learn from us to do it safely, too.” That’s a message for the church. The world longs to see a better way. The people of this country long to see a better way, and as we are in the midst of this pandemic, perhaps the church can help show the way forward so others can see it and then move forward, too.

Of course, we know the tensions we are in nationally and internationally, between the virus on the one hand and the dangers of it; and our economic situation, as well. Both are important to human beings. We need to care for those who are ill and do all those things to help prevent that illness from occurring, and we know the struggles that so many are facing. We heard just this week, particularly in New York City, how individuals who are out of work and unable to pay their rent are now being evicted.

We have to find ways that are going to require imagination and creativity, and at the very same time, care for ourselves and for one another. When we see that happening in the world, Beyond Broadway, we see God at work. When we see the church displaying those qualities and actively living them out, we provide a witness, a model for all the world to see how they, too, can be on the receiving end of the wonderfulness, the wholeness, the very gift of living in God.

You know, when Jan told me about doing Broadway Gospel, I didn’t know what to think. Well, that’s because Jan and St. Andrew have far more imagination and creativity than I do, but we can live Beyond Broadway. We have others, sometimes others we aren’t expecting, showing us the way of the Gospel, of imagination and creativity, and care. Care for ourselves; equal care for one another. We live in such a polarized society today. It’s not polar opposites, it’s both/and. The Gospel shows us this, and some wonderful actors and playwrights have showed us, as well.

God bless you, St. Andrew. I look forward to the day when we can be together face to face. Amen.

Closing Song

“Raise a Hallelujah” – by Jonathan David Helser and Melissa Helser, Performed by Bethel Music

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