Welcome to St. Andrew
Scroll Down to Experience This Virtual Worship Service
In addition to this Virtual Worship Service, you are invited to join us on Zoom for the All Church Coffee Hour
Sunday, May 31 – 10:00am* – 11:00am
*Please note that this is one hour earlier than previously!
We invite you to wear red this week in honor of Pentecost!
It will be a time for Check-in, Prayers and Small Group Conversation. 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
“For the Beauty of the Earth”
Welcome to our May worship series, “For the Beauty of the Earth,” where we give thanks for God’s Creation. Particularly during this time, we are aware of God’s many gifts in nature and the elements – and how dependent we are upon them. Each service will feature beautiful scenic images or videos and inspiring music.
5/31 – Pentecost Celebration! – Drama interpretation: arrival of the Holy Spirit with Wind, Fire, Water! Beautiful videos/prayers and sermon by Rev. Jan Reynolds
Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020
Many thanks to Ron Moser (production and artistic touches), Amy Cox (formatting and posting), Dawne Carver, Jennifer Blackwood and Ken Blackwood (Scripture interpretation), Jan Reynolds (song/video selections), Tracy Walthard, Kelsey Walthard and Dawne Carver (teachings for children and youth).
Call to Worship
Click below to watch this beautiful video celebrating Pentecost Sunday:
Click the arrow to watch this Pentecost drama based on our Scripture lessons or read the message below
Acts 1:4-8 and Acts 2:1-21
Featuring Jennifer Blackwood, Ken Blackwood and Dawne Carver
A dramatic reading based on Acts 1:4-8 and Acts 2:1-21
The fire, the wind, the water.
After his suffering, Jesus presented himself alive to the apostles by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father.
“This is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind.
He makes the winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
And anything else that can withstand fire must be put through the fire, and then it will be clean. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived?
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
The fire, the wind, the water.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.
And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.
And they said to one another, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”
Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Germans, Swedes, Palestinians, and residents of Moscow, Geneva and Beijing, Pretoria and Cairo, France and Indonesia, Egypt and Libya. In our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.
All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one anothe “What does this mean?”But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them,
“Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning.
The fire, the wind, the water.
This is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: “In the last days it will be,” God declares, “that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I give will become a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.
The fire, the wind, the water.
All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm.
Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Song of Praise
“Holy Spirit Come Fill This Place”, Written by Cece Winans, performed by Lisa Deaton
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: “Nothing at all can ever separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:39
Grades K-5 Memory verse: Let us not become tired of doing good. At the right time we will gather a crop if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9
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 is Pentecost Sunday. I must admit that when I first read Acts 2:1-13 (many years ago!), I thought it was a bit strange! We are talking about roaring winds and flames or tongues of fire settling on all the believers in the room and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. I always pictured the Holy Spirit as a flickering flame. But the more I learn about the Holy Spirit, the more in awe I am of this amazing gift given to us as believers.
The role of the Holy Spirit is to lead us to the truth of Christ, to guide us to all truth necessary to become mature followers of Christ. Our role or job is to follow. Jesus told his disciples that this would happen. “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he’s heard. He will tell you about the future.” (John 16:13) I can only imagine the disciples’ confusion over that!
Who the Holy Spirit is and how the Spirit guides me has intrigued me for many years. The more I study Him, the more I’m amazed!
This is what I know today:
God gives us gifts through the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)
The Holy Spirit enables us to live lives that are pleasing to God (which is impossible to do on our own) and He makes following Christ a joy instead of a chore! He lives in me! (Romans 8:11; 2 Timothy 1:14). (That’s always a huge concept for me to grasp!)
He leads me to a deeper faith which impacts everything I do. He guides me, strengthens me, convicts me, comforts me and even groans on my behalf when my suffering is so great that I have no words. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Romans 8:26) Wow! That’s a lot of gifts!
How do I know when I’m following the Holy Spirit? Galatians 5:16, 19-26 tells us: “So I say let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealously, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherent the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let is not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”
When I live outside the will of God, I am convicted by the Holy Spirit. When I live inside God’s will, I’m given the gift of peace and joy. I’m not saying it’s easy all the time, but I feel better, act better and am better when I follow His lead! Thank you God for such an amazing gift!
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.
A Prayer for the Church
Listen to this beautiful prayer from Ephesians 3 by clicking on the arrow below:
May we be faithful stewards of what God has given us.
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
Holy Spirit, Close to You
Acts 1:4-8 and Acts 2:1-13
Rev. Jan Reynolds
Click the arrow to experience seeing and hearing Jan
or read the Sermon below
When the disciples were most fearful, Jesus promised them that he would send the Paraclete who would come be with them in his absence.
Paraclete is often said to mean advocate or comforter, but the closest translation is “one who comes alongside.” As you heard in the video and drama this morning, the Holy Spirit is our comforter and guide, but also is sometimes disturbing, energizing, transforming!
This colorful passage in Acts describes the Holy Spirit as earth elements – fire, water and wind! Elemental aspects of God’s creation we depend on for our survival. Yet, we recognize that these very essential elements can shake up our world in frightening ways. Sonoma County residents know only so well what havoc wind and fire can bring, and how a drought can endanger your vineyards and crops.
That morning, when faithful Jews gathered for their annual festival, they experienced the arrival of the Holy Spirit, and everything changes for them. Their own spirits are ignited. Diverse people from all over the land speaking different languages were united in understanding and purpose! We celebrate this day as the birth of the Church.
Jesus’ death and resurrection, of course, are fundamental to our faith. But it is the Holy Spirit of God, sent by the resurrected Christ, that sends everything in motion! While Jesus’ incarnation made God real to us, Christ’s Spirit continues to abide with us, uniting us and moving us to action.
I know Rich used to talk about the Celtic idea of “Thin Places”: moments when the veil between God and Earth feels very thin. I had an experience of such a thin place last Wednesday, a long hot day. At about 8:00 pm I took a solitary walk around my neighborhood. There was something in the air that night. This was a holy moment, a glimpse of God’s Spirit in the rustling of the gentle breeze. Hope making itself known.
moment like this is perhaps what the disciples felt at Pentecost, although more
dramatic! The Spirit of God had never been far away or removed! But
somehow that day, the people of God felt the electricity of God’s presence
What does Pentecost mean for us today in our perhaps even stranger context?
That God’s love and presence is always within each one of us and moving among us.
That the Holy Spirit compels us from indoor seclusion into public proclamation!
That God’s Spirit is poured out widely, across social boundaries.
That again and again, the Holy Spirit mobilizes Jesus’ followers and launches new directions for our ministries.
theologian Matt Skinner writes, “Just like the first disciples, we do not
receive all the answers at once. Step by step, we live into God’s future,
susceptible to error and reliant on others to make sense of God’s
ways. This is choppy work, the inspired work of all God’s People!”
How is the Holy Spirit blowing fresh air into St. Andrew? What if this difficult, restricted period gives us time to rethink what it means to be church for a new age and a new time? What new ways and new people can we connect with, love and serve? What new ways will ignite the souls of others whose hunger for connection has increased during this time?
What if, instead of waiting for our doors to open, we open ourselves to God’s Spirit so that we are not only sustained and comforted, but grow in Spirit and love?
the Pentecost story teaches us, somehow the Holy Spirit magnifies good will and
love. What an amazing thing that this has nothing to do with a building at all!
There are ways to connect beyond church buildings, beyond cities, age groups, racial identities, state and country boundaries. The Spirit is at work and is dynamic and has no borders!
A wonderful illustration of this dynamic Spirit is this video, and many like it, with musicians playing all over the world, together. It took just two days for 1,000 people from 18 different countries around the world to make this collective video of their performance of Close to You by Burt Bacharach.
the disciples at Pentecost, don’t you feel a little tipsy with love after
witnessing this? Any distance between us has been overcome.
The uniting Spirit of God is moving across time and space, igniting fresh life among diverse people who literally speak different languages.
And don’t we feel this love at online graduations and family meetings, and even during the evening news when individuals who have died are remembered in loving terms? These are thin place moments, that happen “virtually” all the time.
We may even want to stop thinking of our online gatherings as “virtual,” which seems to say that these online meetings don’t really matter. They DO matter. Even the word “remote” implies that we are not connected. But we ARE connected!
When our hearts are stretched open by the Holy Spirit, we feel that connection. But more importantly, when we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, our lives cannot be the same.
this church will not be the same. The Spirit of the Living God is
enlivening you and this church, preparing you for new ministry in this County
and the world.
Being together in person is important. Hugs, handshakes, singing, face to face conversation – these are all to be valued and honored and hoped for. St. Andrew has formed a taskforce to plan next steps for building use. We will find safe ways to be in the church building again, for certain. We will continue to plan ways to connect our church family and new friends. In all our decisions and actions, we will remember that our purpose is to serve and love God and neighbor.
Christ sent the Paraclete to come along side us to encourage, equip, strengthen, and even stir us up to love and action. And, yes, to comfort and sustain us so that we can regroup, heal and love generously.
Together, we share this surprising and life-giving grace of the God who will not rest until all people enjoy abundant life.
Especially during this time, may we come alongside each other, alongside our entire country, the whole world, speaking the same language of love, with the Holy Spirit’s wind at our backs!
“Holy Spirit” – Words and music by Francesca Battistelli