Welcome to St. Andrew

St. Andrew Presbyterian Church
Pastoral Nominating Committee (PNC) and Session
Invite you to view and attend

A recorded worship service featuring the PNC’s Candidate for Pastor (presented on this webpage)

and

Live Congregational Meeting
October 11, 2020 – 10:00 am by Zoom
Moderated by Ariel Mink, Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of the Redwoods

All Members and Friends of St. Andrew are welcome to attend this important milestone meeting in the life of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church.

A link to both will be emailed on Saturday morning, October 10 to St. Andrew members and early Sunday morning to all members and friends.

The purpose of the congregational meeting:
• Your elected Pastor Nominating Committee will present their report and nominate their candidate for Pastor of St. Andrew
• Q & A with PNC
• Members of St. Andrew will vote to receive the Candidate and approve the Pastor’s Terms of Call
• Vote to dissolve the PNC with our thanks.

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

SUNDAY – OCTOBER 11, 2020

“Living Together in Unity”
Rev. Nicole Trotter

Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, October 11, 2020
Many thanks for technical assistance / contributions from Ron Moser, Amy Cox, Rev. Nicole Trotter, Tracy Walthard, Kelsey Walthard, and Dawne Carver.

Call to Worship

“A Celebration of Grace”, Written by Phuc Luu

Opening Song

“Amazing Grace”, by John Newton – 50 Countries Affected by COVID-19 Sing Amazing Grace – Produced by The Normal Christian Life

Discovery Time & Sunday School

Click the arrow to watch Tracy Walthard present Discovery Time:

Our Sunday School Lessons for today are as follows:

PRESCHOOL LESSON:

Preschool Memory Verse for October: “God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Click the arrow below to watch the Sunday School video for our Preschool children for Sunday, October 11th:

Preschool Bottom Line for the week of October 11th:

GRADES K-5 LESSON:

Grades K-5 Memory Verse for October: “Anyone who lives without blame walks safely. But anyone who takes a crooked path will get caught.” Proverbs 10:9

Click the arrow below to watch the Sunday School video for our Kindergarten – 5th Grade children for Sunday, October 11th:

Grades K-5 Bottom Line for the week of October 11th:

Message for Youth

“Love Them Anyway – 1 Peter 4:8”

This is a slogan on a shirt that popped up on Facebook. It can be taken in so many directions and in this divisive time we live in, so important to do. Love them anyway. Even if they hurt you. Even if they anger you. Even if they betray you. Love them anyway. Even if you don’t agree with them. Even if they make choices you don’t agree with. Even if you don’t understand. I’m sure you have you own “Even if ___.” Love them anyway. That’s not easy. It takes hard work and a mental shift away from you, to them. It’s not saying you have to agree and do what they are doing. It just means to love them.

1 Peter 4:8 “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other for love covers a multitude of sins.” My interpretation is that when we show deep love, we stay connected with one another. In our world today, it’s so easy to shut down and not engage. It’s easy to get lost in our day to day lives and ignore what we don’t like or understand. Easy, yet not what God wants for us. God wants us to be connected with others, to be in relationship with people and with Him. God wants us to love others as He loves us.

I see God saying this slogan about me. Love Dawne Anyway. Even when she gets angry. Even when she doesn’t follow through on an assignment. Even when she ignores someone in need. Love her anyway. And God does! Who in your life do you need to “love anyway”? Put their name in that slogan. Ask God to bless them, to open your heart and mind to love them anyway. It won’t always be easy. It won’t always make sense. But it will bring you healing and God’s peace.
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.

Prayer

Click the arrow below to hear Rev. Nicole Trotter offer this morning’s Prayer or read the prayer below

Gracious God, the psalmist tells us, the unity of your people is like the finest oil used to ordain a high priest. Help us then, to reach high in our hopes and pray with the finest of who we are- for unity in this world, this country, our church and our lives.

For the world- In the spirit of Your never-ending grace and mercy we pray that nations will be humbled by this virus, refusing to let differences get in the way of sharing resources and finding a cure.

For our country- We pray that people put aside political differences, placing the needs of those most vulnerable ahead of their own, embracing empathy and safety over the need to make a statement.

For the church- We humbly ask for Your blessing on us, the community of Your people, as we embrace the differences among us through Your love which unites us.

And finally, For ourselves- If we are to have peace, like the old folk song sings, let it begin with me.

We know we too often get it wrong, raising our voices, reacting with impatience and feeding into the division by needing to be right. Through Your son Jesus Christ, we were given the example of what love looks like in the face of adversity. Give us the strength to persevere, to trust and to live out this truth: that we are called to love You and others with the same love You have shown all of us.

Grant us courage, grant us wisdom, grant us peace, moment by moment, one step at a time as we journey together through these days, united in Your love.

And let us join our voices together, praying the prayer that Jesus taught us…

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

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 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

Psalm 133
The Blessedness of Unity
A Song of Ascents.

1 How very good and pleasant it is
  when kindred live together in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil on the head,
  running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
  running down over the collar of his robes.
3 It is like the dew of Hermon,
  which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing,
  life forevermore.

Luke 13:18-19 – New Revised Standard Version
The Parable of the Mustard Seed

18 He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? 19 It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

Sermon

“Living Together in Unity – One and Not the Same”

Psalm 133

Luke 13: 18,19

Rev. Nicole Trotter

Click the arrow below to see and hear Rev. Nicole Trotter’s Sermon or read the Sermon below

How very good and pleasant it is when kin live together in unity. (Psalm 133, vs1)

Unity is a tall concept, and this psalm reads like poetry, painting a picture of what life will look like… when….in the new testament we refer to the kingdom, a kingdom that is both already here, but not yet fully realized as long as there is suffering, oppression and inequality. And, our mission is to help repair what is broken in the world.

One of the ways we have traditionally done that is by thinking of ourselves as one, in Christ Jesus. “no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free” but that concept, while true on one level, can also be hurtful on another.

I was reminded of this in watching Robin DiAngelo’s video,
Deconstructing White Privilege. The idea of unity, that we’re all one, often gets translated as we’re all the same. And in so many ways that’s true, we all experience emotions, our DNA is 99.9 percent the same, and spiritually we think of everyone as a child of God, loved equally. But as DiAngelo reminds us, that doesn’t mean we all have the same experience in the world. So to say to a Black person, “I don’t see color because we’re all the same”, is like saying, “your experience of inequality shouldn’t matter.” It negates the unique experience of Black people and the reality of systemic racism that makes people’s experiences anything but the same.

Now, there was a time that the concept of sameness was held up, and even needed. I was reminded of this when sitting with a friend in her 80’s who reminded me of a famous line in the 1967 movie, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. If you remember that movie, you know that it’s about a Black man named John Prentice, played by Sydney Poitier, who comes to his fiancés house, a white woman. What’s important to remember about this movie is that interracial marriage was illegal in 17 states just 6 months before the movie came out. 

There’s a moment in the movie when John Prentice’s father disapproves of the marriage and is urging his son not to go through with it. The discussion gets heated…and…Poitier eventually says…”Dad you’re my father, I always have and I always will love you, but you think of yourself as a colored man, I think of myself as a man.”

In the context of that movie, at a time when Black and white people were fighting for the right to marry one another, that idea of sameness was helpful. But it hasn’t aged well, because the world is not what it was 50 years ago. We’ve grown in our consciousness and awareness and what we’re witnessing today in our history, is a kind of uncovering of what has been an insidious racism played out in systems that affect the lives of our kin.

And the BLM movement is not the only place we see this uncovering. “Uncovering”, by the way, is the meaning of the Greek word, apocalypse. Uncovering opens our eyes to all kinds of problems; that have long been covered up or hidden from our awareness. We see gender inequality uncovered with MeToo, Covid is uncovering inequity in healthcare and education, just to name a few. I’m not asking that you agree with every aspect of every movement. No movement is perfect, and often the pendulum will swing too far in the other direction, and at times, it causes further division through unnecessary violence and rhetoric.… but as our awareness of the fundamental problems grow, we can also tend to them, and find new ways of living that ultimately unites us. Unites us in purpose. 

I don’t have any illusions that we will all have the same way of going about repairing what is broken in the world. We will continue to argue about policy, we’ll vote differently, hold different ideological understandings…so how do we respect our individualism, embracing our differences, but also recognize that God calls us to create a world where kin live in unity?

Unity, the psalmist writes, It’s like the finest oil used at ordination of a High Priest…it’s like the dew on Zion, the place where God dwells and enters into covenant with God’s people…covenants are like agreements, unions, where each party agrees, promises to do their part, our love for God, and God’s love for all of us.

As Christians we enter into that covenant at baptism, claimed and loved by God as God’s own. That expands when we enter into a life in the community, and again at our own ordination should we choose to be an elder or a deacon, each step carries the weight of love, a life lived out in practice, by loving God and others….the two are interchangeable, unified as one practice….But it’s easier said than done, especially when the other person you’re trying to love is someone you don’t like, don’t agree with, want to change, or can barely stand to be next to.

Jane Goodall, do you remember her? Goodall is the lovely English woman who became known for her 60 years of studying chimpanzees in Tanzania. She recently sat down in conversation with Krista Tippet for the podcast On Being. Goodall was ahead of her time, entering a male dominated field in her 20’s, doing graduate work at Cambridge without an undergraduate degree.

Over time, she received all kinds of criticism from scientists because of her unscientific approach. She was naming her subjects, instead of numbering them. She talked about the chimps’ personalities, observed that their minds were capable of problem-solving, and an emotional life. Up until then, science believed that those abilities were reserved for only humans. But as Goodall pointed out, all she had to do was remember her childhood dog, Rusty, to know that wasn’t true. Goodall saw what so many of us see as children, that we are part of, not separate from, the rest of the animal kingdom or creation itself.

Goodall reminds us that the Buddhists understand this idea of interconnectivity, the indigenous people understand too, but our western understanding of creation makes its mistake at the beginning, when we misinterpret the idea of humans as being separate from the rest of creation, given dominion or power over, rather than understanding the role as stewards, called to care for, not to rule over. 

Science insisted on objectivity, Goodall made her discoveries through empathy….empathy lived at the core of her work, and it lives at the core of ours- as kin who are called by God in covenant to live together in unity.

~~~~~
Empathy, like love, is a practice. Some of us carry that ability from the beginning, others of us have to work a little harder at it. The practice of empathy begins with curiosity, the desire to ask questions, what must it be like to be you, to be them, to be the other, the one I don’t agree with, don’t understand, don’t always like? If my promise to God is to love God and to love others, how do I do that in practice? Can I let go of the need to be right, in exchange for finding a place we meet, connect and love, despite, and even because of, our differences? I say because of our differences, because the church at its best is not made up of like minded people, seeing everything the same, but people who know how to love, as Christ himself loved, unified in our purpose, but diverse in our approach.

Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber tells the wonderful story of her congregation, which at one time she proudly called weird. She had many LGBTQ folks, but as the congregation began to grow, she was witnessing “normal” suburban folks who were messing up the weird she worked so hard to grow. When she reached out to a colleague he said, “well you guys are really great at welcoming the stranger if it’s a young transgender kid, but sometimes the stranger looks like your mum and dad.” This was confirmed later when one of those transgender kids said to Bolz-Weber…

“As the young transgender kid who was welcomed into your community, I’d just like to say that I’m really glad there are people here who look like my mom and dad because they love me in a way my parents can’t right now.”

That’s our call as the church, to provide love for the “other”, the stranger, the one who is not us, who we can only imagine being, the one we don’t fully understand, the ones whose shoes we haven’t walked in.

Later, in that same podcast with Jane Goodall, Goodall tells the story of herself as a 4-1/2 year old…who even then was curious and determined….she wanted to understand how a hen laid an egg and in her 4-1/2 year old world, entered into a hen house on a property where her family was vacationing….she waited there for 4 hours, and by the time she returned her mother was so worried sick, she had called the police. 

Goodall’s mother had a choice in that moment…she could have, with righteous indignation and complete justification, scolded her daughter for having run off ….but instead as Goodall describes it,

But when she saw me rushing towards the house, she saw my shining eyes and sat down to hear the wonderful story of how a hen lays an egg.

Goodall recounts that story to illustrate the making of a scientist and credits her mother for nurturing qualities like curiosity;

But when I heard the story, I heard something else. I heard the kind of love God calls on us all to express. Despite all our righteous indignation, despite all the ways we want to correct the other, and list all the reasons why they’re wrong, we’re called, like Christ, to see the eyes of the other, as our own. Our self, our child’s, our kin.

If we imagine the voice of God, like that of a loving mother or father in that story, we might hear something like this…”Tell me, my child, what did you see? What did you discover? What kept you from me for so long? Welcome home, let me love you, the only way I know how, which is to forget what you did wrong, and embrace instead who you are now, with this new discovery inside of you.”

Can you imagine entering into conversation with the “other” that way, especially when you’re angry, in the right, wanting to change them, make your point, and point out to them just how wrong they are? Maybe that’s too tall an order. We’re only human.

But maybe, as in Luke’s Gospel “the kingdom is like a seed” and we can start small, like a seed, letting go of the need to be right and replacing it with the need to love…through the questions you can ask, the deep breaths you can take, as we search the ways we can connect through one another’s eyes. Eyes that remind us that we are kin.

If my heart becomes a little more open, a little more sympathetic, slightly more compassionate, somewhat more aware, incrementally more Christ-like (1) —we can grow together into becoming a dwelling place for kin, living together in Unity.

==================================

(1) https://www.christiancentury.org/blogs/archive/2013-11/why-bother-small-things

Closing Song

“United” – by Playing For Change – Song Around the World (c) Kobalt Music Publishing

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