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

St. Andrew Annual Congregational & Corporation Meetings
Sunday, September 13, 10:00 am on Zoom

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

Please join us for our annual Congregational Meeting:

2020-21 Annual Budget

2020 Annual Report Highlights (click here to view the entire Annual Report)

Election of Officers:

  • Deacons: Keith Common, Chantal Jaycox and Mary Ratto
  • Session: Jenny Shipston

Election of the 2020-2021 Nomination Committee

Update from the Pastoral Nominating Committee

Immediately followed by our annual Corporation Meeting:

Election of Officers of the Corporation, Nominated by Session

SUNDAY – SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

Beloved Community: A Vision for Living Together”

Rev. Jan Reynolds

Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, September 13, 2020
Many thanks for technical assistance / contributions from Ron Moser, Amy Cox, Jan Reynolds, Caryn Prince, Tracy Walthard, Kelsey Walthard, Dawne Carver, Dave Haflich and Eileen Haflich.

Praise Song

“Waymaker”, by Michael W. Smith Lyrics | LYRICL

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 September: “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:11

Click the arrow below to watch the Sunday School video for our Preschool children for Sunday, September 13th:

GRADES K-5 LESSON:

Grades K-5 Memory Verse for September: “A friend loves at all times. They are there to help when trouble comes.” Proverbs 17:17

Click the arrow below to watch the Sunday School video for our Kindergarten – 5th Grade children for Sunday, September 13th:

Grades K-5 Bottom Line for the week of September 13:

Message for Youth

“I’m so excited to share!” I absolutely love to start out an email, a text and a conversation with that sentence. It means good news, great news! It usually brings joy, laughter, or at least a smile that brightens our day. It is uplifting and brings hope to our life. It is often an answer to prayer.

Today, I’m excited to share that we, the youth group, get to meet in person at church. We get to sit around a circle in person to share our week, our praises, our prayers and have a message to discuss with each other. We get to have that in person connection that is so healing in the craziness of our lives. I’ve been praying for this, I must admit not patiently, and am so grateful for this opportunity. We will do it according to our county guidelines. We will be safe. And that’s not all I’m excited about…

You get to meet Meredith Lehman. Who is Meredith? She is an answer to my prayer and more. She is joining the St Andrew Youth Ministry Team. She is coming alongside me as I walk life with you all. Here’s just a little information about Meredith. She grew up in Orange County. She’s been riding/working with horses since she was about 5 years old and hopes to pursue equine therapy. She loves nature and being outdoors. She is a recent graduate of UCSB and received her Bachelor of Science in Psychological and Biological Brain Sciences. She is following God’s calling to Sonoma and is excited to share her love of the Lord with you.

This last week, I had someone ask me, “How do I know when God answers our prayers?” That’s such a good question. I shared that we don’t always get our prayers answered right away. That sometimes God has an awesome plan that we need to be patient for. That we don’t see God working out the details, yet He is always working. That in the waiting, it can be difficult to have faith that God is listening to our prayers. Yet He is faithful and trustworthy. Today, I can say that God has answered two of my prayers. And I’m so excited to share that with you! Blessings, Dawne Carver

Moment for Mission

Pedal for Protein 2020!

Click the arrow below to watch Dave and Eileen Haflich share information about Pedal for Protein 2020:

What is Pedal for Protein?
Pedal for Protein (P4P) is a bicycle ride that is organized by The Hunger Task Force of the Presbytery of the Redwoods. One hundred percent of all funds raised help food pantries along the Northern Coast of California to provide protein-rich food such as peanut butter, canned tuna, chicken and milk to families, seniors and children.

This year, in deference to Covid, P4P will be a “Homespin”. What this means is that everyone is encouraged to participate from your home base. Dust off your road bike, mountain bike, or stationary bike and ride! Ride as an individual or ride as a family, every mile counts. We will be collectively accumulating miles ridden during the week of September 21-26. 

As you heard in the video above, in honor of Pastor Rich, Eileen and Dave Haflich have pledged to donate 10 cents for every mile that St Andrew participants ride! Send your cumulative miles to Dave Haflich via the church office at [email protected]

We’re also excited to announce that another St. Andrew family has offered to match all donations raised for Pedal for Protein, “In continuing memories of Pastor Rich”!

We are thankful and amazed at the generosity and goodwill of the families in our congregation! Follow this link to donate electronically to Pedal for Protein:

DONATE HERE!

Or, mail a check to St. Andrew, or drop your envelope into our mail box: 16290 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476. Please write “P4P” on the memo line of your donation check.

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

Click the arrow below to see and hear Rev. Jan offer this morning’s Prayer or read the prayer below

Lord, we want to build your kingdom and not our own. All love starts and flows from you. May we understand that we begin with that, knowing that you love us, support us and urge us on. 

Father, we confess that we let fear control us and determine how we spend our time, money, and energy. We are afraid of controversy, hardship and persecution, and so we act from self-protection to build our own kingdoms. May we experience the deep peace of Jesus, and step into the light when we prefer to cower in darkness.

We learn how to love from your son, Jesus, who gave us the vision of your realm and invited us into loving community. As we encounter your love in the everyday life of our church, may we be further marked by your love and spread it into the world so that your realm may continue to come into being. Give us the courage and the motivation to do your work, bringing love, faith and hope into the world. 

Now, let us pray as 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

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“One Bread, One Body” – John Foley SJ Spirit & Song: Disc K (c) 2013 OCP All Rights Reserved All Selections BMI Released on: 2013-11-15 Music Publisher: OCP

Click the arrow below to listen to this Prayer Song:

Faith Offering

Gratitude for the vocation of The Church

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The Great Ends of the Church
1.   The proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind
2.   The shelter, nurture and spiritual fellowship of the children of God
3.   The maintenance of divine worship
4.   The preservation of the truth
5.   The promotion of social righteousness
6.   The exhibition of the kingdom of heaven to the world
— PCUSA Book of Order 

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

Luke 17:20-21 

Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.

Matthew 13:44-46

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Matthew 13:33 

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

Sermon

Beloved Community: A Vision for Living Together”

Rev. Jan Reynolds

Click the arrow below to see and hear Jan’s Sermon or read the Sermon below

Imagine a world where people listen to one another and are curious about other’s viewpoints, where they repent one’s own shortcomings and forgive others for theirs. 

Imagine a world where all people look for ways to serve the common good, confront hate and evil with love.

Imagine a world where people with passion serve the world, continually energized from within by the Spirit of God.

That’s the Kingdom of God. That’s the Beloved Community.

Through Jesus, God creates a vision of a world where all human beings love one another and thrive.

As Jesus says in Luke 17, the Kingdom of God is among you. Not in some faraway place or after this life, but as a vision for well-being and wholeness right here on earth. The Kingdom of God is aspirational – we know the world isn’t perfect now. But we can participate with God in bringing it into being! In our families, in our church community and Sonoma Valley.

We look at our world right now and we see a scourge of disease, poverty, and spewed hatred amongst political factions. Not that different in some ways from the world in which Jesus and the disciples lived. The world is always with us, Jesus said.

And yet, Jesus paints a picture of God’s kingdom where mature humans live side by side in love, and respect, seeking justice.

The phrases ‘Kingdom of God’, ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and ‘Kingdom of Light’ appear more than 80 times in the New Testament. Matthew uses “Kingdom of Heaven” in the same sense of “Kingdom of God,” being sensitive to the Jews’ desire to not speak aloud the sacred name of God. I think that’s important: Matthew didn’t make fun of the Jews for being sensitive, he walked in their shoes, and went the extra mile to not offend them.

Our scripture lessons today are just a couple examples of Jesus’ sayings and parables referring to God’s realm:

In Matthew 13:44-46,

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Such is the value of the Kingdom of God: it is worth anything to precure it.

Matthew 13:33, 

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

God’s people, we the people, are the yeast that will feed God’s realm of love and light.

Jesus’ entire life, death and resurrection was about demonstrating the Kingdom of God!

The famous theologian, N. T. Wright says in his new book, God and the Pandemic: A Christian Reflectionthat, in the vision of The Kingdom of God, “Jesus was unveiling a different meaning of divine sovereignty!

This is what The Kingdom of God looks like, Jesus was saying, as he healed a leper, or as he announced forgiveness on his own authority to a penitent woman.

“This is what it looks like, he was saying as he celebrated parties with all the wrong people.

“This is what it looks like, he was saying, as he went up to Jerusalem that last time and solemnly announced God’s final judgment on the city, the system, and the institution – the Temple – that had refused God’s way of peace.

“This is what it looks like, he said, as he broke bread on the last night with his friends.

“This is what it looks like, he said, as he hung on the cross, with the words ‘King of the Jews’ above his head.

“This is what it looks like, he was saying three days later to his astonished friends in the upper room.”

God offers us this vision of loving Divine sovereignty because humans are miserable in our pain and suffering on this earth… as we compete with other human beings, as we shun and exclude people different as ourselves, as we refuse to admit our own wrongs. Despite all that, God has deep compassion for our lot, and wants to give us an alternative life! An abundant life in the Spirit! 

Wright says, “God’s kingdom, inaugurated through Jesus, is all about restoring creation the way it was meant to be. God always wanted to work in his world through loyal human beings.”

How magnificent. God not only saves us from ourselves, Jesus puts us to work to bring in the Kingdom, therefore restoring, healing us, and making us whole through our work!

N.T. Wright’s advice to us is to look for “Jesus-shaped messengers” … those among us who reflect the values of Jesus in our midst. Let’s trust the advice from those who act and talk like Jesus – that makes so much sense! We certainly can think of the false prophets who do not sound like Jesus! Surely there are people in this community, in our country and the world who lead in the way of Jesus, whether or not they call themselves Christian. 

The Rev. Martin Luther King was certainly human like the rest of us, but his words resonate today because he is referencing this vision of the Realm of God. Rev. King popularized the notion of the “Beloved Community, a society based on justice, equal opportunity, inclusiveness, and love of one’s fellow human beings. For King, building the Beloved Community requires the even harder work of reconciliation, seeking to be in right relationship, seeking to “transform opponents into friends,” as King implored us to do.

The Christian vocation is a ministry of reconciliation that frees us. It’s the call to invite all into new community where justice is sought, where love and friendship flourish.

Theologian Daniel Migliore in his classic book Faith Seeking Understanding, writes “Independence saturates western culture, but there is a profound hunger for community and companionship. Our purpose as the church is to grow as a community. He says that the church helps each of us as individuals and as Christ’s body to mature through these practices.

When the St. Andrew community identifies as being “not normal,” I’ve felt that this is accurate because you are counter-cultural; it’s just not about comparing yourselves to other churches. You seek to embody the Beloved Community in a world that discriminates, points fingers, makes excuses, and exhibits other petty immature ways of being. St. Andrew’s identity in being “not normal” is about standing with Christ with agape love, a love that is unconditional, although fearless when we call out injustice or inequality. 

As Daniel Migliore’ states, “Jesus shows us a surprising love that welcomes all, makes itself vulnerable, and is shockingly partial toward the weak, the poor and the outcast.” 

Listen for how God may be calling St. Andrew to stretch and grow in these practices of maturing as the Realm of God:

– We become listeners of God’s message in fresh ways, looking for understanding to shed light on our society.
– We mature in prayer, growing in partnership with the Spirit of God.
– We live in freedom from the terror of having to earn God’s favor! God’s freedom doesn’t lead to self-indulgence, but freedom from ideologies that enslave us and others.
– Maturing in regard for all humans, increasingly conscious and sensitive to the needs of others. 
– Increased solidarity with strangers, people commonly considered undesirables, and even enemies. We begin to seek out people who are different than us so we can learn from them.
– Maturing in increased capacity for thankfulness and joy as we grow as disciples.

This vocation of being the church gives us creative Hope! There is clear work to be done beyond our church household! There is hostility to be overcome, justice to be fought for! Our institutions, including our churches are flawed, and yet how wonderful to be in a place where people name the inadequacies of our society and work for God’s kingdom.

After the sermon, there is an inspiring song sung by children, “Together We Can Change the World:”

What if we spoke with one voice

Knowing we have a choice?

We can change the world!

Can’t do it by myself,

So I’m asking for your help:

Together we can change the world.

The voice of these children are also our voices. They have a vision of the Realm of God, of what it might be like when there is no bullying, when there is no fear of separation or harm. 

Working with God to bring in the Realm of God on earth is our job as a church! How wonderful to realize that we have so much to live for in dedicating our lives to this vision! We practice love here, and in our families, so that we learn to love specifically, not in easy generalities. Patience, self-awareness, forgiveness, service, acceptance, inclusivity.

We are very human. And we won’t get it right every time. But God promises to provide for us and to love us no matter what. And we have each other as guides and helpers.

If you feel you’ve been on the sidelines at St. Andrew, come in closer! Meet in a small group for the sake of yourself and others – to get better acquainted and shore one another up during this very challenging time. That is the love found in the Realm of God. Our mission programming is thriving despite sheltering in place; there are many needs: give, serve, contribute your talent! Be ready to welcome your new pastor with your acceptance, support, and spirited enthusiasm for St. Andrew! 

This work is God’s work in this world! As the church, we connect with God, grow in community, and serve the world.

May it be so.

Closing Song

“Together We Can Change the World” – from the children’s musical Letters to Daddy: The Musical Key to Bully-Free. ©2018 – 4eProductions. All Rights Reserved.

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