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, September 20 – 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 – SEPTEMBER 20, 2020

“Cycling as a Metaphor for Spiritual Growth (In Celebration and Support of Pedal for Protein)”

Rev. Robert Conover

Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, September 20, 2020

Many thanks for technical assistance / contributions from Ron Moser, Amy Cox, Jan Reynolds, Bob Conover, Caryn Prince, Tracy Walthard, Ricky Bolanos, Kelsey Walthard, and Dawne Carver.

Praise Song

“Holy Spirit (You Are Welcome Here)”, by Katie Torwalt and Bryan Wilson – performed by Heavens Mutambira & Amplified Praise

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord

Discovery Time & Sunday School

Click the arrow to watch Ricky Bolanos 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 20th:

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 20th:

Grades K-5 Bottom Line for the week of September 20:

Message for Youth

We did it! I love saying that! It brings me to the end of the movie, Legally Blond, where the character gives a beautifully poised speech as the valedictorian at her Harvard graduation and ends with a squeal of “We did it!”. It is the fist in the air of excitement and accomplishment. And that’s what I felt last Sunday as we met for Sr. High Youth Group!

There were 10 of us who joined together with our masks and social distancing. We spent an hour together. We missed those who couldn’t be there and can’t wait until we see you in person. Here’s a couple of pictures. The masks are covering our smiles, but the smiles are there!

I’m excited to say that we, Sr. High Youth Group, will be meeting again and that Jr. High Youth Group will be meeting today! I’m excited because meeting at church was healing, healthy and uplifting (at least for me!). Youth got the chance to meet Meredith and she got to meet the youth. It felt awesome to have the white board out and write down our praises and prayers. It was good to laugh together.

It feels like we are moving forward through the chaos of life and that God is lifting us up and answering prayers. It’s reminding me that faith is what takes us through the struggles and trials of life. And we need faith! This time reminded me of a few other things, too. We need to reach out to one another and celebrate life, in the big moments and the small moments. We need to help each other carry the burdens that are weighing us down and making us weary. We need to keep connected. God made us to be in community and to be connected. For some of us, that in person connection is happening. Yet for some that time is in the (hopefully not so distant) future.

We will still continue to have our Zoom time and we will continue to text. And I will do this with an extra lift in my soul knowing that God is with us, providing us with more ways to connect, to grow in our faith together and to challenge us to be the best and the most creative that we can be in the mist of the chaos! Thank you, God, for providing us the opportunity to be together, sharing life and growing deeper in you. 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

“Blessing of the Bikes” at First Congregational Church, Memphis for the REVOLUTIONS BICYCLE COOPERATIVE

Click the arrow below to see and hear Ron Moser read this morning’s Prayer or read the prayer below

Holy One,
Thank you, God, for opportunity. Here is a new day, untouched yet by our hands, but held in yours.

We need you, and you have chosen to need us. Even when everything seems closed in and closed down, together we can bring into being some of life’s endless possibilities.

We give back to you this gift of a new day. Today, we hold our lives out to you, vessels for you to fill. In your mercy we ask you to redeem today’s mistakes so that we may reveal to others your life pouring into us.

Bless our bodies, minds and souls so that we may love you with all of ourselves. This day may we dream your dreams, may we reflect your love, may we do your work, may we taste your peace.

In Jesus’ 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

Faith Offering

Gratitude for our opportunities to keep moving…

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

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Pedal for Protein 2020

Click the arrow below to watch a fun video that captures the heart and soul of the Pedal for Protein Campaign:

Click Here to Donate to Pedal for Protein

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

Scripture

Galatians 5:22-23 
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

Sermon

“Cycling as a Metaphor for Spiritual Growth (In Celebration and Support of Pedal for Protein)”

Rev. Robert Conover

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

Good morning, St. Andrew. It is good to be with you. Before we begin, you will notice that I have something attached to the side of my head. Just to keep you from wondering, I went to the dermatologist this week, and she said she thought my preaching would go quite a bit better, if I had a white patch on the side of my head. And, as I looked into the camera getting ready, I noticed that the patch and the color of my hair is just about identical. So, she did a good job of color coordinating. Anyway, all is well. 

It is good to be with you. Our lesson for this morning comes from the New Testament epistle, letter to the Galatians. And, it’s just two short sentences, one with a long list. So, here we have it – Galatians 5:22-23. Hear the word of God: 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things

May this reading from God’s word be used for the benefit and blessing of ourselves and all. Amen.

Okay so, we had a list, a list of the spiritual fruits of the Spirit. And, we could look in other places of Scripture where we find other lists, some with similar items, some with different items. We often make a list. I’m a list-maker and many of us are. Rarely do I go to the grocery store without a list. Frequently, it’s no longer on a piece of paper, but on my phone, but nevertheless, without a list I’m just about guaranteed of coming home, missing one or more items. Lists can be helpful.

Now, in our spiritual lives, a list, such as we heard from Galatians, can help to guide us. To help us see if we are on track. Several weeks ago, I asked Jan if she had any suggestions for my preaching; and, she said, “Well, in September, we’ll be doing something with Pedal for Protein, and that might be something you could talk about in one way or another.” And so, I thought, what if we use cycling as a metaphor for spirituality? What if we used some of the things we might learn about life in the Spirit from cycling, and add those things to any number of lists there are in Scripture, about our spiritual development and our spiritual health? So, I decided to take on the challenge. 

Now, before we go any further, a word about Pedal for Protein. This was started six years ago, so this would have been year six and for obvious reasons, it’s not being held this year. But, the Presbytery would like to still work on the fund raising efforts. Every single cent that is raised for Pedal for Protein, goes to food pantries that are in the Redwoods Presbytery region. St. Andrew has been a significant contributor over the years to that effort, and had a number of people who have participated in it. You’ll remember that Rich was one of the founding riders. So, I encourage your support. And of course, in this time with COVID-19 and the fires, the need is ever growing among those who are experiencing hunger; and what we call food insecurity, where folks either don’t have enough to eat, or do not get enough calories in their food to actually sustain them. So, please keep up your faithfulness in your contributions for Pedal for Protein.

Now, what might cycling teach us? I’ve been a cyclist since I was 17 years old. I am now 67, so that’s 50 years of experience. So hopefully, I would learn something. One of the first things we learn when we’re on a bike is, if we don’t keep moving, we just might fall over. It’s movement, that keeps us in balance. Now, to be sure there are those individuals, not too many, but there are those individuals who can hold their bike steady and stay in one place, and balance on it. Not a lot of folks can do this. And, some who try, can do it for a short period of time, but it’s the rare individual who can do it for any extended period of time. It’s called a track stand. For the rest of us, mere mortals cyclists, if we don’t keep moving, we’re likely to fall.

Now, it occurred to me that, as we get older; and you’ve just heard that I’m among those getting older, there would be a tendency to say something like, “Well, I’m not sure if I want to ride a bike because I might fall.” And certainly when it comes to falling, the older we get in general, the more dangerous falling might be. And so, of course we want to be careful. But remember, we’re using this here as a metaphor, whether you get on a bike or not. The metaphor from cycling is, if we don’t keep moving, we’re likely to fall. So, even those of us who are on the older end, we don’t want to fall, it’s too dangerous for our health and wellbeing. And so often, the movement, it can be physical, it’s good to keep moving physically; our bodies need it, but the spiritual movement is every bit as much on the inside as it might be on the outside. So, how do we keep evolving and growing and moving into that, which is new.

This is an important part of our spirituality, the ongoing openness to our own forward movement, wherever that might be and whatever it might be for you. What is it that just gives you a little life, or maybe a lot, or a little newness that is opening you, so you’re not feeling as though you’re just stuck? Sometimes, we do get stuck, and it’s not a good place to be. It doesn’t feel like it is a good place to be. The keeping moving in our lives, the openness to the newness, the new experience, the new relationships, is critical for our spiritual wellbeing; if not, we fall. In one way or another, we are injuring ourselves if we don’t maintain the movement. 

Secondly, riding a bike, cycling, will get you somewhere in a reasonable period of time, but not too fast. So, keep moving, but not too fast. We tend to travel at light speed. We live in a technological world where we can’t wait one second for our internet page to change. The faster we move, the more we are likely to miss. I’ve been on a few retreats where they send us out, walking somewhere in the woods or maybe at the beach; and just tell us to notice what we see, go slow and notice what we see. And, every single time I’m amazed that it’s only when I actually stop… Now, I just said to keep moving, so forget point number one. It’s only when I stop and pay attention, that I can really begin to see. Sometimes we need to do that in ourselves as well, just slow down and take a pause. Now, as I just said, I know that sounds contradictory to the idea of keeping moving; but sometimes in our world today, in the culture in which we live, we just need to slow down. Keep moving, but slow down.

Jesus lived in a time when going fast, the way we do today, was not an option, not a reality. Jesus would have no reason, really, to tell his disciples to slow down, so to speak, because they were already going slow. It was a slow culture. We’ve heard of slow cooking. A slow culture. But, even Jesus in that slow culture, he would routinely take times to kind of get away, just to slow life down, so that he could absorb it, and have an awareness as to what’s going on. So, keep moving, but not too fast.

And third, do so with humility. Keep moving, not too fast, and with humility. The bicycle really is quite humble. Not a lot of mechanics to it, really. You can even ride the thing with flat tires sometimes, it’ll get you there. But, it’s not really intimidating. Or, maybe when we’re first learning to ride, when we’re four, or five, or six, or seven, there’s an intimidation, but a bicycle is not intimidating towards others. Kathy and I, many of you are aware, have done a number of cycling camping trips in Europe. And you know, when two elderly folks like us roll into a campground on bicycles, we pose no threat to anyone. And, we have been routinely amazed, across several countries, of the way in which we have been received with open arms. I think it’s the bicycles.

There’s something that, just brings it all down to a manageable level. There are some police departments that have said they use bicycles for some of their officers in some areas, not just because it’s a little easier for them to get around, but because it reduces the sense of threat and authority. There’s something just kind of humble about a bicycle. And humility, it may not be on every list of spiritual gifts and disciplines that we have in Scripture, but it undergirds just about everything that we read in God’s Word. But, there’s something about recognizing our place among others. Not above, not below, that simply makes the world a better place in which to live.

Clearly, our world could benefit a lot from increasing humility among all. So, here’s the things to add to your list, whether it’s from Galatians or somewhere else in Scripture; or some other good words about how to live life in the Spirit, add these to that list: Keep moving, but not too fast and do so with humility. That will put all of us in just a little better place, living under the reign of God.

Thank you, St. Andrew, I wish you God’s blessing for this week, and in the weeks to come. Amen.

Closing Song

“Tell your Heart To Beat Again” – by Danny Gokey – WMG, [Merlin] Absolute Label Services (on behalf of BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

Enjoying life and being healthy after turning 90 is an achievement in itself, but Betty Cox, now 91, didn’t want to stop there. Together with her husband Graham, 86, she bought a tandem bicycle, so they could still enjoy their life-long passion. And after just one season of riding, they managed to clock up astonishing 1,000 miles.

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