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, June 7 – 10:00am* – 11:00am
*Please note that this is one hour earlier than previously!
It will be a time for Check-in, Birthday Blessing, Prayers, Communion (bring something to eat and drink – it can be anything you have on hand) and 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
Welcome to this “Virtual” worship service for Sunday, June 7, 2020
This Sunday is Trinity Sunday, the Sunday after Pentecost. Our service features inspiring videos and music and Rev. Robert Conover shares his message with us about creativity, beauty, diversity, and living in peace as we celebrate and honor the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Many thanks to Ron Moser (production and artistic touches), Amy Cox (formatting and posting), Caryn Prince (song selections), Jan Reynolds (video selection and prayers), Bob Conover (scripture lesson and sermon), Tracy Walthard, Kelsey Walthard and Dawne Carver (teachings for children and youth).
Call to Worship
Click the arrow below to watch this beautiful video, Come Great Spirit by Chris Neufeld-Erdman
“I See You In Me: A Song for Global Peace and Unity”, By Gbenga Adenuga
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: “Now Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1, NIV
Be sure to check our Facebook page for Sunday School videos to share with your children: St. Andrew Sonoma Facebook Page
Message for Youth
out!! Those are such sweet
words! That means sleeping in, no homework and hanging out with friends!
Wait…this year it definitely looks different. Many of you have already been
sleeping in, relaxing and you have not been able to see your friends or
Graduation and end of the school year celebrations are not what we planned, and many have been canceled. Yet we do celebrate and we, as a community, have gotten creative with how to celebrate the milestones in our lives. I have heard from those of you who are Senior High graduates and Eighth Grade graduates that it is sad and bittersweet not to see your classmates and do the end of the school year events. My heart goes out to you for all the losses you have gone through in the last couple months. Canceled plays, sports and concerts just to name a few. Yet we do celebrate. Even in the midst of Covid-19 and Shelter in Place. Even in the midst of protests that shake us up to have deep conversations about racism, what’s wrong and what needs to change. Even when life feels heavy, overwhelming and scary. We celebrate. For that I’m so grateful!
God’s words have been so important to me this week (They always are!). I have been reflecting on what I need to hear and what blessings I need in my life right now so that I may celebrate the graduations, birth of a baby and all the blessings that make up my life. Here is what’s resonating with me right now.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God knows what’s going on in our lives. The good, the bad and the ugly. I hold tight to the last part of giving me hope and a future!
Philippians 4:13 “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” So even as I feel overwhelmed by circumstances in life, and I have definitely been overwhelmed this week, I know that God will strengthen me!
1 Corinthians 16:14 “Do everything in love.” Not some things, but everything needs to be done in love. Everything.
So whatever your day holds, whatever plans you have, remember that you are blessed by God. He loves you and has a plan… even in the crazy world we are in right now!
There is a song that moves me deeply. I’ve shared it with you below. It is a prayer for you, me, our community and the world. May you feel blessed by this! Blessings, Dawne Carver
The Bay Area Blessing — Churches sing “The Blessing” by Kari Job over the San Francisco Bay Area
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.
Listen to this beautiful prayer, inspired by Rev. Jeffrey Myers; written and recorded by Pastor Jan, by clicking on the arrow below:
we pause to give deep thanks for the beauty which surrounds us always and for
the promise that life goes on.
Set in our hearts a hope more persistent than the coronavirus, racial discrimination and violence; assure us of your power to bring good even out of the most formidable circumstances. God of healing and hope, we pray that you will speak of love stronger than death to those who suffer at the hand of the virus and injustice. We pray that these crises will move us to reflect upon our responsibility, individually and together, in caring for creation and all people.
Holy Spirit, may your guidance and transforming power spur us to make long-overdue changes, so that all of creation and all your people might breathe freely. Rein in our fear, we pray, before it becomes more contagious, and nurture our trust to form the basis of our dealings with one another. Let the tireless efforts of those on the frontiers of research and peaceful actions for justice lead to new and effective treatments, laws and changes of heart, and guide those in positions of power by principles of truth, wisdom and integrity.
Christ of tender mercies, we ask humbly that the painful awareness of our own vulnerability lead not to greater fear, but to a deeper faith and deeper love – a love for one another that never fails, and a faith that nothing in all creation can separate us from your love – neither today, nor tomorrow. Amen.
Click the arrow below to watch this video, Make Me a Channel of Your Peace (based on the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi)
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
Genesis 1:1-31 (selections)
Rev. Robert E. Conover
Click the arrow to see and hear Bob present the Scripture Reading for today
or read the Scripture below
morning, St. Andrew! It’s good to be with you, even though I’m not with you, and I look forward to the day when we can all safely see one another
again, face to face. I hope you are well.
Today is Trinity Sunday. Now perhaps most of you didn’t get up this morning and say, “Whoa, it’s Trinity Sunday this morning”. Trinity Sunday on the liturgical calendar always follows Pentecost which was last Sunday, the day of the Spirit. Trinity Sunday is the only day on the liturgical calendar that is a theological concept rather than an event. Just think of Christmas, Easter, Pentecost – all events. Trinity Sunday is about a theological concept.
So when Jan spoke to me about what I might preach on this morning and she didn’t have any particular suggestions, I thought well, I’ll just look at the lectionary and see what that would hold for us. And there are four readings there, but four are probably too many for us. So I selected the first one. A reading you all are very familiar with. I’ve pared it down some, because it’s lengthy, but it’s the creation story from Genesis 1. So listen to this story as if you were hearing it for the very first time.
Hear now, the word of God:
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made a dome and called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.
God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Running on a Full Tank of Holy Energy
Genesis 1:1-31 (selections)
Rev. Robert E. Conover
Click the arrow to see and hear Bob’s Sermon
or read the Sermon below
you heard the story, In the Beginning. As I said, it’s Trinity Sunday
and of course, when we think of the Trinity, we think of Father, Son and Holy
Spirit, or God, the Creator, God, the Redeemer, God, the Sustainer. However, we
might look at it. But this reading from Genesis shows us very succinctly the
nature of God. And when we look at God’s nature and the nature in which we are
created, we can begin to learn something about ourselves as well, or at least
God’s intention for ourselves.
Now there’s a lot of ways to think of God, but one of the ways we could think of God is as energy. As that force of energy in and for all creation, all the universe. How might we live and embody holy energy ourselves? What would it be like to run on a full tank of holy energy? I don’t know about you, but often what I would like to have about two o’clock in the afternoon is a little more energy. So what do we see? What do we see in this story that is so well known that we can tell it by heart?
We see a lot of things, but I want to suggest five. First, in the beginning God created. The very essence of God is creativity, in the beginning. So the very nature of this energy, this holy energy is to create. Now many of us will think, well, I’m not creative. This last week, Christo died. Now we may have great varying opinions on Cristos’ artwork. In 1976, he draped an 18-mile long piece of fabric across Sonoma County and it stayed up for two weeks. After 14 days, it was taken down and not a trace was left.
A few weeks ago I had a birthday. I don’t know if you can see behind me here, but I have birthday cards from my three-year-old granddaughter and from my six-year-old granddaughter. Now those birthday cards, we all know those of us with grandchildren, nieces, or nephews, children, or friends of our children or friends who have children, we all know that those handmade cards are way better than anything you can get from Hallmark. No one’s ever told our children and grandchildren, friends, and nieces and nephews that they can’t make a birthday card. In fact, it comes naturally to them. And in fact, what’s more, it comes naturally to their parents. I can well imagine my son and daughter-in-law saying to the girls, why don’t you make a birthday card for Papa? It is natural for them to say that to their children.
Yeah, we will say, well, no, I’m not creative. Remember that time when Jesus said, “unless you become like children?” I think part of what he meant there was that unless you realize that you are inherently creative, you’re going to have a hard time living in the kingdom of God, because the very nature of God is creative. So if you think you’re not creative, then go get a piece of fabric, maybe your bath towel and hang it a little differently, bring in something new in the way you see the world through your own arrangement. The very nature of God is to be creative in the beginning.
The second thing we see, it’s not named specifically, but we can see it, is that the nature of God is beauty. Oh, we do look at the sky, look at Sonoma County and we can’t help but see the beauty and the changing seasons of it all, how the vineyards look different in the fall and in the spring. The other day I was sitting on my patio and we have an umbrella, and halfway between the ground and the top of the umbrella was a spider. Now, I couldn’t see the spider web or the single thread that the spider had created. It was invisible. But that little spider, the eensy weensy spider, began climbing that invisible web, that invisible thread. And I just looked at that and thought, wow, I can’t do that. It was an amazing thing of beauty. Even if you’re afraid of spiders, it is an amazing thing of beauty; creativity and beauty. Maybe the best thing we can do is simply to appreciate and cherish and gaze upon and recognize that it is all such a gift of God.
The third thing we see is in the beginning God created beauty and diversity. God made a lot of things, no two alike. This has been a challenging last few months. It has been a very challenging last couple of weeks. We suffer all the effects of the pandemic. We suffer the economic fallout from the pandemic, and we suffer from the very deeply rooted racism that exists in our country, and indeed, in so many ways exists around the world. In the beginning, God created diversity and said, it is good.
In one way or another, it is the responsibility of all of us created in the very image of God to honor the diversity that God made. In many ways, we can say that the core of Jesus’ ministry was inclusivity. Recognizing and bringing in those who are pushed out. Jesus would eat with rich and poor. It was often though that the rich that didn’t care to have the poor eating with them. Jesus’ intent was not to exclude those with more or those from another culture, but it was Jesus’ intent to include all. And in saying that, to include all in the abundance.
Now we’re not all going to all have exactly the same, but all of us can share in the abundance of God. And if we look throughout Scripture, that theme comes up over and over and over again. It is not in any way God’s intended design that there’d be haves and have-nots because the very nature of God is a world of abundance in which there is ample for all to share. So in the beginning God created diversity and that means we’re all included.
Now as we read on, we see that diversity is interdependent on each other, the plants, the animals, the human beings, the whole of creation. Now I don’t want to suggest that God was suggesting we be vegan or vegetarian, but if you notice there in Genesis, the story says that the plants are there to sustain human beings and all the animals. If we step back just a little more, we can see that the very nature of creation is oneness. That those plants are dependent on the light from the sun and the rain from the heavens, and that we are dependent on the plants and the animals as well, just as we are so dependent on one another.
On this week, when we have seen so many protests and sometimes violence, we can also begin to see that we are all in this together, that God created in oneness. We are all in this together, or the sad reality is we will not be at all. We need each other, we need the diversity. We need to claim the holy energy that can bring us to a place where there is some semblance of oneness and dignity for all that God has made.
So we have creativity and beauty and diversity and interdependence. And finally, there is stewardship. God says that we have been given dominion over all of this. Now dominion is about power. So the question becomes, how do we use power? Let’s come back to Jesus, he’s a good teacher. How did Jesus use his power? When we speak of the Trinity as Trinity Sunday, Jesus shows us in human form, what God is like. How did Jesus use his power? To protect, to invite in, to welcome, to encourage.
The word dominion is perhaps not the most helpful word for us today. The story of Genesis was written approximately 3,000 years ago. When the writer of this story is thinking of dominion, she or he has no idea what we have at our hands today. So a better word for us is stewardship, that we have been given the stewardship of creativity and beauty and diversity and the interdependence of it all. That is who God is. That is who the church is called to be. And the world needs us to be that now more than ever. And when we live in this way, as tired as we may be at times, we cannot help but be filled with the holy energy of God. Thank you for your witness and your ministry.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
“Running on a Full Tank of Holy Energy”
“We Shall Overcome: Love Will Rise Again” – Words and Music by Nimo Patel and Daniel Nahmod – Empty Hands Music