King Herod instructed the wise men to go and search diligently for the Christ child. His motive was tainted but his instructions simple. We are told the same, from a pure motive, to go and search our world for signs of God among us, so that we can point out God to others. My prayer for all of us at St. Andrew’s is to search high and low so that we might not overlook God right under our noses. Merry Christmas family of St. Andrew’s! God has come, let us all rejoice. So much about this year was impacted by COVID, many of our regular activities have been altered. No matter our situation God continues to come into our world in large and small ways. Christmas is a time that we intentionally gather around the manager to hear and tell the story of God-with-us once again. Now it is our turn to join the shepherds to leave the manger and tell others that God has come.
We were not able to offer the traditional Christmas offerings of St. Andrews. This year has forced us “out of the box.” I happen to think we have met the challenges of 2020 very well. COVID shut us out of the building and OMS imploded. The potential financial disaster that 2020 could have been, was avoided thanks to your faithfulness and willingness to try new ways to share God’s love. We went outside, we went online, we had drive through and remote communion-through all of it, you offered your time, talents, and treasures. The words THANK YOU seem paltry. Jesus once said, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Servants of God at St. Andrew’s, you have done 2020 very well!
This year to share the Christmas Story, we undertook a project we have never done before, a Living Nativity. For two evenings in December over 40 volunteers took on roles portraying what the Christmas story may have looked like for visitors as they drove through three different scenes. We had about 100 carloads of visitors. Although we could not host in-person worship services the number of visitors to the Nativity was at least one full Christmas service. Our online Christmas services were both attended by about 40 connections. With most people participating online with 2 or more people in their homes, and most carloads at the nativity having more than one, this year our Christmas Services were the most attended in several years. To say this year has been overwhelming in both the work and the blessings, would be an understatement. We could not have pulled all this off without working together THANK YOU for your willingness to dive in and try something new.
We will continue to experiment with activities that raise both funds and friends. We will build on the successes of the Pumpkin Bash, the Produce Sale and the Living Nativity with movie nights, an online cooking class and some other surprising events. Thanks to some anonymous donors we have a new camera which will improve our online service experience. That upgrade will happen in the next few weeks.
There has been some interest in renting out the space previously occupied by the Montessori school. I am hopeful that one of the organizations that has reached out to us will continue on to occupancy. Please continue to pray for this possibility as the regular income is so very helpful to our financial wellbeing.
See you on Sunday, Pastor Dave
Our Mission Statement
“Inspiring Change by Following Jesus.”
Inspiring change by following Jesus is why this place exists, why this community meets and what we are set on doing.
INSPIRING The angels inspired the shepherds to run to see the new born Jesus, the Spirit inspired the disciples to march with purpose out of the upper room where they were hiding after the death of Jesus and throughout the ages people have been inspired to share their faith with others. Through this inspiration people have been moved with compassion and it is the fuel that moves the church. “Inspiring” also is a means of how we are to function. We don’t use fear to scare others into faith (we know that doesn’t work) we show them what God has done in our lives and we invite them to wonder about what God can do in theirs. Being inspired to do something new is invitational, just like Jesus.
CHANGE Something is out-of-whack in our world, in our communities and within ourselves. One of the founders of the church, the Apostle Paul, wrote that he doesn’t understand what he does, and he does the stuff he hates. Change is hard, it takes time and tons of effort to redirect our efforts at times. We read countless stories in the Bible of Jesus meeting people in the most random places of their lives and offering them something far better. Physical, spiritual and mental healing, reconnecting someone with their community, lifting those that have been ostracized by others-Jesus brings change and we welcome God’s changes in our lives.
BY Here is how this inspired change is going to happen. Spoiler alert, it isn’t because of what we do.
FOLLOWING Jesus asks his disciples to leave their comfort zones. They walked away from jobs, family, friends, a life that they knew-to follow Jesus into one where they didn’t know much, except for the Rabbi. “Following” admits that we don’t know exactly where we are headed or how to get there. It is an act of humble worship and great trust to allow Jesus to lead our community and our lives.
JESUS Our leader, our rabbi, the one who has come into our lives and invited us into something greater. God’s dreams are better then our own, God’s vision for our lives is far more colorful and fun than we could imagine, so come join us in following our amazing God into a world we hardly knew existed.
Well that’s all good and nice, but how do we actually do it? There are three values that we uplift which will make our missional goal a reality.
First, we “worship to deepen our connections.” Using the cross itself as an example, we worship to connect with God (the vertical) and we worship alongside each other to connect with one another (the horizontal). If our worship doesn’t bring us closer to God or others, than we are doing something wrong.
Secondly, we value “education to challenge our understanding of God.” Growth always means some level of discomfort, and we welcome the challenge of seeing God in new ways. We need to push ourselves to see God in places and faces that we would have overlooked without becoming aware.
Lastly, we do what Jesus did. “Service with others to change the world.” Jesus often brought people into his miracles to change the world around them. Changing the world is a big job but doing so means that we begin with God changing our world. We invite God into our lives to give us a glimpse of what God is up to, and what we are being invited into and we join together to get to work making God’s kingdom show up on earth.