Dear Saint Andrew’s Family,
If there are two phrases I have heard more than any others in the past several months, they are these: “It’s so good to be back”, and, “This is home”.
Although our launch into worship and ministry this fall has been peppered with adjustments, mask wearing, and the unpredictable nature of the Pandemic, we have nonetheless managed to find some sense of home, safety, predictability, and a feeling of consistency. This is not the kind of safety, predictability, and consistency that leads to a dull, dry, and stale community, but rather it has been the kind that is rooted in the great Christian tradition that we follow. It is a stability that roots us in an unchanging Gospel, the great liturgies of our worship, the unstopping tradition of our prayer and study of scripture, our unabashed care for children, and our longstanding choral tradition. It is predictable. It is home. And it is this kind of stability that allows us to enter into the world bearing witness to the radical grace and love of Jesus Christ. In a world that is constantly being tossed to and fro with winds that are beyond our control, we need a place to call home. The Church has been that place for people in turmoil for thousands of years.
Saint Andrews itself has been referred to many times as a Phoenix, closing down and reopening, losing energy and then finding it amongst the community of God, inspired by the spirit to lift it’s wings once again and to be the community that God has called this Church to be.
As we continue to emerge from this time of Pandemic, we are, in many ways, in a season of new life and growth. I see this in events like our Chicken Barbecue which, led by members of the congregation, allowed us to reach out to our neighbors and provide a warm meal for those at the Atkinson Shelter. We continue to hear from neighbors who met members of our community at the barbecue and were inspired by the hospitality that they encountered. I myself was even asked by individuals to pray for them while they waited in line for chicken. We offered much more than perfectly grilled chicken on that day.
I see life in this place as our children flood into the Church each week after we pass the peace in the sanctuary. The children and youth at Saint Andrew’s are a lively and growing bunch. Church is clearly a home for them as well. Just the other week I had a parent approach me and let me know that during a raucous post church game of hide and seek, a child had been found hiding under my desk in my study. How wonderful! The fact that they felt comfortable and safe enough to do that absolutely made my day. These same children are now raising money to donate to UNICEF so that children around the world can also grow up in safe and lifegiving environments. Read more about this in Lisa Yoest’s article.
I bring up these moments (and there are many more!) not to puff our church up with bravado, but rather to demonstrate the ways that our stable and unwavering presence as a church, rooted in the great Christian tradition, provides a launching pad for outreach, creativity, and hospitality.
Saint Andrew’s is in a season of new life, emerging from the pandemic and from clergy transition, and this emergence is showing just how strong and passionate this congregation really is.
On November 28th we will celebrate the life of this Church, commissioned by Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit, in a celebration of Saint Andrew’s Day. This will truly be a special day and I hope you will make it a priority to be with us in person or virtually. In addition to Saint Andrew’s Day, this will also be our Day of Joyful Giving at Saint Andrew’s. We are encouraging all members at Saint Andrew’s to consider pledging their amount of financial support for the year on this day.
The reality is that although our community of people has been strong and shown great resilience, our giving has dropped off dramatically over the past several years. As you consider your pledge for this year, would you consider helping us emerge from the financial position we have been in as well? Saint Andrew’s is on the move and is moving forward with Christ into this new season. Your generous pledging allows us the confidence to enter into this season well, knowing that we have the financial resources that we need to step out in faith and build upon this sturdy foundation. I would ask all members to prayerfully consider your financial pledge as we move forward.
Rev’d Ben Capps