Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Surely it is God who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid. For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense and he will be my Savior.”(The First Son of Isaiah 12:2).
Before we approach the year-end seasons of reflection and thanksgiving in Advent and Christmas, we can’t help but reminisce about so many church services, fellowship and celebrations that the pandemic restrictions have silenced. We have been watching the historic shifts in traditions and practice not just with church attendance, but with how we receive medical care, how our children can be educated, and how child care and family life must adjust and modify. And new traditions have evolved for the good. The restrictions over the past months have caused fear and anxiety, and in tragic cases, great grief.
I want to remind us of the deep and abiding message of the love of God during times of difficulty and turmoil given to us in our tradition. Remember, each November, we joyfully celebrate the feast of St. Andrew, Apostle, our Patron Saint (November 30), and we renew our Baptismal Covenant to “proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ” and strive to follow our patron Apostle into discipleship.
This year our celebration service is cancelled because of worship restrictions. But our beloved community continues in the bonds of Christ Jesus to be faithful which generates a surge of thanksgiving for each of you.
The pandemic has not silenced the messages of devotion, compassion and stewardship so strongly witnessed by our membership. You have faithfully sent in, delivered or paid online your donations to the operating costs of the church and you have offered pastoral care to one another, and so lovingly to your Rector during my illness. On behalf of myself and the Vestry, thank you sincerely for your faithful and generous stewardship and abiding messages of the love of God during these months. For your steady generosity of Spirit and support, God Bless you.
And vital ministry has continued in worship and music, working too with video services, amazing fundraising, with our Holy mowers and Garden Elf, Greg Belvin’s Eagle Project, The Angel Tree Project and all the other ministry that each of you offer in your ordinary lives to those you know and those strangers among you.
Now, with more confidence, we can look together in hope that a better year of mission and ministry is coming when a vaccine is available. To plan ahead, we must prudently review our finances and attempt to loosely budget our goals for 2021. As ever, we look to you for your help in this endeavor. If you are able to make a pledge or continue your pledge from last year at the same level, please let us know. We will be placing a pledge form online in the coming days or you may simply email the Parish Office with your intent.
Barring another shutdown, the Sunday Church service at 9:00 AM shall continue with homily, communion and organ. We have adjusted the schedule, size and time of our gatherings to facilitate a safer environment for all. The Parish Hall, Pre School and Thrift Store remain closed for the time being, but it is our hope to fully reopen the Campus.
Until then, we ask that you prayerfully consider continuing your pledge to St. Andrew’s in 2021. We have a precious community of devotion, compassion, service and stewardship. May God give us the strength to continue to be the community of joy we create, in person or in spirit and grow in faith during these challenging times.
Faithfully, with love and prayers of thanksgiving,
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