Worship by ZOOM – September 20, 2020 (Bless Our Schools Sunday)

Order of Service – Sunday September 20, 2020 @ 10:30AM

We continue our live broadcast from the Sanctuary this morning. We remain closed to public worship. Only Rev. John, Fred, our Tech Team, our trainee Screeners, and our guest today will be in the Sanctuary.

We welcome Andrew Hyde from the Ecumenical Campus Ministry at the University of Guelph as our pulpit guest this morning as we celebrate Bless Our Schools Sunday sponsored by Moms in Prayer International and our Mission and Outreach Coordinating Committee (MOCC). Today’s service was supposed to be different as it was being planned by MOCC and was to include various participants from the Committee. Due to COVID, Rev. John will lead the service and Andrew Hyde will share the message. Welcome Andrew!

Prelude – Chorale Prelude on “Lobe den Herren” arr. J. Walther

Call to Worship

Hymn – “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (v. 1 & 4)

Opening Prayer

Scripture Reading – Romans 11:33 – 12:2 & Matthew 20: 1-16 (NRSV)

Sermon: “Renew Our Minds” (Andrew Hyde)

Offering – You can still mail cheques to:

St. Andrew’s Guelph, 161 Norfolk Street, Guelph, ON N1H 4J8

Or you can donate to St. Andrew’s through CanadaHelps

Donate to St. Andrew’s via Canada Helps here:

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/128975471RR0001-st-andrews-presbyterian-church/

You are also invited to sign up for Pre-Authorized Remittance (PAR). Instead of using offering envelopes or giving online, you can set up a regular donation through your financial institution. To learn more, click here.

If you’d like to make a donation to Presbyterian World Service and Development (PWS&D) you can do so here:

https://www.gifttool.com/donations/Donate?ID=2034&AID=2463

CIBC Run for the Cure 2020 (Virtual) – October 4, 2020

We are encouraging our members and friends to support the RUN this year individually. If you are interested in supporting this year’s Run for the Cure, you can register here:

https://support.cancer.ca/site/TR/RunfortheCure/RFTC_NW_odd_?fr_id=27270&pg=entry&s_locale=en_CA

St. Andrew’s Guelph and Knox Guelph will join together again next year as “Presbyterians on the Run”!

Supporting the Ecumenical Campus Ministry at UofG, to set up a one-time or monthly, tax-deductible donation to ECM’s ministry at UofG, go to https://www.ecmguelph.org/donate.

Special Musical Interlude – “Amazing Grace” (arr. D. Hastad)

Prayers of the People

Hymn – “Lord dismiss us with your blessing” (v. 1)

Benediction

Postlude – Recessional on “Lobe den Herren” (arr. P. Manz)

Worship by ZOOM – Sunday September 13, 2020

Order of Service – Sunday September 13, 2020 @ 10:30AM

We are delighted to be back in our sanctuary this morning. We will be livestreaming from the sanctuary every week going forward by ZOOM . Our gratitude to Peter Devries for his leadership and dedication in getting things ready to effectively broadcast. And to our Tech Team members who are assisting us this morning. We will be experimenting with this setup for the next few weeks in anticipation and hope that we can invite members of the congregation who are interested to in-person worship. We will continue to broadcast via ZOOM even when we are able to have a live audience. Our community may be apart due to COVID but we will endeavour to keep our worshiping community TOGETHER through the gift of technology.

We are further delighted to welcome back our Music Director, Fred Gingrich. Fred will be providing several instrumental pieces for our worship services. In due course, it is hoped that we will be able to have recordings of our Choir too. And Fred is working on adding members of the Bell Choir occasionally. We certainly have missed Fred over these last several months and welcome him back today!

Prelude – Prelude in G (J.S. Bach)

Call to Worship

Hymn – “Joyful, Joyful” (v. 1 & 4)

Opening Prayer

Scripture Reading – Matthew 18: 21 – 35 (NRSV)

Sermon: “Let’s Start with Forgiveness”

Offering – You can still mail cheques to:

St. Andrew’s Guelph, 161 Norfolk Street, Guelph, ON N1H 4J8

Or you can donate to St. Andrew’s through CanadaHelps

Donate to St. Andrew’s via Canada Helps here:

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/128975471RR0001-st-andrews-presbyterian-church/

You are also invited to sign up for Pre-Authorized Remittance (PAR). Instead of using offering envelopes or giving online, you can set up a regular donation through your financial institution. To learn more, click here.

If you’d like to make a donation to Presbyterian World Service and Development (PWS&D) you can do so here:

https://www.gifttool.com/donations/Donate?ID=2034&AID=2463

CIBC Run for the Cure 2020 (Virtual) – October 4, 2020

We are encouraging our members and friends to support the RUN this year individually. If you are interested in supporting this year’s Run for the Cure, you can register here:

https://support.cancer.ca/site/TR/RunfortheCure/RFTC_NW_odd_?fr_id=27270&pg=entry&s_locale=en_CA

St. Andrew’s Guelph and Knox Guelph will join together again next year as “Presbyterians on the Run”!

Special Musical Interlude – “Fairest Lord Jesus” (arr. F. Swann)

Prayers of the People

Hymn – “Great is Thy Faithfulness”

Benediction

Postlude – Fugue in G (J.S. Bach)

IMPORTANT UPDATE – Staged Reopening Plan for August 2020

Please take a moment to read our latest update on our Staged Reopening Plan for the Fall of 2020.

An IMPORTANT UPDATE Regarding STAGED REOPENING PLAN (August 2020)

Over the summer months, our leadership has worked hard to plan for and prepare for potentially reopening our building for worship and other activities this coming Fall. The Board is continuing to make preparations in this regard with our rental groups and for other activities. The Session and the Reopening Task Force have met on several occasions to consider the guidelines from Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health and the implications for our future in-person worship experience. We can be very grateful for their hard work and dedication over the summer. At every step, the safety and wellbeing of our membership and our community is our top priority.  

To that end, we are now moving forward with a STAGED REOPENING PLAN. Beginning on Sunday September 13, we move from broadcasting our online worship experience through ZOOM from our homes to the sanctuary. Peter Devries and our Tech Team with support from our Leadership are busy getting everything that is needed in place to be able to broadcast reliably and effectively from the Church Sanctuary. To begin, on Sunday September 13 and for a few weeks following, this is what we expect worship to look like:

  • The service will NOT be open to the public or the congregation at large;
  • We will be broadcasting live via ZOOM and the service will continue to be recorded and posted on our website and YouTube channel;
  • Fred Gingrich, our Music Director, will be back but will only be playing instrumental music LIVE. We will not be able to have a choir initially. There will also be NO congregational singing.
    • We hope to have pre-recorded choral music to include in our worship – these recordings will occur during the week and will follow Public Health protocols to ensure the safety of all involved.
  • Those involved in the service will be restricted to Rev. John, Fred, the Tech Team, and a small number of individuals who will act in the future as ‘Screeners’ (traditionally greeters/ushers).
  • All participants will wear masks and maintain physical distance. Rev. John will remove his mask only when he is in the Pulpit and conducting worship.

If you are interested in acting as a “Screener” for these initial Sundays, please reach out to Rev. John (revjohn [at] standrewsguelph [dot] com). He can give you a brief overview of the role and what is expected. We will require approximately six (6) people to act in these roles each Sunday when we reopen more fully. The bonus to serving in this way is that you will be one of the first people to participate in worship in the sanctuary since March.

We are confident that this initial restricted stage will aid in our preparations as we consider reopening for in-person worship potentially by the end of September. Again, we will follow all guidelines and directions from the Government and our local Public Health unit to maintain safety of all who may participate. As we look ahead to reopening to in-person worship beyond this first stage, please be assured that we will continue to maintain an online worship experience. In fact, it is our assumption that most of the congregation will continue to seek to worship virtually well into next year due to the limited seating that will be available in worship because of physical distancing requirements, lack of singing and socializing, and concerns with personal safety. We appreciate and respect whatever decision you personally make on this matter. We will continue to share the Gospel in the variety of ways that we are able and trust that we will be able to continue to sense the unity of Christ in our congregation albeit while not being together in the same way as before.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to our Leadership or myself. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate the challenges that the COVID pandemic presents for us as a worshiping community. We celebrate that we have been able to adapt and thrive during this time – our Summer worship attendance has been the highest and most stable it has ever been and has included many people who have moved away as well as our members who have joined us from their cottages. We continue to be inspired and grateful for your generosity. We truly couldn’t do it without your support and encouragement. May God continue to sustain us with strength and endurance as we look forward to the Fall.   

In Christ’s service,

Rev. John Borthwick
Minister | St. Andrew’s Guelph

St. Andrew’s COVID Lament: A Communal Creative Writing Project – May 2020

While studying the Book of Lamentations during this season of COVID-19, our congregation was invited to submit a line or two of prose expressing their thoughts, feelings and experience of this time of COVID isolation. I compiled and edited the submissions creating “St. Andrew’s COVID Lament”. I sought to be faithful to the poetic form found in the Book of Lamentations called Acrostic – meaning each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew Alphabet of which there are 22 letters. Our lament stretches to 26 letters in line with our alphabet. Thank you for your heartfelt submissions… it is a powerful lament! ~ Rev. John

St. Andrew’s COVID Lament: A Communal Creative Writing Project – May 2020

Although we are accomplishing a lot with this time of confinement, there is much we are missing.

Being with other people – remember when we used to gather in groups – but not just any people,

Children, I miss my kids, my grandkids, my parents, and my friends.

Dogs too. Let’s not forget them. And alright, we can say cats as well.

Except for some of us, our pets have our undivided attention now and are our source of companionship in this time of isolation.

Forgotten is what many of us feel. Forgotten while some are praised as heroes, but we are not. Forgotten by family and friends who are overwhelmed by many things – like on some forgotten highway being passed by many but remembered by few. And most poignantly, forgotten by you.

God. Have you forgotten us? Do you still remember us? Do you see what we are going through?

Here, is where we want you, O God. Right here with us – beside us.

I don’t feel your presence. I miss you. Do you miss me too?

Joy is so hard to find.

Keep faith, hope, and love alive. Don’t let their light be extinguished.

Lonely are the streets. Lonely are the open spaces. Lonely are the churches. Lonely are our homes.

Masked humanity enters banks and stores.

New normal – that’s what it is called. But there is nothing normal about this reality we are facing.

Overwhelm comes in waves like a tsunami at times.

PPE is our rallying cry.

Quiet fills our days and nights.

Remember us, O Lord.

Strength and courage to survive – to make it through – is what we desire most.

Thy will be done? Really. We’ve taken some dark paths as we’ve sought to understand what we are facing.

Understanding would be as sweet as honey. We wish for someone who understands us. Someone to reach out to us. Who will listen to us?

Vulnerable God, you became weak for our sakes.

Wounded by our hatred and our love for violence. You know this life. You know what abandonment feels like.

Xenophobia is on the rise. May we not place you in the same category as stranger. May we not fear you too, O God.

You carried us, O Lord. At least that’s what that poem called Footprints says: “When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.” Please let this be such a time.

Zest for life will return. We will not be isolated forever.

UPDATE: Friday March 20

Reminder: There will be NO Worship Services at St. Andrew’s on Sunday March 22 and March 29. Please continue to check our website, these emails, our Facebook Page and CJOY/Magic 106.1 for any future cancellations.


In Person worship might be cancelled but we can still worship TOGETHER (at a distance)! 

Join us on Sunday at 10:30AM using Zoom – 
for a LIVE worship experience with ME (Rev. John). It will be simple but worshipful and you will have the opportunity to interact on the comments section of the site. Using Zoom allows us to record the service so that we can send it in the days that follow to those who weren’t able to join us. 

To join us on ZOOM, simply click on the link below or call one of the numbers to hear the Service:

Topic: Sunday Morning Worship @ St. Andrew’s Guelph
Time: Mar 22, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/956852340

Meeting ID: 956 852 340

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Meeting ID: 956 852 340

The plan will be that I will open the meeting at 10AM. You can join then and connect with folks and learn how to use the platform. Peter Devries will be helping me – monitoring the chat for technical issues, and recording the worship service portion, etc.

At 10:30AM, I will start the worship service. You are welcome to join at that time. It will be an annotated service, informal, with prayers, Scripture, an adapted sermon and a blessing. 

After the service, at about 11AM, I will remain on and allow for any further social connections to occur through video, speech or chat.

Don’t forget your favourite beverage – you are at home after all!

You can choose if you want to be seen through video or not, it isn’t necessary. You can also choose to simply call in using the phone and listen in that way by calling one of the numbers listed in the ZOOM invitation. We are experimenting here and will try our best to provide some Spiritual refreshment for the week that was. Hope to be with you on Sunday morning.

In addition, our friends in Christ – Two Rivers Church – are encouraging their community to share an adapted “Daily Office” for prayer. They are committing to pray throughout the day a set prayer (as the ancient church did and still occurs in some Christian communities). Here’s a link to their website that outlines the times of day and the prayers that are set for each time. May we gain strength and courage in the knowledge that we are united in prayer throughout the day. You can find it here: https://www.tworiverschurch.ca/#/daily-community-prayer/

See you on Sunday at 10ish… 1030 for our worship service on ZOOM.

Grace and peace,
John.

UPDATE – Worship Cancelled for March 22 and March 29 (COVID-19)

Good morning all,


Thank you for your calm and measured response to the crisis we are all facing at this time. I have appreciated your messages of support and encouragement as well as your offers to assist those in need in the coming weeks. There was a modest crowd in attendance at our worship service on Sunday who followed all the appropriate precautions and maintained social distance. The solidarity demonstrated by our congregation is inspirational. Now, I ask for that same solidarity as we take the next best step based on the information we have at the moment.


EFFECTIVE TODAY (Monday March 16), we will CANCEL worship services scheduled to be held on March 22 and March 29. It is our hope that we may be able to worship together again on Sunday April 5 (Palm Sunday). However, we will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed if today’s decision needs to be extended.


In addition, the Board of Managers has decided that (1) the church building is closed to outside groups and (2) the church building remain open for use by staff for their on-going duties. At this point, most of our outside groups have cancelled or postponed their gatherings for the time being anyway. 


With regard to St. Andrew’s activities, this decision means that there will be NO Choir practices or Thursday Morning Bible Study during this period. The Lenten Seminar scheduled for March 28 will also be POSTPONED.


I reiterate my encouragement to reach out to each other and staying connected. To that end, Shainna will be checking messages and be available during this time Tuesday through Friday from 930AM – 1130AM. If you are able to assist others, do let Shainna know. And if you are in need of assistance (picking up groceries, prescriptions, etc), please call Shainna so that she can put you in contact with someone who has offered to assist. The Church Office phone number is: (519) 822-4772 or via email: mailbox@standrewsguelph.com. Obviously, this is not an emergency service – if you need immediate assistance please contact the appropriate services.


I will be working on offering some spiritual content and connection via our website (www.standrewsguelph.com) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/StAndrewsGuelph/). Below is the video of the message that I delivered on Sunday related to our response to COVID-19. I’m looking forward to the chance to experiment a little with this technology. I hope you will enjoy it as we play!  


Message from Rev. John Borthwick regarding COVID-19 and our response (turned into a second sermon)

Thanks again for your support as we make these decisions for the sake of our members and the wider community. It is important for us to do our part to #FlattentheCurve as we are being encouraged by the Health authorities.


Keep informed but not overwhelmed. Do keep up to date through the WDG Public Health website (https://www.wdgpublichealth.ca/your-health/novel-coronavirus-covid-19), the City of Guelph (https://guelph.ca/2020/03/city-of-guelph-responding-to-coronavirus/) and the Government of Canada (https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html). Check in on these sources regularly but again, not obsessively. Take time to do something else – get outside, watch a favourite show/movie, read a book – The Bible (you’ve got time!), sit quietly, call a friend, paint, create, clean up… lots to do!


Stay connected (at a distance) and stay healthy.Continue to be kind and compassionate to one another.We will get through this together with God’s help.


Grace and peace, John.

Rev. John Borthwick Minister | St. Andrew’s Guelph

Update on COVID-19 Response

I am providing a follow-up to yesterday’s messaging around COVID-19 and the intentional steps that we are taking to ensure that our members are safe, and that we are seeking to respond in compassionate and risk-informed preventative ways. Yesterday’s announcement that schools would be closed for a further two weeks after March Break certainly intensified people’s anxiety about this public health crisis. It seems that many workplaces are encouraging their employees to work from home and are postponing conferences and in person meetings. And we are watching images of long lines and bare shelves at our grocery stores. We are all concerned and are seeking to respond in the best way possible to prevent further spread of the virus and maintain a sense of calm.
To that end, having consulted with our Leadership, we will continue as outlined in yesterday’s messaging. We will plan to hold worship THIS Sunday unless advised by authorities otherwise. Please check our website (www.standrewsguelph.com) for information if we are required to close.
To prevent the spread of the virus, please as highlighted by WDG Public Health (https://www.wdgpublichealth.ca/your-health/novel-coronavirus-covid-19):

  • If you have traveled to infected areas, limit your contact with others and stay home;
  • If you have any symptoms, stay home;
  • Wash your hands;
  • Don’t touch your face;
  • Keep your distance from others (1-2 metres);
  • Disinfect and clean surfaces regularly.

For St. Andrew’s, as noted yesterday, we will practice the following:

  1. We will interact with one another with smiles, bows and waves, and words. We will refrain from any physical contact like hugs or handshakes;
  2. We will not pass the Offering Plates but will encourage attendees to deposit their offering in the plates before and after;
  3. We will not have Communion until June 7 as scheduled;
  4. We will practice SOCIAL DISTANCING. We will sit 1 – 2 metres apart in the sanctuary. “Give Each Other Some Space!”

This morning, I’m adding that effective TODAY:

  • There will be NO Church School and Nursery;

and,

  • There will be NO Coffee Hour.

This change will be in place for three (3) weeks. It would be our intention to return to normal on Sunday April 5. However, we will continue to monitor the situation and make further decisions as we become more informed.
Our staff are taking extra precautions and ensuring that our building is being cleaned and sanitized regularly. We appreciate their diligence on this. 
So at this time, we are NOT cancelling worship or closing our building. We are following the guidelines and recommendations from our public health authorities and will continue to do so. We believe that those who use our building through the week will be doing the same for their groups. However, if you personally would rather not attend worship or programs or groups at St. Andrew’s for a time then please do what you need to do in order to feel comfortable.

Two final things: 

1. At Sunday worship, while I will be offering prayers related to the COVID-19 pandemic – it will not be the focus of my attention. In my opinion and experience, (especially with the 24 hour news cycle) we need to think about and set our minds on other things for a time. I look forward to sharing some more thoughts on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 6. The service and sermon are recorded on Sundays and will be posted on our website and the Facebook page in the days following;
and,
2. As we enter this period of ‘social distancing’ and isolation, it is REALLY IMPORTANT that we take extra steps to maintain contact with each other. I’d encourage you to call or email members of our congregation (and neighbours) to see how they are doing. Take the Church Directory out one day and perhaps call people whom you’ve never met before and just say that you go to St. Andrew’s too and you wanted to see how they were doing. Certainly, keep regularly in touch with those whom you do know well. It will be a welcome change from duct cleaners and Revenue Agency calls. Finally, some of our older members may need assistance – maybe they need groceries or supplies – please offer to help them if you are able.
We continue to be in prayer for all who are impacted by this situation. We will get through this together by making risk-informed decisions, taking appropriate precautions to limit the spread of the virus, and being kind and compassionate to each other as we do so. 
May God’s peace and patience rest upon us as we navigate the road ahead.


Grace and peace,

John