Livestreamed Worship Resumes Sunday August 16

After a mid-summer break, St. Andrew’s is back to Livestreamed Worship this week. Our Home Service will go live on YouTube this Sunday August 16 at 10:30am (though you can join early at 10:25). It will also be available by telephone for those without internet. We’ll be taking a break from our Zoom Coffee hour until September, but feel free to say hello in the YouTube live chat.

The YouTube link to the Livestream, an order of service and the Family Worship video will be posted here and on our Facebook page Saturday evening. Music this week will be led by Bob Marshall. If you aren’t able to join us live, a recording of the service will be available Sunday afternoon.

Home Worship – Sunday August 2, 2020

Good Afternoon Everyone

Welcome to our Home Worship service for August 2. Today was the celebration of Communion, which we held by Zoom video conference. Below is a recording of the service as well as our Family Worship Video.

Gathering Songs

You can listen to these songs to prepare yourself for worship:

Scriptures

Family Worship Time

Home Worship Video – “Seeing the Signs”

News:

    • Worship on Sunday August 9 will be led by Rev. Dr. Dong-Ha Kim. This will be another Zoom Worship service. The church office will email you the Zoom link on the Saturday afternoon ahead of time.
    • Worship for the rest of August on to Labour Day weekend will return to the pattern of Live-Streamed services on YouTube most weeks, and a Zoom Communion service on the first Sunday of the month.
    • Planning for a Return to In-Person Worship: The Reopening Taskforce has begun meeting and will be submitting recommendations to Session for the return to in-person worship when it meets again on Wednesday August 12. This will include a target date for our first in-person Sunday, as well as a plan for safety measures. We are be encouraged by the low case numbers across the province and within the Hamilton region, but all plans will depend on how the public health situation continues to develop in the coming weeks.

Best,

John

Zoom Communion This Sunday

St. Andrew’s Sunday Worship is back from our mid-summer break. This Sunday August 2, we will be worshiping by Zoom video conference at 10:30am. Our service will include the celebration of communion, and live music.

If you aren’t on St. Andrew’s email list and would like to join our service please send an email to revjohnread@gmail.com by 9:00am Sunday. If you aren’t able to join us live, the service up to the celebration of communion will be recorded and posted to YouTube by the early afternoon.

Initial Response to Provincial Reopening Plan for Churches

Many, if not most of you, may have heard that the province of Ontario will be allowing houses of worship to reopen across the province at 30% capacity as of  Friday June 12. This applies across the province including regions like the City of Hamilton that have not yet progressed to Stage 2 of the Ontario Government’s reopening plan. This news comes much earlier than expected as other provinces have only allowed churches to reopen for worship in later stages of their reopening plans.

While this is encouraging news, the Session of St. Andrew’s will be taking a cautious approach to restarting our in-person worship service, and the building will not be open for worship this week. There are a few reasons for this:

    • The Presbytery of Hamilton has asked that congregations refrain from reopening for worship until the Presbytery determines that it is safe to do so. The Session will not reopen the church building for in-person worship until we have Presbytery approval to do so
    • Hamilton has not yet transitioned to Stage 2 of the reopening. Session believes that restarting worship before Hamilton is at least in Stage 2 would be unwise and unsafe.
    • The initial announcement from the Government of Ontario mentioned that additional guidelines for houses of worship will be forthcoming and we cannot plan for reopening until we see these guidelines.
    • Reopening will take thorough planning and preparation, such as the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment, establishing cleaning and safety procedures and a broad consultation with the congregation. This will take time and cannot be rushed.

The top priority for Session is the safety of all members of the St. Andrew’s family as well as the safety of any guests who might join us for worship. We will be meeting again this coming Tuesday June 16 to discuss our next steps, and after that we will need to consult with the congregation before we make a final decision about when to reopen for in-person worship services. Therefore, it will likely be a few weeks before we come to a final decision.

In all things we trust that the Lord is guiding us into his will and desires the good of his church and everyone who is a part of it. You remain in our payers as we continue to make our way through this pandemic together. In times like these we are reminded of the fact that the church is first and foremost a community of people held together by the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know.

Yours in Christ’s Service,

The Session

Update on Response to COVID-19

As the situation has developed the Session (leadership) of St. Andrew’s has taken further steps going forward.  Look here for updates as things continue to develop or in your email.

Sunday Worship:

We will not be gathering for worship at the church building until the week of April 6 at the earliest. If publicly funded schools reopen that week, we will do the same – however, there is the real possibility that school closures could be extended. Session will be monitoring communications from public health officials and respond accordingly.

We will be offering online worship services. Starting this Sunday (March 22) there will be a video service available at 10:30am.  You will be able to find the YouTube video here, and there will also be a message with a link sent to everyone on our email list at 10:20am. We encourage you to set apart our usual worship time, and we will provide additional resources for you to worship at home.

Pastoral Care:

Pastoral Care will continue for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. Indeed, we will be deepening our care for each other at this time, especially for those who are isolated at home. The Session and members of the pastoral care team are developing a telephone ministry to regularly check in with members of our congregation. Care and communication will also continue through email, card ministry, and prayer for our church family (especially for seniors, whether in their own homes or retirement homes).

We are offering assistance to anyone who needs help obtaining groceries and other essentials. If you are self-isolating, or are in an at risk group and staying home to safe guard your health and need someone of pick up groceries and household essentials for you please call the church office (905-648-6024) or email standrewsancaster@gmail.com. Amber, our office administrator will be working from home for the duration of the current situation but will be checking phone messages and email regularly. We will then arrange for one of the elders, or another member of the congregation to get in touch with you.

Pastoral Care is also the ministry of the whole congregation. Please take time to call and check in with other members of the church who may be isolated or in need of support through this time. If you would like an up to date telephone directory, please let me know and I will send you one by email.

Christian Education:

We’re looking at options to provide families with some educational resources and activities in the coming weeks.

Mar 15 – Worship Service Cancelled

It is with a heavy heart that Session has decided to cancel our Sunday worship service for tomorrow, March 15. The public, government and church response to COVID-19 has continued to progress rapidly over the last 24 hours. In light of these developments, the most responsible decision is for St. Andrew’s to cancel our service as well.
Over the past few days we have been investigating options for video recording and live-streaming a version of our service so that we can still worship together on Sundays even if we are physically separate in our own homes.
Session will have something in place for next Sunday, but in the mean time Rev. Read will be preparing a short video message with a devotion and time of prayer that you can watch during our regular time of worship tomorrow.  A message will be sent out to the congregational email list  at 10:00am tomorrow morning which will contain a link to this video message, the Bible readings for the day, and some other worship resources. This message will also be posted here on the church website.
The Session will also be meeting for prayer and discernment during our regular 10:30am worship time. We will be discussing how we can provide care and spiritual support the members of our congregation during this time, and continue to be salt and light in our community. Session will continue to provide updates and news as the public health situation continues to develop.
Though we will not be physically together tomorrow morning we will still be united through our Lord Jesus and by his Spirit. The Lord is still risen, God still reigns and Sunday is his day, no matter what is going in this world and in our lives.
May you know his grace and peace always,
Rev. John Read

Mar 18 – Let’s Do Lunch Cancelled

As noted in our response to the Coronavirus COVID-19 we have cancelled our Let’s Do Lunch gathering that was scheduled for Wednesday March 18. Please pass this message along to others who normally attend this event.

The Session of St. Andrew’s will be monitoring the public health situation over the coming weeks and determine whether or not to hold Let’s Do Lunch in April.

Responding to Concerns Surrounding Coronavirus COVID-19 – Updated

In response to the recent news about the coronavirus (COVID-19), our prayers to God are for those who are ill with this virus and for those who care for them, especially in countries that have been most affected. We also pray for health and frontline workers as they face their daily tasks. And we remember those communities and businesses that have been affected and any facing discrimination as a result of the circulation of the virus.

Public Health officials tell us that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to any virus. General prevention measures include:

  • Get your flu shot if you have not already received one.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Stay home if you have influenza/respiratory virus symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, trouble breathing).
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Currently, the risk of getting COVID-19 in Canada remains low for the general population.  But as the last few days have shown the situation can quickly change. Everyone should use their best judgement on how to minimize risk, especially for those who are most vulnerable:

  • aged 65 and over,
  • with compromised immune systems,
  • with underlying medical conditions.

If you’re rejoining us after travelling abroad, please review the suggested guidelines on the federal government’s website https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices which has the most up-to-date information for returning travellers.

Sunday Worship

  • Worship has been cancelled for Sunday March 15. Session (the Minister and elders) will be meeting to determine our next steps as a congregation in light of the public health situation. We will keep you informed in the coming days and weeks by email and here on the church website.

Other Church Events

  • Let’s Do Lunch is cancelled next Wednesday March 18. We will continue to monitor the public health situation over the next few weeks before making a decision about the April Let’s Do Lunch.
    • Please pass along the news to any friends from outside the congregation who normally attend Let’s Do Lunch.
  • We are also cancelling our Children’s Choir rehearsals and Messy Church gatherings until classes resume at Ontario Public Schools. Current plans are for schools to reopen on April 5.

Going Forward

The Government of Canada provides updates as well as other health safety practices and resources at: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html. Information about the current status of the situation in Ontario is available on the Ministry of Health website at www.ontario.ca/coronavirus. It’s important to ensure that you are using credible sources of information like these to get your information about COVID-19.

Introducing Messy Church

St. Andrew’s is introducing a new worship, learning and community gathering called Messy Church.

Messy Church has been a highly successful approach used by churches across the United Kingdom, Canada and the U.S, as a way to open the door to families who aren’t connected to a church. The basic idea is that people don’t have to have it ‘all together’ in order to come to church (to learn more go to: https://www.messychurch.org.uk/).

It’s for all ages together (kids, parents, grandparents and other family) and involves crafts, a meal and a short time of informal worship. Going forward it will run once a month on a Saturday.
September 28 will be our trial run and will be for those who are already part of our St. Andrew’s family (including adult children and grandkids of our Sunday congregation).
 
We’ll begin inviting our neighbours to come to Messy Church starting with our October gathering on Saturday October 26 (10:00am to Noon).
 
If you have any questions or would like to help with future Messy Church gatherings email: standrewsancaster@gmail.com