St. Andrew Messenger
Love, Celebrate, Nurture, Share and Serve
A word from Pastor Tom:
Renewal and Rebirth
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” – I Peter 1: 3
Easter is almost here! Actually, with the beautiful weather we have been having, it seems like Spring is already well underway and we have left Easter behind. This is due to two things: First, we are coming out of a drought, and the weather pattern has provided us with a lot of rain, making everything greener than usual. The second reason is that Easter is late this year.
Unlike Christmas, which is fixed on December 25, the date of Easter changes in ways that many people find baffling. Last year Easter was on March 27, this year it falls on April 16, and next year it will be celebrated on April 1. Why does it move around the calendar so much?
Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus, which occurred two days after his crucifixion, which was completed immediately before the Sabbath during the celebration of Passover. The Church Fathers wanted Easter to be held each year in conjunction with the Jewish Passover, which changes each year in relation to our calendar.
Passover is observed for seven days beginning with the 15th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar. This calendar is not based on the solar year, as our calendar is. Instead it is a lunar calendar, with the months following the phases of the moon throughout the year. Nisan marks the beginning of Spring, and before the 4th century the month did not begin until the barley began to ripen. In modern times, the beginning of Nisan is related to the Vernal Equinox. 15 Nisan, the first day of Passover, is during the first full moon following the equinox. This year Passover begins on Tuesday, April 11 and ends on April 15.
It is even more complicated than that. Sometimes Easter does not correspond exactly with Passover because at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD it was decided that instead of using the actual Vernal Equinox, they would establish a date called the Paschal Full Moon. This date could be predicted well into the future without having to make precise astronomical calculations, but it can vary from the actual Passover by several days at times.
Easter is late this year, but it still means the same. Easter is when we rejoice in the new life in Christ that has come because of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Easter marks the opportunity for new beginnings, new endeavors and new hopes. This will be the first Easter at St. Andrew since the retirement of Rev. Newell and the beginning of a new vision for our church. A new vision, a new beginning, renewed hope for the future. It looks like it’s time to celebrate Easter. Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed.
Another word: Traditions
The musical “Fiddler on the Roof” begins with Tevye the milkman singing the song “Tradition.” The song conveys the idea that traditions give unity and meaning to the small Jewish communities in rural Russia. Traditions are found in all religious communities. They undergird our faith, inform us of our history, and strengthen our ties to one another.
St. Andrew Presbyterian Church has many traditions. Most of these were introduced by Rev. Penny Newell and have been a part of your worship and life for many years. Perhaps you thought that these traditions were just the way things are done in a Presbyterian church, but I can tell you that many are unique to this church. In this semi-regular column, I will highlight a number of these traditions and attempt to give them some theological and historical perspective. This month I am focusing on your:
On Good Friday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m., we will have a Tenebrae worship service in the sanctuary. “Tenebrae” is Latin for “shadows,” and it is a service that makes use of darkness to convey the sorrow and dread that accompanied the crucifixion of Christ. The service goes back at least to the 9th century, and it is used on any of the last three days of Holy Week.
Expect three things in our Tenebrae service: First, there will be a lot of beautiful music. The choir is preparing a special cantata for the evening, and this will be the first time they will perform it. In addition, there will be hymns and instrumental music.
Second, expect to hear the story of the crucifixion, from the arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane to the death of Christ. Even though we know the story well, there is nothing so profound as to hear the whole story told all at once.
Finally, you can expect to experience darkness. On Christmas Eve the lights are turned out and we sing “Silent Night” in the dark. At that service darkness is warm and comforting, like sitting in a dark room before a fire. In a Tenebrae service, the lights are extinguished one by one and it creates a mood of sorrow and reflection. At the end, we are left with our own thoughts as we consider the great price Christ paid for our sakes.
Worship in April
April 8: 11:00 am Memorial service for Shirley Drye
April 9: Palm Sunday, Passion Sunday and the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering
April 13: Maundy Thursday; soup supper @ 6:30 with celebration of Holy Communion.
April 14: Good Friday; Tenebrae Service of Shadows @ 7:30 p.m.
April 16: Resurrection of the Lord; Easter.
April 23: Earth Day Sunday
April 30: Third Sunday of Easter
Palm/Passion Sunday is on April 9th. On this day, we remember the triumphant entry of Jesus into the holy city of Jerusalem, riding into town the acclaim of the crowd.
Maundy Thursday, April 13th, also known as Holy Thursday, is the day we remember the events of the last day of Jesus’ life, including the first celebration of the Lord’s Supper and his arrest. We will have a simple soup supper and quiet worship service in the Social Hall. Please use the flyer in your Sunday bulletin to let us know you will be coming.
On Good Friday, the day we re-enact the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, we will have our traditional Tenebrae Service of Shadows with some additions. “Tenebrae” means “darkness” or “shadows” and has been practiced since medieval times when it was a service for the monastic community. It is marked by silence, meditation and the reading of the story of that day. It is a good service to introduce children to this important aspect of our Christian faith.
Easter will be our joyful remembrance of God’s enduring love for his son and for us. We will have music, flowers, children and joy, followed by our annual Easter Egg Hunt. We invite all children over 5 years old to stay in worship and will provide activity bags for them to keep them occupied. Invite a friend or neighbor to the service and festivities.
On Palm Sunday and Easter, we request that those who are able park on the street, in the library parking lot next door or at the far ends of the parking lot, leaving space for guests and visitors.
“Mission” work is one of the central foundations of St. Andrew; Whether it’s giving back to our own community
or raising funds to support Presbyterian Disaster Assistance around the world.
Your recent generosity to our “Gift of the Heart” Mission project took in $959. This donation is specifically
designated to provide the Ferncliff Disaster Assistance Center in Little Rock, Arkansas with enough supplies to
fill one dozen Cleanup buckets! The volunteer teams at Ferncliff DAC process Cleanup buckets, Hygiene kits
and School kits. They are opened, inspected, re-boxed, weighed, labeled, strapped and palletized so they are
ready for reshipment as soon as disaster strikes.
Here are some Ferncliff DAC Fun Facts: http://ferncliff.org/disaster-assistance/
►Cleanup buckets are not shipped internationally because the chemicals in them are too volatile.
►oothpaste is not included in kits because it has an expiration date.(Right before shipping, toothpaste is added.)
►The DAC received 41,021 pounds of kits in 2016.
►The DAC sent kits to Louisiana and Texas in 2016 to help with flood cleanup.
►Cleanup buckets are the most expensive to make, while hygiene kits are the least expensive.
One Great hour of Sharing
Started in 1949, One Great Hour of Sharing is a long-standing ecumenical effort aimed at raising the funds necessary to provide relief and reconstruction for communities in the aftermath of disaster. What started as an hour-long radio appeal has evolved over the years, varying from eight to 29 participating communions, and has grown to be the most participated-in special offering in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Today, projects supported by One Great Hour of Sharing are underway in more than 100 countries.
The theme for the 2017 One Great Hour of Sharing Offering is taken from Isaiah 58, You Shall Be Called Repairers of the Breach and Loose the Bonds of Injustice and let the Oppressed go Free.
Around the world, people lack access to food, clean water, sanitation, education, justice and opportunity. Each gift to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) serves to help change the lives of people who are in these challenging situations. The Offering provides us a way to share God’s love with our neighbors in need. One Great Hour of Sharing, received in the season of Lent, makes a difference in the world through three impactful programs: Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self
Development of People. You will be hearing about these programs and the lives they have transformed in the Minutes for Mission in the month of March. The offering will be received on Palm Sunday, April 9th.
Mizpah Tea and Craft Fair
Remember to Save the date 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday, May 6
At the beautiful Shelldance Orchid Gardens, 2000 Coast Highway, Pacifica
Please join us for complimentary tea and refreshments!
Handmade crafts and beautiful plants for sale.
Free admission – Donations Appreciated
Proceeds benefit Mizpah Scholarships and other local community service projects.
St Andrews Financial Update 2017 Budgeted Weekly
Expenses Actual Weekly Offering
$4,503 February 5 – $6,239
12 – $3,072
19 – $2,036
26 – $3,941
For more than twenty years Matthew Edwards played piano and organ for our Sunday morning worship services and weekly choir practices. Due to personal reasons, Matthew resigned abruptly in December 2016, and we were unable have a proper farewell. The Session would like to present a monetary gift to Matthew and his family to show our appreciation for the many years that he worked for St. Andrew and shared his musical talent with us. If you would like to contribute to this gift, please write a check to St. Andrew Presbyterian Church and put “Gift for Matthew” in the memo. Donations may be dropped in the offering plate or sent to the church. Please submit your donations for Matthew’s gift by May 1, 2017.