As we prepare to kick off our fall semester I thought it would be a good time to update you on any number of items.
As the Delta variant continues to work its way through our community I want to update you on our practice at St. Andrew’s.
You will have noticed that many of the staff and a good number of our medical personnel members have begun to wear masks again to public worship gatherings. We think that this is a wise course of action and we are moving from a mask optional status to a mask recommended status. The most significant aspect of this change in status is that we are once again providing masks at our Welcome Center on Sunday mornings, along with hand-sanitizing stations.
For those concerned about the size of our Sunday morning worship services I remind you that our 6.00 PM Sunday worship service remains the best option for social distancing. The 6.00 pm service follows the same pattern with the same style of worship as our morning services in the Ministry Center Sanctuary. Live-streaming also remains an option.
I expect that it will not surprise you to know that I have received the Covid vaccine. For those who have yet to receive the vaccine, I encourage you to receive the vaccine. If you participated in our summer study (Confronting Christianity) you will remember our discussion of faith and science and the unnecessary divide between the two.
Our faith heritage has always embraced the medical arts as a gift from our Creator God who has given to us insight into the human body. I am reminded of John Wimber’s comment welcoming the gift of medicine noting that when he had a headache he prayed for healing and took two aspirin and thanked God for whichever worked first. The vaccine works, increasing your antibodies ten-fold, minimizing the effects and the likelihood of hospitalization/death. Having a fully vaccinated church goes a long way to ensure the health and safety of our congregation.
Growing in Spiritual Maturity
While faith is a gift, spiritual maturity involves effort as nobody ever drifts from immaturity to maturity. In words that have application for us all, the Apostle Paul wrote to a young pastor named Timothy that he should study, diligently apply himself to growing in the faith. As we head into the fall semester we’re looking forward to kicking off our various equipping ministries.
The Alpha Course
First, is our Alpha Course. Alpha takes place over the course of nine Monday evenings exploring the core elements of the Christian faith. Alpha is a great place for you, your friends, and your family to explore questions of faith. I hope you will be prayerful about your participation as well as who you will invite. Alpha is also an essential part of our new-member process as it provides all of those new to St. Andrew’s with a good understanding of what it means to be a part of this church and helps ground you in essential elements of the Christian Faith. We will also offer a concurrent online course. For more information or to register please click through to AlphaCharleston.com.
The Ridley Institute: Teach us to Pray
Secondly, the Ridley Institute kicks off its fall course, Teach Us to Pray, on September 28th. Do you desire to pray more deeply? Effectively? With greater intimacy and urgency? Or just pray more but you don’t know where to start? While the instinct to pray is common, we often don’t know how to pray – or have the words to pray. This eight-week course will lead you to learning how to pray with greater intimacy, confidence, and fruitfulness. You may register on our website.
Drawing Near to God
Finally, Drawing Near to God resumes their gatherings on Thursday, September 9th at 9.00 am. Joanne Ellison will lead a twelve-week study of Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. You may register at DrawingNearToGod.com.
9.00 am Blended Service
It remains our plan to return the 9.00 am blended worship service in the Historic Church. Our key need is a worship leader who can provide familiarity and continuity. A search for a worship leader (a part-time position) has been underway these summer months. The challenge at hand is that not many churches offer a blended service (a mix of hymns and praise songs) meaning that worship leaders lack familiarity (and thus, interest) with the style of service offered. I welcome your prayers that the Lord will lead us to the right worship leader.
In the family,