Dear St. Andrew’s Community,
Just a few quick notes:
· The pastoral transition continues. Just today, Jen was part of our Worship Committee meeting which included plans for advent and beyond. She is bringing fresh ideas and valuable experience, and I think everyone is excited about this new possibilities on the horizon.
· This year’s stewardship campaign has begun. Dana and Ann are a mobile camera crew who are visiting members to ask they why they are enthusiastic to be part of St. Andrew’s future; you will see the first four minute video this weekend. I surprised myself by volunteering to write the appeal letter to everyone, based on what I have learned about you and can see in your future. Pending session approval, you will receive that next week along with pledge cards.
· On next Tuesday’s session agenda is also a report from the Health Advisory Task Force about reopening, meeting with two people who want to join, reviewing a plan to replace Chris Davis, and finalizing details of my departure in November.
· Goleta Presbyterian is hiring a part-time Office Administrator and Treasurer. Details below.
· Last week I concluded the “Glimpses of Paradise” series. I’ve taken some time to review the nine weeks to summarize the themes which you can also see below. (I always like remembering where we’ve been.) This week, we’ll see how a basic understanding of the two words for love Jesus uses in John 21 can give us practical tools to make a difference in our everyday life – including in political discussions.
Glimpses of Paradise Series: A Brief Summary
1. At Heaven’s Gate – Jacob’s Dream at Bethel. Asleep in the wilderness, Jacob has a dream in which he sees a stairway to heaven with angels ascending and descending. He gets a message to be faithful to his duties and God will be with him.
2. “The Wonders Around Us” – We looked at Psalm 104 and saw we can experience “paradise” here and now in the glory of nature.
3. “Openings” -- In the first chapter of John, Jesus tells Nathaniel that he will see “angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man” if he becomes a disciple.
4. “Almost There” The Beatitudes teach us that we can experience the “kingdom of heaven” in the midst of life’s challenges if we open our minds and hearts to God and others.
5. “Heavenly Experiences and Everyday Grace” Paul tells of his mystical experience of being “caught up to the third heaven,” but that did not mean he was free from a “thorn in the flesh.” Instead he found “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
6. “Border Crossing” We looked closely at the context and meaning of Jesus’ words to the criminal on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
7. “Imagine the Path to Heaven” Scott drew on his many years of experiences of being a hospice volunteer to encourage us all to be open to what people “see” as death draws close.
8. “The Other Place” The story of the “Rich Man and Lazarus” provided us with a way to see the importance Jesus placed on connecting with the poor as a crucial litmus test of our faithfulness.
9. “Imagining Heaven” We looked at passages from the book of Revelation and saw how heaven has been imagined in Handel’s Messiah, spirituals, film and Dante.