Please email or call Mary Sanders in the church office (firstname.lastname@example.org; 816-523-1602, ext. 110) to reserve seating for each week.
Reopening for In-Person Worship on July 12
July 3, 2020 — Fr. John Spicer, Rector
I’m pleased to let you know that St. Andrew’s will reopen for in-person worship beginning Sunday, July 12. This is joyful news, but living it out will take great caution and a focus on the needs of others.
Why are we allowed to open now? Our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Martin Field, has changed the criteria by which he is allowing congregations to reopen. As he wrote, “With the count of new COVID-19 cases going up and down on a daily basis in our communities, I believe it is impractical for me to continue requiring a 14-day decline in COVID-19 cases before I give the OK to reopen. Instead, going forward, I will base my consent wholly on the quality of the disease-prevention practices being put in place” in each congregation. We have developed a plan that includes the best practices identified by public-health officials: social distancing, required use of masks, no contact, and no congregational singing. I believe these steps will keep the risk of infection as low as it can be in a pre-vaccine world.
Much of the Sunday experience will feel familiar, and we’ll follow our usual Sunday schedule. We’ll also continue offering worship and coffee hour online. However, many aspects of our worship and fellowship life will be different starting July 12. Here’s what you’ll need to know.
- We’ll celebrate Holy Eucharist at both the 8:00 and 10:15 a.m. services, but we’ll administer only consecrated Bread, in the form of wafers. Parishioners will come forward (socially distanced) to take wafers in paper cups from tables near the pulpit and lectern. Those who don’t want to receive the Bread or who attend online will still receive Holy Communion fully – what the Church calls “spiritual Communion.” The logic is the same as when you receive Communion in the hospital but can’t take anything by mouth: Jesus is fully present to you, and your Communion is efficacious, even if you don’t receive the elements physically.
- We’ll observe six-foot social distancing at all times within the church, which will limit our attendance to 90 people for each service. Because of this limitation, please email or call Mary Sanders in the church office (email@example.com; 816-523-1602, ext. 110) to reserve seating for each week. We’ll take up to 85 reservations for each service and leave five spaces available for guests who don’t know about the reservation system. Please renew your reservation each week that you would like to attend.
- To facilitate social distancing, we’ll block off every other pew and limit occupancy of standard-length pews to three people. Members of households may sit together without that social-distancing requirement.
- Following the city’s guidelines and best practices in public health, we’ll require that everyone over 2 years old, including clergy, wear face masks when in the church for worship and other gatherings. We ask you to bring your own, but we’ll also have masks on hand.
- Children’s ministry will continue online only, with no in-person gatherings. Nursery care will not be available on Sunday mornings for now.
- Please do not sing to limit the dispersal of droplets.
- We won’t pass the Peace, or otherwise greet each other, physically.
- We’ll use printed bulletins containing all the text you’ll need. All shared books and cards have been removed from the pews. An usher, wearing gloves, will hand you a bulletin at double arms’ length (the usher’s and yours), which is about six feet. Please drop your bulletin into a basket in the narthex after the service.
- We won’t use nametags to reduce the chance of virus transmission by touch.
- Instead of passing alms basins, you can place your offering in standing basins or give by text.
- We won’t gather in the narthex after worship or offer coffee hour. We’ll move outside directly from worship, and the clergy will greet you (at a distance) under the porte-cochere.
- No food or drinks will be available, and we’ll turn off common drinking fountains, ice makers, and coffee makers.
- We’ll limit the number of building-entry points, asking people to enter and exit only through the porte-cochere doors on Sunday morning. We’ll keep the doors open to minimize contact with doorknobs. The porte-cochere doors will stand open before and after worship, and the nave doors will remain open throughout the morning.
- We’ll place hand sanitizer at entrances. Please be sure to use it!
- We’ll clean surfaces before, between, and after services, as well as before and after meetings.
- Weddings and funerals may be scheduled once again, following the requirements above.
- The Friday noon Eucharist will remain suspended for now.
Although I’m very pleased we’ll soon gather again, I realize resuming in-person worship will feel too risky for many of us. In fact, many of us should not come to church. As you know, my wife, Ann, has a chronic pulmonary illness, and she reasonably won’t attend in person when we reopen. Many of us have solid reasons why we should stay home, and among those solid reasons is simply being unsure whether it’s safe. If you’re concerned about your health or the health of others in your family, I urge you to keep worshiping online. I won’t be disappointed by anyone’s need to stay home.
Similarly, if you typically take part in a worship ministry but aren’t ready to come back to church, know it’s just fine not to serve yet. You should not feel obliged to serve if you’re unsure about your safety.
The life of the church through the week will also resume, in a limited way, following July 12. The office will once again be open Tuesday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.). However, some staff members will keep working from home to minimize infection risk. In addition, parish groups may meet in the church again after July 12, although room capacities will be smaller because of social-distancing requirements. To get your group’s meeting back on the calendar, please contact Mary Sanders. If you prefer to continue meeting online, please do. HJ’s Youth and Community Center will not reopen yet. We’re taking a “walk before we run” approach to reopening so we can make safety the top priority, and we’ll reopen HJ’s once we feel secure in our infection-control procedures in the church. But groups may gather outside at HJ’s – again, socially distanced.
I know this is a lot to digest, but every aspect of this reopening plan seeks first to protect you and the guests God brings our way. It’s a time when “love your neighbor” means taking very practical steps to put the well-being of others first. Thank you for doing that as you wash your hands, wear your mask, and keep your holy distance.
Your Holy Week Journey
April 3, 2020 — Fr. John Spicer, Rector
We’re days away from the most spiritually significant time in the Church’s life, Holy Week. Beginning this Sunday, we’ll take an eight-day journey with Jesus – from the royal praise of Palm Sunday, to the servanthood and sacrament of Maundy Thursday, to the sacrifice of Good Friday, to the anticipation of the Easter Vigil, to the glory of Easter morning. But, with the coronavirus epidemic, the journey will look different this year.
Of course, one major difference is gathering online instead of in person. Our Holy Week services will be available on the live-worship page of our website – both the regular Sunday-morning livestream and worship with comments on Facebook Live. You can now access both from the same webpage, (scroll down to find the Facebook feed).
Although worshiping online means we won’t be together physically, it gives us opportunities to involve ourselves in the drama of Holy Week in new ways – a surprising blessing of this strange time. I encourage you to create a space in your home, a sacred space, where you can take part in Holy Week worship. The image to the right is from Mtr. Anne Hutcherson’s living room, with her coffee table set as a spot for connection with the divine. As you can see, it doesn’t take a heroic effort. It just takes the intention to mark out a space where you can come together with God, and your online parish family, to journey to the cross and empty tomb.
Here are our Holy Week worship opportunities, as well as some suggestions to get you thinking about what you might do with your own sacred space.
On Palm Sunday, April 5, at 8 and 10:15 a.m., we’ll remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem leading not to worldly kingship but to the glory of the cross. In the church, you’ll see palms and palm crosses to be blessed (sadly, for distribution later) on a table decorated with a cross and flowing red fabric. In your sacred space, you might place a candle and a cross on some red fabric, and you might cut a small branch from a tree in your yard to set in honor before Jesus. You might also include some token of royal status – perhaps something gold or an image of a crown.
On Maundy Thursday, April 9, at 7 p.m., we’ll remember the two iconic moments from Jesus’ last gathering with his friends – washing their feet in humble service and promising to be with them always in the bread and wine, his own Body and Blood. In the church, you’ll see a table covered with a white cloth, and on it will be two focal points: a bowl and towel to represent the foot-washing, and a paten and chalice to represent Holy Communion. In your sacred space, on a white cloth, you might place a small bowl and towel, as well as a plate and cup, from your home. As worship ends, the focus will shift to the Garden of Gethsemane altar of repose, where the reserved sacrament will rest through the night. The livestream will remain on all night, and you can watch with Jesus virtually at whatever hour works for you.
On Good Friday, April 10, we’ll have two opportunities to experience the mystery of Jesus’ death on the cross: first, a video of our Stations of the Cross, which you can access anytime that day from standrewkc.org/live-worship; then the solemn liturgy for Good Friday live at 7 p.m. In the church, you’ll see the stark wooden cross adorned with the crown of thorns. In your sacred space, you might place a cross on a black cloth or with black draping. You could surround it with bare sticks or thorns, or perhaps three large nails.
On Holy Saturday, April 11, our “8-1-8 Prayers” at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. will be the brief liturgy for Holy Saturday – a spare service of readings and prayers reflecting on the time creation spent in silence while Jesus lay in the tomb. Your sacred space might retain the elements from the night before, with the cross still dominating the scene; or you might strip everything away, with only a black cloth and an extinguished candle marking the emptiness.
At 8 p.m. on Holy Saturday, we’ll offer a pared-down version of the Easter Vigil. Typically, this service moves from the near-darkness of the paschal candle’s flame, through readings from the Old Testament setting the stage for Easter’s salvation, through Holy Baptism, and finally – with the church suddenly bathed in light – the first Eucharist of Easter. Given the stay-at-home order, we won’t celebrate baptism or Eucharist; so, the Vigil will conclude with us reaffirming our baptismal vows and waiting eagerly for the joy of resurrection the next morning. In the church, you’ll see the paschal candle burning in the near-darkness, as well as the baptismal font. In your sacred space, you might place a new candle on your black cloth, to be lit along with the new paschal candle, as well as a bowl of water to remind you of your baptism.
Finally, our Holy Week pilgrimage comes to its glorious exclamation point on Easter morning, April 12. We’ll worship at 10:15 a.m. only, since our 8:00 and 10:15 a.m. Easter services normally are identical. Without celebrating Eucharist, the experience will be simpler than usual. But we will have a trumpet and a soloist (appropriately distanced) along with Dr. Tom Vozzella at the organ, helping us proclaim the glory of life made new. In the church, you’ll see lilies and other spring flowers adorning the font, the paschal candle, and the altar. In your sacred space, you might place your new candle and a cross on the finest white linen you own, with flowers from your yard adorning the scene and reflecting the transformed reality of resurrection: An instrument of death becomes our way of eternal life.
Truly, this will be a Holy Week like no other, and none of us would have scripted it this way. But we trust God will be with us through it, for “we know that, in everything, God works for good with those who love him” (Romans 8:28 RSV). Even in a pandemic, resurrection happens. And Jesus is inviting you to walk the way of the cross and the empty tomb along with him, even in your own home.
March 26, 2020 — Fr. John Spicer, Rector
As of today, we find ourselves under a stay-at-home order for at least the next month. For many of us, the order only enforces our current practice to protect one another from infection, but it’s disconcerting nonetheless. During this time, the church building and HJ’s Youth and Community Center are closed, with only essential tasks happening onsite. Staff members are working from home, including answering the church phones and door buzzers remotely. Although we’re not physically present in the building, we are still here for you. When you have a question or a need, please continue to call (816-523-1602) or email us as you normally would.
The buildings may be closed, but the work of the church goes on. Several classes and groups are meeting online (and not just the young adults!). Vestry members, as well as members of the Engagement Commission and Parish Care Commission, are calling parishioners to check in and ask about your needs, spiritual or otherwise. Please don’t think clergy, staff, or fellow parishioners are too busy to help. This is why we’re here – members of the Body of Christ called to care for one another. So, please give us the opportunity to do that by letting us know what you need.
We certainly continue to pray and worship together. You can join us online for “8-1-8 Prayers” daily at 8 a.m., 1 p.m., and 8 p.m. via Facebook Live. And our Sunday worship continues at 8 a.m. and 10:15 a.m., livestreamed on our website and available via Facebook Live. Click here for simple instructions for accessing these prayer and worship opportunities, and you don’t need a Facebook presence to be part of the prayers on Facebook Live.
Our children’s, youth, and family ministries also continue, just in different forms. Sunday School and Children’s Chapel happen online each Sunday at 9:45 a.m. via Zoom, and we’re delivering “Sunday School at Home” bags to our families’ doorsteps. Youth Group meets via Zoom on Sunday afternoons, and high schoolers are also getting together online for their own weekly conversation. To find out more, contact Jean Long.
And regardless of the coronavirus epidemic, we will make our journey with Jesus to the cross, the tomb, and the light of resurrection. This will be a Holy Week and Easter like no other, since we’re unable to gather in person or share Holy Communion. But together, we will still mark Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and the all-night watch, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, the Easter Vigil, and the joy of Easter morning – and you can join in each step along the way at standrewkc.org/live-worship. Look for a letter next week with all the details about our Holy Week and Easter services online.
For now: Read the Bible; say your prayers; come to worship online. And keep the faith.
Suspension of In-Person Gatherings
March 17, 2020 — Fr. John Spicer, Rector
With Monday’s recommendations about managing the spread of coronavirus by avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people, our bishop has suspended in-person worship and other church gatherings until further notice. This applies to all our worship opportunities – including Sunday mornings, Sunday Evensongs, and the Friday Eucharist – as well as in-person meetings and uses of the church by outside groups. Know that the church office remains open with essential staff, but we’ll follow community standards as the situation evolves.
As I said on Sunday, St. Andrew’s will still worship online. Beginning this week, March 22, we’ll livestream Morning Prayer at both 8:00 and 10:15 a.m. on Sundays. The 8:00 a.m. service will be spoken Morning Prayer, Rite I (language from the 1928 prayer book), with a sermon, two hymns, and a vocal solo, much like the feeling of our standard 8:00 worship. The 10:15 a.m. service will be choral Morning Prayer, Rite II, with sermon, hymns, sung psalms and canticles, and a choir anthem. We’ll also offer Choral Evensong and postlude recitals online the first Sunday of the month at 5 p.m.
In addition, as I said Sunday, we’ve begun offering brief live prayers, three times daily, on Facebook. You can remember it as “8-1-8”: prayers at 8 a.m., 1 p.m., and 8 p.m. In this challenging time, we’ll bless our world, and be blessed ourselves, by praying “together” more often.
Our weekly Lenten classes will continue online only. We broadcast the “Way of Love in Lent and Easter” via Facebook Live last Sunday, and we’ll do the same on Thursdays with our “Discovery” class. Both classes begin at 6 p.m. (we’re exploring other streaming options for classes, too).
Of course, Holy Week and Easter will fall within this period of suspended in-person worship. Be assured, we will observe Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter morning online. The schedule will be as usual and as has been published, other than Easter morning. Typically, our Easter services are identical at 8:00 and 10:15 a.m., so we’ll plan simply to have one service at 10:15 a.m.
Sadly, the suspension of in-person worship means we will delay our new Trailside service at HJ’s, which was to debut April 19. We haven’t yet determined when Trailside will begin.
As the need for funerals arises, we’ll work with families to schedule services in ways that both meet their needs and protect public safety.
As you might guess, asking people to stay home from worship threatens to put the church at a financial disadvantage. With all the attention on how coronavirus is changing our lives, it would be easy to forget to give. So, please don’t forget. You can mail your gifts to the church, give online, or text STANDREWKC to 73256.
Regardless of the disruption and threat from coronavirus, know that you are not alone. Your church is here for you, in prayer and in action. If you have a need, spiritual or practical, please tell us – whether it’s a need for prayer or a need for groceries. There are members of your church family who would love to help. Our only need is to know your need.
The coronavirus crisis threatens us not just physically but economically, relationally, and spiritually, too. I hope you’ll join me in praying for healing and wholeness – for people close to our hearts, for our city, for our nation, and for our world. But sometimes, when situations are this grave, we don’t know quite how to pray. If that describes you, let me offer two thoughts:
- Lean on the Book of Common Prayer. See especially the “Prayers for Family and Personal Life” on pages 828-833, as well as the prayers for the sick on pages 458-461. They will give you words you never knew you had.
- Remember that God knows and hears your heart: “The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). Especially in a time like this, every “sigh too deep for words” is a prayer honored on high.
In fact, not only are we supported by the Spirit, we are under God’s care. So, let us pray: “Glory to God whose power, working within us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever.” (Ephesians 3:20,21)
March 11, 2020 — Fr. John Spicer, Rector
Although worship and programming continue as usual at St. Andrew’s, we ask that you follow these precautions to minimize the risk of coronavirus infection:
- Please stay at home if you’re sick. You can worship online.
- Sneeze or cough into a tissue or the crook of your elbow, not into your hands.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, scrubbing for 20 seconds; or use hand sanitizer (bottles are available throughout the church building).
- Wash your hands immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
- Avoid touching your face (particularly your mouth, nose, and eyes), especially with unwashed hands.
- Regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces, including keyboards and doorknobs.
In the interests of ensuring your safety, we are making the following changes in our worship:
- We have suspended greeting one another, at the Peace and otherwise, in ways that involve touching hands or hugging. Instead, bump elbows, wave to others, offer a slight bow, or simply greet others verbally.
- Following our bishop’s directive, we will continue to serve both the consecrated bread and wine of Holy Communion, but with these changes in practice: We will serve the wine only from individual cups offered at standing Communion stations, and we have suspended the practice of intincting (dipping the bread into the wine). If you prefer to receive only the consecrated bread, know that Communion in one kind is considered full reception of the sacrament.
- We have suspended passing the alms basins and passing the red sign-in folders to minimize opportunities for touching common surfaces. You may make an offering into standing collection stations or online.
- We have suspended use of prayer books and hymnals. Congregational responses will continue to be printed in the worship bulletin, and hymns are being added to the bulletins, too.
- We have removed the holy water from our baptismal font.
We are also making some changes in how we serve food at church. These fall into two categories:
- At Coffee Hour or receptions, we will serve individually wrapped snacks.
- When we have meals at parish classes and events, participants will no longer serve themselves using common utensils. Instead, someone with well-washed hands will serve you, or the meals will be self-contained.
Finally, we will be intensifying hygiene protocols in our nursery and children’s ministry, and we will monitor recommendations from environmental-health professionals.
We are committed to providing a safe environment in which to worship, and we will continue to discern how best to protect you as we do the work God has given us to do in this complicated moment.
Good Financial News So Far in 2019
September 29, 2019 — Bill Aliber, Treasurer
Here’s a quick update on St. Andrew’s financial foundation as we head into the fall.
Through August, we are on track to meet our budget for 2019. Income is slightly ahead of budget, while expenses are slightly less than budget. In the world of high finance, that is a good combination – and not one we usually see here in September. We normally see a dip in pledge receipts during the summer; but this year, that was not the case. So, first and foremost, thank you for keeping St. Andrew’s in your hearts, minds, and wallets during the summer vacation season. As always, the Christmas season and the end of the year are critical to meeting our financial goals, but this year we will head into that important season on the positive side of the financial ledger. Second, thank you to Fr. John and his entire staff for being excellent stewards of our resources. This team is impressive in the manner in which they go about serving the various ministries at St. Andrew’s and equally impressive in the manner in which they are mindful of financial realities.
As we close out this year and begin to contemplate a budget for 2020, we are discussing several large projects and ministry needs:
- We need to plan for remaining deferred maintenance.
- We need to address the condition of the parking lot and sidewalks.
- The funding for one staff position, our engagement coordinator, has come partially from a special gift, which runs out at the end of this year. This staff member is responsible for building relationships with guests, bringing them into membership, and drawing existing members into greater participation – a vital role. Continuing it will require additional giving.
- Other ministry programs will continue to grow and push our current budget.
The operating expenses of the church are really no different than those of our individual households – they trend upward each year. As always and like our own household budgets, we will have to balance sources and uses, and ultimately we’ll have to make trade-offs.
We are truly blessed to have the incredible team we do at St. Andrew’s and to be able to provide so much in terms of our various ministries. All of this is made possible by your generous support. Thank you very much.
The Best Way to Give Assistance
August 27, 2019 — Fr. John
Recently, we’ve had more neighbors coming to our doors, especially when the parking lot is full, seeking assistance. Despite what may seem like significant situations of personal need, please do not offer cash. Instead, encourage visitors to come to the church from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. We provide assistance with utility bills, as well as a limited number of bus passes. We can also direct people to other community resources for food and housing. If you would like to offer financial help for people in need, please consider making a contribution to St. Andrew’s Benevolence Fund, the source of our utility and transportation assistance. Thank you very much for helping us love our neighbors.
Pastors Band Together to Speak Out Against Gun Violence
August 14, 2019
A reporter from KSHB Channel 41 interviewed Fr. John today about his sermon on Sunday, focusing on St. Andrew’s response to gun violence – praying for those killed each week, as well as bringing together congregation members with divergent points of view to learn to have dialogue in disagreement. Watch the segment here.
You can watch or read Fr. John’s August 11 sermon here.