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.