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 Also Called

It was a bit unnerving to be called to ministry by that midnight spiritual revelation that caught me on my knees and very much by surprise. More surprising was to find my seminary classmates included many second-career people and mothers like me. In one class we read a book titled, “Also a Mother: Work and Family as Theological Dilemma.”1 I hated her title. I felt so guilty all the time about being in school, working toward a new career, putting my children in daycare, that I could not make sense of the, “also.” For me it was, “First, last, always.” After my ordination I finally understood the dilemma the author was wrestling with.

I stood before the Senior Adults lunch group to introduce myself for the first time in my new call. I told them about my faith, my education, my first career, my hopes for this new service with them. We then “opened the floor” to conversation and someone said, “Do you have any family you want to tell us about?”

For days, I felt the shockwave of having spent 5 minutes, at least, describing who I was and failing to mention my family, my kids! I had become in the career world, “also a mother.” Miller-McLemore’s challenge to us is an invitation to reshape the way we think of the gendered worth of work versus motherhood, but not both, and the absence of an option for men to embrace as fathers. This book nearly 30 years old; yet, the attacks today on women’s rights and the rights of transgender people and drag queens is rooted in the same ages old controversies of what makes a man and what defines a woman.

As our church begins a new church school ministry, we need younger and older adults, men and women and non-binary adults to step into the joy of being Mother/Father/Parent to our kids. Sunday is Hat Day. I invite you to put on a hat of being a faith parent to our children and youth. The kids need our commitment to them, not as an “also,” or afterthought. They need our First, Last, and Always—which is the promise of Christ for all of us.


I am the Alpha and the Omega,

the First and the Last,

the Beginning and the End. Rev 22: 13

1Author-Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore
Image: “Mother’s Love” by Fabio Trifoni is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Alpha & Omega” by Lawrence OP is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.


Myth or Fact

August 3, 2023
Myth or Fact
The most shocking moment of my seminary education was in my first class, Old Testament Survey. There we began by comparing ancient myths of creation, ancient codes of law, ancient histories with the stories in the Bible.

Imagine finding out that Scripture had a lot in common with all these other cultures and their sacred literature. The names were different. The dates rarely matched. Place names were not the same. Their gods were not, ever, our God. Yet, there was no denying the relationship between the tales. How could I possibly have been so deceived?!

Living Word
Overtime, I came to realize that this was like a Bible boot-camp in which our preconceived notions were blasted away with our class- and homework, and then rebuilt from a new foundation. Knocking away the mythology of my own cultural experiences became the piece of scholarship that solidified my faith in God through the revelation of this living word written thousands of years ago. Everyday, I learned something, heard something, grew in some kind of unexpected way, because I was immersed in community and scripture and prayer.
Come and See
That’s the point of church school. We gather, we pray, we read and we share our experiences in order to understand how God continues to reveal God-self to us through the Bible. More than that, in joining each other, we begin to see God break down barriers between us around our differences. We begin to appreciate how each of us comes to know a particular way of God’s lovingkindness, mercy, and justice.

Please begin to plan for your Sunday morning small group. There will be classes for all children and youth, and two classes for adults. Some will be straight up bible study, others will be topical. We need each other. Let us learn together about our God-given faith and purpose.

Sundays – 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. beginning September 10.

Peace, RevBev

Bible Study” by FotoGuy 49057 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Back to School

New again
Can everything old really be new—again? Can old church patterns be re-woven into something relevant today?
I sure hope so! Because one thing never changes. The best way to follow Jesus is to do what the first 12 followers did. They got together and talked and experienced life with Jesus. We can’t provide Jesus but we can provide the time and space for the living word to be shared with each other, and
…where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them. Mt 18: 20
Starting September 10-Church School for All Ages!

The Session is excited to announce the beginning of a new season of Discipleship.

On Sundays, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., you are invited to come to church school. There will be two adult classes; a youth class; and classes for nursery; 3yo-Pre-K; K-2nd; and 3rd-5th graders.

Your Discipleship Committee consists of Adults: Ally Fetch, Youth: Clark Seipt, Kirsten Shields, Children: Sarah Sassak

For the children’s ministry
Please consider how you can support the children’s ministry: teaching or serving as a teacher’s aide, or behind the scenes in providing snacks or stocking the supplies, supporting the Sunday program as an overseer (in old language the Sunday School Superintendent). The goal is to have at least 24 teachers so that each team of 2 will serve 1 Sunday every four weeks. Over the course of the year this is 8 Sundays. You will have a training workshop to learn about the curriculum and the support you have and the monthly requirements. Attending the workshop does not commit you to volunteering. It is meant to be informative to help you discern if you can say

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!      Isaiah 6: 8

Backpack blessings for Back-to-School will be August 20. Watch for more to come from the youth and adult ministries as we move into the Fall Kickoff, September 10.


How’s your spirit?

How is it with your spirit?
Is life satisfying? Do you have a sense of peace, everyday? In our Roamin’ with Romans series, Paul constantly asks us to pay attention to our soul, our allegiance to the Spirit of life and peace. Now is the time to prepare the soil of your soul for the planting of news seeds of faith. Can we have that Spirit without doing anything?
I join Paul in saying, “YES!” And, “NO!”

Yes, because this spirit is a gift of God through Christ. This Spirit breathes life and peace where she wills and it is not up to us to direct her or harness her. This is the freedom of God at work in the world to bring the new creation.

No, because Paul also instruct disciples to learn and grow and work out our salvation. St. Andrew will begin a new again commitment to intentional spiritual formation this fall.

Church School
The Discipleship Committee will be introducing a whole church program of “learning together about our God-given faith and purpose.” The first component will likely be a Sunday schedule of educational opportunities.

Please begin to pray about your spiritual development and how you want to grow. It may be in Bible study, or in topical conversations. Perhaps there are particular questions in your life that you wish you could ask—and get an answer from—God.

Now is the time to prepare the soil of your soul for the planting of new seeds of faith.

“what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” Mt 13: 23


JESUS MAFA. The parable of the sower, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48309 [retrieved July 20, 2023]. Original source: http://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr


The Joy of Summer

Ah. The joy of summer.

The fireworks were fun, and I remembered how hard it might be for veterans, gun violence victims, and dogs. What does it mean to enjoy things that are hard for others to endure?

It’s vacation time. I confess being one of those who has to check myself when I start to become jealous of my friends travel pictures on social media. What does it mean to envy others’ joy?

Life is so full over the summer break from work and school routines. It seems light, more carefree, especially when you hear the voices of children playing in the yard. What does it mean to smile when others are enduring their first summer without someone they love, enduring a death or divorce or breakup, that has shattered their care-free serenity?

Perhaps we enjoy an overflowing meal cooked on the grill and abounding in laughter with friends, while in the very back of our minds we hear the cries of children who have no lunch or breakfast when school is out.

Everyday is full of contrasts like these.

How are Christians meant to reconcile these truths with our faith in a benevolent God? One whom we claim as a personal Creator who knows even the number of hairs on our heads? One who declares we are worth much more than the birds in the air and flowers in the fields?

The only answer any one of us can give comes from our own experience of divine love and goodness. I do not know how God might bring love and goodness to someone who is suffering. I can only know how God met me in my own. I then have two helpful options (at least). I can be the bringer of hope as God has been for me, or I can empathize and share the moments of hopelessness to dispel the loneliness felt in God’s apparent absence.

A Contrast Embodied

Imagine that you are God’s contrasting evidence to the belief that life is nothing but fleeting moments of captured joy and selfishly-retrieved prosperity. You are the evidence, in this amazing world you inhabit, that there is a God who loves and cares for others. You may never know who tells the story of your kindness and declares, “that was the day I knew God had not left me alone.”

So, whatever today may bring, let this be a day the Lord has made! Rejoice and be glad in it!


Tennis, Pie & Grace

Tennis, anyone?

This week was the 50th anniversary of the WTA—Womens’ Tennis Association. In a BBC interview, Billie Jean King identified three goals in creating the WTA: that any girl who was competitive, anywhere, would have a place to compete, that women and girls would be appreciated for their accomplishments, and that women could make a living doing the job they loved.

This was the first professional women’s sport to have equal payouts in the top tournaments beginning with the US Open in 1973. It took until 2007 for all the Grand Slam tournaments to accomplish this goal. When the WTA began, women could not obtain a credit card in their own name. That did not happen until 1974. The passage of Title IX, the non-discrimination act regarding educational institutions receiving federal funds, passed in 1972. The Equal Pay Act became law in 1963. Even so, today, women receive 83₵ for every $1 a man makes (FT wage/salaried positions). Appreciating and affirming the gifts, skills, and calling of women is not an accomplished feat, whether we consider payscales, opportunities, or healthcare.

It’s not pie.

This is spiritual warfare in its oldest form—pitting men and women against one another—as if we are in a winner take all tennis match. Grace is sweet but it’s not pie. Grace and love and the bearing of God’s image is not offered in small servings. There is not a limited amount that needs to be divvied up and fought over. Jesus does not dole out God’s love in measured doses based on gender identity.

When we follow Jesus, neither should we. Equality is good news in a world where the last shall be first (see Mt 19, Mt 20, Luke 13), there is no longer slave nor free, male and female, for all are one in Christ (Gal 3: 28). The good news is the victory of equality is assured. The question is whether we will be known for aligning our labors, our lives, and our love on the side of equality.

We have good news.

SAPC is in a unique position in church culture. Called to be a church where everybody belongs, the women here currently outnumber the men in elected positions of ministry. Not only do we appreciate and affirm the women of this church, we empower them. Because belonging is more than being welcome. Belonging includes shared power and privilege in leadership, in decision-making, and in the church of Jesus Christ, in proclaiming the gospel.

Because these gifts of God, and the fruit of the Spirit in each of us, is not a limited grace, we need to be very clear that women’s equality does not free men from their calling. Rather, this equality restores the beloved community to the state in which all humanity sees itself as one and each serves God more fully and capably as a whole and holy people.

May every voice be lifted up calling to others, “there is room at the table and more than enough for everyone.”
(image by Cherchies Specialty Foods, cherchies.com)


2022 Blog Posts are archived HERE.