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June 15, 2023

“Stop and smell the roses,” we are told. Summertime becomes our down time when we finally try to slow our lives a little bit and take a vacation. Yes, this is very much a privilege of economically advantaged people in our culture. Most people don’t have the opportunity to get away from it all. I have found alternatives on my back porch—birdwatching.

“You’ll never hear birds here,” my friend explained. We were looking for a new home and I had a prerequisite—birds! But the house we were considering was near the world’s busiest airport and my friend explained that flocks are a danger to airplanes and airports therefore have some mitigation to discourage their presence. The house was too right to pass up and the airport noise seemed to be white noise on all our visits. So, I gave up the birdsong.

Our first night I was awakened by two sounds. Trains! Not pleasant! Eventually, I did not awaken to these nightly horns, as long as I was asleep before their scheduled arrival. The other sound, like an alarm clock for the rest of the summer, was the mockingbird. Right outside the window. Definitely a full-throated singer. Probably as loud and nearly as annoying, as the trains. Eventually, it, too, only disturbed restless sleep from which I probably needed waking up anyway.

The good news is there were plenty of other birds, some interesting singers, some just noisemakers. I could sit all day and watch and listen to birds. It makes me feel — content, at peace. Turns out that is not just me.

The Washington Post shares news of two studies finding that birdsong has a “time-lasting link” to improved mental wellbeing. Listening to birds, and even listening to recordings of birds, for as little as six-minutes a day improves your state of mind, and reduces things like anxiety, depression effects, paranoia, and general negative moods and emotions. Perhaps the songs of nature are a gift from our God, who desires that we enjoy life, abundantly. Listen Here!

By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches.

From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,

and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?   
Ps 104: 12-13, Mt 6: 16
I hope you’ll take time to smell the roses, but better yet, listen to the birds.
Peace, Rev Bev
Rose image, MarcusObal, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Mockingbird image, By GenQuest – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=104863785By Ryan Hagerty -:Images from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=273568


Summer Sundays Roamin’

Summer Series

Who’s here this summer? Are you on the road again? Off to the beach or mountains or grandparents? Maybe you are planning a staycation, chilling on your patio or if you’re lucky by a cool stream or pool around the neighborhood. Do you love to share vacay photos? (Read on.) Renewal is essential to healthy spiritual growth.

Wherever you are, you can take in the stillness of a summer sun and know the hug of love from God, or the loud thunder of a summer storm and read Scripture about God’s booming voice. The point is, wherever we wander, there we are found by God’s Spirit. The Lord is never absent from your presence and longs to see you enjoy the gift of Sabbath and re-creation.

Here at SAPC, we will have a “vacation” summer, too. We are going:
Roamin’ with the Romans.

Roman roadbuilding enabled their culture, their armies, their law to spread out across the west and middle eastern nations. The same roads allowed those nations to go to Rome. Paul had dual citizenship, and his last stop in life was Rome. His letter to the new church in Rome is the first of the letters in our New Testament.

While we read this book of the Bible and learn about the beginnings of the western Christian church, we will take a look at the world where the PCUSA is engaged in mission, too. We will wander, having worship in the sanctuary, in Fellowship Hall, outside, and possibly even off campus.
 Wanna share your favorite vacation stories?

I’d love to hear your vacation stories. If you are travelling this summer and want to share a few minutes of your trip (or home vacay) and how you experience God outside the building and life of SAPC, consider sharing this good news with the church. Please email me at beverly.friedlander@standrew-pres.org or call me.

If you typically worship online, this road show will affect what you see on Sunday mornings. Likely there will be a hymn, a scripture, a devotional sharing related to the Sunday sermon, and a prayer. There may be some Sundays without a live event, only a recorded one. What would you like to see? This is your chance to shape what is most important to you for home worship.

Ready, Set, MOVE!

Oh—that just happens to be the name of VBS, which begins Monday! Let’s go!

Peace, Beverly


Songfest, Supper, Sunday Funday

June 1, 2023

Neon Music Sign

It’s a Songfest Sunday! Many church people can and do say they believe in the God of the Bible. They do not read the Bible though. They sing songs and trust that the lyrics are reliable words from the Bible.

For some of us our faith is significantly shaped by the theology of our favorite music. My 2 favorites: Go Tell It on the Mountain and I Love to Tell the Story. So, you know why I preach, since I struggle to carry a tune!

Sunday, when we honor the doctrine and God who is the Triunity (yes, that’s a word you haven’t used), we will not try to describe this 2000-year-old declaration. We will sing songs that make our hearts open to the mystery of God.

For those in the sanctuary, you will be offered the chance to request a song from the hymnbook. For those online, (or others) worshipping on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., you are asked to email zack.henderson@standrew-pres.org with your preferred hymns.

If you need a hymnbook for home worship, please call the church office or come by to pick one up.

As we listen to the choices our friends make, we will learn more about how God is part of the lives we share in this church. We will learn more about the mystery of who God is to people at St. Andrew. And we will begin to see the doctrines that shape our faith as a group and connect with each other in new ways.

Please plan to come, even if you don’t like to sing, so that you might hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
We will also share communion.  IF that doesn’t entice you, come early and hang out after for the picnic.
We kick-off summer with Songfest, Supper, Sunday Funday. See you there!

Rev Bev

Sing to God; sing praises to his name;

lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds—

his name is the Lord—

be exultant before him. Ps 68: 4


Fresh Wind

May 25, 2023
Today is the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. Can you breathe any better today than the 3 years and 1 day ago?
Perhaps you are offended by the way people have used the Christian name to pronounce a white nationalist agenda, or any number of dehumanizing paths of bigotry, misogyny, heterosexism, and hatred. Perhaps you can’t find a spiritual space to breathe, to find hope that faith in something greater than ourselves is present and at work to bring peace and abundant life for all. It that is you, you are waiting on the Wind. That is, you are waiting on a life-giving breath of fresh air.
Perhaps you are looking for something other than “traditional” church-life. Check out this innovative pastor (who happens to be a friend of mine), Marthame Sanders. His podcast church is called aijcast: art inspiration justice. In his words, “we explore the connections between the artist and their art, their sources of and hopes for inspiration, and how it all tries to make the world a better place.”
If you need places that touch your spirit through art or music, this might be the place.
His church just might help you breathe and work for a better world.
And join St. Andrew online or in-person on Sundays, 10:00 a.m eastern, as we, too, seek fresh winds of the Holy creating a space where everybody belongs, and can breathe.


Ordinary Time

May 18, 2023

So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart. Ps 90: 12

How much longer?
Are you counting the days? Yes, to your vacation, probably. Or at least until school is out and routines and traffic and crowd patterns change. Churches do, count days that is.

Three Sundays away is Trinity Sunday and then—Ordinary Time begins! 

In other words, we are counting days until the next holy day (holiday). People look forward to soul-refreshing moments. Perhaps we need to pay attention to soul-sucking lifestyles that make us look for something better, and anxious to get away from our ordinary lives. Imagine if everyday was a holiday. Imagine creating a life to which every morning was a breath of fresh air and you couldn’t wait to start the day. Imagine opening your eyes excited about the adventure ahead, the possibility that something wonder-full was about to happen.

I’ve been thinking about two aspects of churchy life. One is the soul-draining busy-ness of church. Planning, meetings, leading, fixing, recruiting, meetings, promoting, administering, did I mention meetings? Business as usual. And that doesn’t take into account the upkeep of property.

Within this administration is ministry. When a person is working within their spiritual gifts, business to one becomes purpose to another. As a pastor I have enjoyed a great sense of purpose. I have also had days when I wondered if what I was doing makes any difference. In my work, I have discovered that everyone I meet has that spiritual quest in common. We all want to know our own lives mattered and made a difference, to someone, to anyone. We want purpose.

Burned out or Breathing?
If you are feeling burned out by yor ordinary life, by your work, or by your church work, ready for a break, hoping no one asks anything else of you—take the gift of Sabbath. During that time, patiently, prayerfully, joyfully, studiously, honestly ask, “what’s the point and where do I fit best?” Allow yourself time in your ordinary day, the counting down time, to think about the coming of the holy moments when you have said, “this was worth it.” 
If you’re looking, feel free to join us at St. Andrew as we, too, learn together about our God-given purpose. 

And whatever you do, breathe. “Breathe in peace. Breathe out love.” (song here)

Breathe in the wonder of new sunlight and summer showers. Breathe in the gifts of summer laughter whenever you can. Breathe in the pace of people being away, or present during summer travels. Let the wonder of Ordinary Time become the way to the holy in every day. You might also note, once you’re on that getaway, there is a moment when you start to think, “how much longer,” until I go back.
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Ps 90: 14
 We count our days. Let’s make each one count.


Changing Earth Changing Ourselves

May 11, 2023

I recently watched the documentary, “The Year the Earth Changed.” Our world came to life when human beings went into hibernation during the 2020 lockdown. People in India saw the Himalayas from their homes hundreds of miles away for the first time. Whales fished in community while their calves were safe in the distance, because “mom” could hear them if needed. The same was true for Cheetahs who could hunt and then call their cubs from hiding more safely. Penguins survived in Cape Town because they could fish and feed more than once a day. Turtles survived in record numbers because beaches were deserted. New ways to manage food harvests were developed in lands where elephants needed management, increasing the human harvest and feeding the animals. This real time event demonstrated the devastating impact human choices have made on our environment.

It also showed us, especially Christians who believe we are meant to care for creation, that whatever we can do to make a positive impact we are called to do for the glory of God.

Maybe you are like me. A lot of good intentions and some labor towards change. Recycling. Trying to eliminate plastic. Reusable shopping bags and, from time to time, I even remember to take my dishes to restaurants for my leftovers to keep from bringing home another Styrofoam box. I have a confession. I’m not very good at earth stewardship.

“You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy laborers,
whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land in one of your towns.” Deut 24: 14
 Fair Trade
Saturday is Fair Trade Day in the PCUSA. Fair Trade certified products have to meet particular labor, material, and growing conditions that are just. There are a number of organizations that support Fair Trade practices. Check out this PCUSA website as one example of the impact of shopping Fair Trade:


SAPC is committed to a number of hunger ministry opportunities. We also contribute to the One Great Hour of Sharing, which supports reducing hunger. Fair Trade is part of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.

Jesus said, “do you love me,” and his disciple replied, ““Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” John 21: 17
Practicing Peace and Love
I’ve been thinking about the ways I shop. Why don’t I always buy fair trade goods? Sometimes they are not available. However, remember when there were no organic products in the grocery? Now there are whole sections and the prices are drawing closer and closer to equal or better than non-certified organic.

We can have the same impact if we ask our stores about fair trade products.

We can have a positive impact if we served Fair Trade coffee and tea here at church and home.

This week I invite you to learn more about Fair Trade products and let’s strive together to do one thing this month to support Fair Trade. In this way we may,

Practice peace and love through acts of healing and reconciliation.
From the 2023 Ministry Plan, SAPC


2022 Blog Posts are archived HERE.