Wednesday, December 27

A Blessed New Year

Dear Friends,
 As we get ready to turn the calendar page and look forward to the promises of 2018, I want to thank so many of you for being such a blessing to our congregation and communities in 2017.


This year concluded in wondrous ways for our faith community.  Over four services on Christmas Eve, we had over 700 people praising our newborn king.   I have received many positive comments about the energy in the room at worship and especially the power, grace, and beauty  expressed in the music. A big thanks to Janice Stickley and our children and youth,  Marcella Curtiss and our choirs, Lynette Becattini for all of her work behind the scenes, and  all of you who volunteered so much of your time during the Advent and Christmas season.  Also, a huge word of thanks is extended for your financial support throughout the year and especially on Christmas Eve where we experienced tremendous generosity  The way you have opened your hands, your hearts,and  your voices has brought more blessings to people in this community and abroad than you will ever know. 
    
This Sunday, New Year's Eve, we will have one Worship Service at 10 AM (No Saturday worship)
Next  Sunday, January 7, we will celebrate the Baptism of our Lord as we return to our regular worship schedule with worship at 5 PM on Saturday, Sunday Worship at 8:15 & 11 AM, and Christian Education on Sunday at 9:30 AM.  

Also on  Sunday, January 7 we begin two new exciting adult education gatherings at 9:30 AM:

Forgotten God (meeting downstairs in Jerusalem Room)
The Holy Spirit is the least understood (and often forgotten) member of the Trinity and yet is that part of God that is closest to us and impacts us most directly.  Join us as we continue this fascinating study and exploration of our faith.

Psalms (meeting upstairs in Daniel's Den)
An overview of well known songs of praise, prayer, thanksgiving, lament, trust, and deliverance.  Our time together will include introductions to the structure of the Psalms, when and how many of these Psalms were used in ancient times, and how they inform our worship together today.

 Finally, I make a sad face as I inform you that Christmas decorations will start coming down on Thursday January 4 at 6:30 PM.  Time marches on and while admittedly it is not as much fun as putting the decorations up, the company is just as good.  If you would be willing to help, it would be greatly appreciated.
   
 The month of December was quite a ride for us.  Now it's time to follow Jesus through the joys and challenges of 2018.  A blessed New Year to all.  See you in church!
Peace,
Pastor Mueller
standrewslutheran.com
pray-as-you-go.org
standrewscampaign.org
____________________________________________________________




Virus-free. www.avast.com


Monday, December 11

A Blessed Christmas

Christmas Eve

 10:00 AM -  Morning Worship 

Come join us for  familiar Christmas readings, beloved Christmas carols, and a special message from Pastor K who returns to St. Andrew's to preach this holy day.  Please invite family, friends, and long time St. Andrew's members for this special hour together.

4:00  PM - Family Worship
A more informal worship experience with familiar Christmas carols and many St. Andrew's children participating in the leadership of worship.  This experience is great for families with younger children (including a glow stick "candlelighting"), those of you who need to get home to prepare dinner, parties, and family gatherings, and those of you who are young at heart who will have your hearts stirred as we bring the innocent and wise together to praise the new born king.

7:00 and 10:00 PM - Candlelight Communion
Traditional Christmas Eve worship with familiar carols, special music from our choirs, soloists, and instrumentalists, the proclamation of the birth of our Lord, the celebration of Communion, and gathering with lit candles for the singing of Silent Night.  This is a night of reunion for many St. Andrew's families and an opportunity to bring welcome and blessing to many guests, some who are coming through our doors for the very first time.  Be sure to invite family members, friends, co-workers, or neighbors to join you for worship.  Come join us as we give thanks to God for the greatest gift of all, the life of his Son among us.
 Please keep in mind that there will be Christmas music before each of these services.  Come a little early to secure the seating of your choice and enjoy music of the season.  

New Year's Eve - Christmas Lessons & Carols - 10 AM
Celebrate Christ's birth in a simpler celebration around familiar readings and carols.  If we missed one of your favorites on Christmas Eve, there is a good chance that we will sing it on this day.
Our regular weekend schedule resumes on Saturday January 6 @ 5 PM and Sunday January 7  (Baptism of Our Lord) with worship at 8:15 and 11 AM, Christian Education at 9:30 AM.  
On behalf of our staff and Church Council, I wish all of you a truly blessed Christmas and a hope filled New Year.
Peace,


Pastor Mueller












Thursday, December 7

Christmas Cantata this weekend


A word of thanks to everyone who worked behind the scenes on this year's Advent Family Night.  What a wonderful evening for God's children of all ages.  A special thank you to our Director of Christian Education, Mrs. Janice Stickley and members of our Christian Education for coordinating this event.

We hope to see many of you here, along with family and friends, at 5 PM this Saturday night for our Christmas Cantata.  Join us for a joy filled hour together featuring special music from the choirs of St. Andrew's, the Christmas story retold, and beloved Christmas carols sung together.  This is a great way to get into the spirit of the season and an opportunity for those of you who will be traveling or have other commitments on Christmas Eve this year to celebrate with your faith community.  Bring family members, friends, neighbors, or co-workers for this special night together.


Also, mark your calendars for our Annual Christmas Pageant on Sunday December 17 at 11 AM.  

Christmas Eve Worship 
10 AM - Familiar readings, beloved Christmas carols, and a message from Pastor Kochenderfer who will be visiting with us that morning
4 PM - Family Worship with leadership and music from our children and youth, a Christmas message for the young and the young at heart, and a special candlelighting (using glow sticks for hands of all ages)
7 PM - Candlelight Communion with festive music from Brass, Sanctuary Choir, and Chapel Bells
10 PM - A prayerful. more intimate Candlelight Communion with music from instrumentalists and soloists


Blessings in this Advent season and in all of your Christmas preparations.
Peace,
Pastor Mueller










Tuesday, November 28

A Special Message for Parents

Dear Friends,
Below is an excerpt from an article I shared with you a number of years ago.  It feels like it applies this year more than ever for many of our families.  So with thanks to Pastor David Lose, who now serves at Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, I share with you this brief but important reminder.  Even if you are not a parent (or maybe you are a grandparent), fell free to pass this along to someone who needs this word of grace.  Finally, thank you for all that you manage to do for all the right reasons, to raise the children of our faith community to trust in Emmanuel, God in flesh with us, Jesus Christ our Lord.
"Whether your parenting a newborn, toddler, teen, or college-aged kid, all this gets amplified at Christmas time. So many opportunities, so many expectations. Way more, in fact, than any of us can handle.
So here's the deal: Moms and Dads everywhere: you don't have to be perfect. Because you know what? There is no perfect. And you know what else? You're doing enough. Really. More than that, you are enough. You just are.
Your job is to remind your kids you love them, do what you can to help them ring in the holidays with a modicum of joy and minimum of fisticuffs, and that's about it. Actually, that's not quite it — don't forget that you're invited to have a little fun as well. Because the thing is, God didn't come in Jesus to add stress to our lives. God came in Jesus to tell us that God loves us just as we are, not as the pictures on the parenting magazines tell us we should be.
This is hard to remember, but maybe if we remind each other of this once in a while over the next few weeks we can take a little bit of the individual and collective stress out of the holidays and sing "Joy to the World" like we really feel it."
Grace and peace,
Pastor Mueller


Monday, November 20

Thanksgiving Greetings

Dear Friends,

As many of us prepare for Thanksgiving Day and the weekend ahead, I want to wish you a truly blessed celebration.  Many of you will be gathering with loved ones and, while likely eating way too much food (Enjoy!),  offering thanks for God's abundant blessings.  May your joy be full and overflowing this Thursday and throughout the holiday season ahead.

However, let us also remember that there will be others for whom this festive season will not be experienced with the joy of abundance, nor surrounded by family and friends.  Many thanks to those of you who continue to reach out to bless the homeless and hungry of our communities at Thanksgiving and throughout the year to make a difference in lives that are hurting.

The weeks ahead can also be a time of great sorrow for those who are grieving the death of a loved one.  Take time to reach out to those experiencing loss, honoring boundaries and their desire to take a step back from festivities when needed, but reminding them that they are not alone.  

The Advent season in the life of the church is one of both contemplation and joy, sorrow and hope, darkness and light   as we wait with tenacity and hope for the coming of Christ in history, mystery, and majesty.

For those of you who are traveling this weekend, may your travels be safe. Blessings in this time of watching, waiting, and giving thanks.

(Remember that there is no Saturday worship this weekend.  We resume on Saturday December 2 at 5 PM)

Peace,

Pastor Mueller