Saturday, December 29

A Blessed New Year

Dear Friends,

As we get ready to turn the calendar page and look forward to the promises of 2019, I want to thank so many of you for being such a blessing to our congregation and communities in 2018.

This year concluded in wondrous ways for our faith community.  Over three services on Christmas Eve, we had well over  500 people praising our newborn king (This is in addition to 200 the day before at our Christmas Pageant)    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 Nicole Kruvczuk and our children and youth,  Marcella Curtiss and our choirs, Lynette Becattini , Charles Armstrong, and Wendy Leinhauser for all of their 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. 
    
Tomorrow  we will have one Worship Service at 10 AM (No Saturday worship tonight)
Next  Sunday, January 6, we will celebrate the Epiphany 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 6 we begin two new exciting adult education gatherings at 9:30 AM:

Music Since the Reformation (meeting upstairs in Choir Room)
This series, led by Dr. Don Joye, will cover music development from the Reformation and touch on contributions by the masters (including Bach, Handel, Beethoven, and Haydn) as well as other modern examples.

Sin of Certainty (meeting upstairs in Daniel's Den)
Difficult passages of and questions about the Bible and how we often mistake "correct belief" for faith when what is really needed is trust.

Finally, I make a sad face as I inform you that Christmas decorations will start coming down on Monday January 7 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 2019.  A blessed New Year to all.  See you in church!
Peace,
Pastor Mueller
standrewslutheran.com
pray-as-you-go.org

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Tuesday, December 18

A Blessed Christmas

Lord, Jesus Christ
Thank you for coming one holy night so many years ago.  Thank you for meeting us in a manger in love and humbleness.  Thank you for reaching out your hand to fill us with mercy and forgiveness.  Thank you for sending us angels to announce your birth so that there would be no doubt as to your majesty and goodness.   Shine a light in our darkness.  Be born in our hearts today and everyday.  Come Lord Jesus.



 4:00  PM - Family Worship
A more informal worship experience with familiar Christmas carols and 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  prior to  each of these services.  Come a little early to secure the seating of your choice, especially @ 7 PM.

Sunday December 30 - 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 5 @ 5 PM and Sunday January 6  (Epiphany 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 6

Christmas Cantata Coming Up

A word of thanks to everyone who worked behind the scenes on this year's Advent Family Night.  What an incredible evening for God's children of all ages.Thank you to everyone who shared in crafts, food, laughter, and love.  Thank you to everyone who pitched in cleaning up at the end of our night together.  And a very special thank you to our Director of Christian Education, Mrs. Nicole Kruvczuk and members of our Christian Education Committee for coordinating this wonderful event.  If you missed it, bummer!  There's always next year!

We hope to see many of you here, along with family and friends on Saturday December 15 at 5 PM  for our Annual Christmas Cantata.  Join us for a joy filled hour together featuring special music from the choirs of St. Andrew's (adults, children, bells, chimes, and brass), the Christmas story retold, and beloved hymns 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.

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

Pastor Mueller








Wednesday, November 28

Toy Drive Underway

It's about that time of year again!  Time to find those bargains on toys or pack up those unused toys (in good condition) to share with a family in need.

We are collecting new and lightly used toys for distribution at Grace Lutheran Church in West Philadelphia.  This annual tradition of giving and receiving brings smiles to many faces.  Please drop off your toys in the narthex or St. Andrew's Hall by December 10th.   If the toy needs batteries, we would appreciate it if you could supply / install them as a special gift. We will also need a few hands on deck on Wednesday morning December 12th @ 9 AM to help load up the truck for delivery.  Blessings  to you in this season of giving!

Monday, November 26

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?


Dear Friends,

Below is an excerpt from an article I shared with some of you around Christmastime last year.  I think many families need this once more   So with thanks to Pastor David Lose, who 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), feel  free to pass this along to someone who needs this word of grace.  Finally, thank you for what so many of you do to manage to raise children  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