Monday, December 11

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.

We hope to see many of you here, along with family and friends, this Sunday at 11 AM for our annual Christmas pageant.  What a beautiful, fun, and moving way to tell the Christmas story.  We will begin 11:00 Worship with Christmas carols played by our orchestra of our children and youth, as well as quite a few adults who have dusted off their instruments for the occasion. We then will turn to the story of the incarnation with children and youth of all ages playing a role in this central story of our faith.     
   
Both our Christmas pageant and our recent cantata are evidence of what I have come to love about the people and mission of St. Andrew's: a high value placed on bringing generations of people together in the name of Jesus (generations in our choirs are a great example) committed servants who understand their role and take ownership of it, a treasure of musical talent, the willingness to share that talent, and incredible generosity in supporting the ministries of this congregation and community.  I hope to see many of you at worship.  Looking ahead to Christmas Eve where I know that I will see many of you at more than one service:
 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






Monday, October 9

Grounded and Growing

Just as our highways are carefully constructed, maintained, and adapted for future generations, so we must consider how we adapt our mission center, use current technology, welcome the gifts and talents of newer members, and discover fresh expressions of the Gospel in worship. 
   
      
As we prepare for the renovation and expansion of our building, we seek to remove many barriers with a full elevator, an enlarged narthex and chancel, larger and more accessible rest rooms on both levels, a drop off area at main entrance, increased handicapped parking, improved safety and security for our Sunday School and pre-school, and a new designated hospitality area (and expansion off current narthex) for the congregation and community. 
          
Adaptations along the way might not only open the eyes and ears and hearts of younger generations and newer members to the Gospel and the blessings of Christian community but also may open us up to the kingdom of God in ways we haven’t known before.  Pray for the leadership and faithful servants of St. Andrew's as we face this exciting road ahead together.  For more information go to standrewscampaign.org