To support our Minister, our congregation offers many talents to accomplish the work of the church including those members of the congregation who:
- With the direction and guidance of the Minister, can provide leadership for the various church programs
- Provide the organizational skills necessary to undertake our mission
- Have talents for leading worship and prayer groups, and for teaching and advising children, youth and adults
- Are called to actively care for the ill, the grieving and the needy
- Are skilled in singing and/or playing musical instruments; and
- Possess the practical skills necessary for the upkeep of the church’s buildings and grounds, and to handle the church’s finances.
The Sunday Service is an important keystone for St. Andrew’s congregation and we value the time we spend together in worship. Over the past few years the conduct of worship has become more informal, friendly and spontaneous; however worship is still conducted with dignity and order. Visitors often comment on the warmth they feel in our service and how it helps them spiritually. Wherever possible, we involve the congregation – in particular, readings, music, greeting and ushering at special celebrations and family services. We participate in a weekly sharing of celebrations with our “Celebration Bank” in conjunction with Children’s time in the service. Another important aspect of Sunday Service is “Prayers of the People” which keeps the congregation connected to those in the community who are in spiritual need and in our thoughts as we offer a communal prayer.
We are indeed blessed with two Ministry of Music leaders whose efforts have been instrumental in making music such an important part of our worship experience at St. Andrew’s. Our music leaders contribute organ, keyboard, saxophone, flute and drum accompaniment. Community members have frequently been invited to share their musical talents as well. We continue to maintain an adult choir and a praise band. During the past few years we have staged 3 major Christian musical productions raising the profile of St. Andrews in the greater community.
Pastoral Care is vital to our congregation, especially in the form of crisis visiting. Typically, members have expressed a need to have the minister visit when there is a family or personal crisis. Of late, elders have taken on some pastoral care duties previously handled by the minister and are receiving training in this field. The congregation is divided into districts with an elder assigned to each. “Prayers of the People” during the worship service enables us to keep abreast of any situations within the church family (and beyond) that would require our prayers and/or pastoral care. We also embrace a “Leading With Care” ministry responsible for the development and communication of policies and safety procedures regarding the security of members, especially the youth, the elderly, and the otherwise vulnerable. Our Prayer Group meets weekly for corporate (group) prayer which is open to everyone who wants to participate. It begins with a reading (most recently from the writings of Michel Quoist and Oswald Chambers). Prayers lift up church family, community, the world and all God’s creation.
As a caring congregation we are active in developing and conducting outreach programs in the community and we maintain active involvement in our community through such varied activities as the local Food Bank, Vacation Bible School, and the annual Doors Open event. Monies raised through our Celebration Bank Are distributed throughout the year to International, Canadian, and local charities on a quarterly basis. In 2012 we sponsored an address by Senator Hugh Segal on “Ending Poverty”; in 2011 we welcomed a leading member of the local Muslim community to address members of the general public at St. Andrew’s. In 2012 we joined with other local churches in the annual observance of the World Day of Prayer. We are supporting youth attending a local alternative high school by contributing financially to their hot lunch program, and have offered to assist the providers in other ways to be jointly determined. Youth at risk in the community are supported financially at Christmas. This year at our Vacation Bible School we successfully teamed with 4 other local Christian churches for our first multi-faith VBS! Our congregation has sponsored three separate mission trips to El Salvador including one major initiative in 2008.
We currently have a number of students enrolled in our Sunday School Program and are looking to expand participation in the program. The children also participate in our Sunday Worship Service before they go off to Sunday School. Throughout the year there are also special Inter-generational Services during which the children remain in the sanctuary with their families.
Our Bible Study program currently includes:
- DVD Ligonier 8 week series on “Who is the Holy Spirit?” by lecturer Sinclair Ferguson;
- A layperson leads a study at local retirement residences Fox Run (weekly) & Carveth Care Centre (on an eight week rotating schedule with other members of the local ministerial association ) ;
- Adjacent congregations at Lansdowne/Caintown have been given an open invitation to conduct a study led by their interim minister (we also participate).
Involvement in the Denomination:
We strive to be aware of the work of all courts of the church (Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly) and to support our denominations mission and outreach through “Presbyterian Sharing…” and PWS&D. In addition, our clergy have been active in the local ministerial association.