Dear St. Andrew Members and Friends,
Together with Patty and our family, I come to you again with overflowing thanks for your prayers, messages, and gifts of food left at our door as COVID-19 came our way and resulted in Patty’s illness at home and my five-day-long hospitalization. As our daughter Lauren one day exclaimed, “The church is on our porch!” And that you were, for which we are forever grateful to God and to our wonderful church family!
I also give thanks for the outstanding and faithful ministry of Pastor Nick Gonzalez, our church leaders, and staff members who served with conviction throughout the Christmas season. From online worship to acts of compassion and human care, the work of Bethlehem’s Child was carried out beautifully!
I must admit that, while I was very happy to be home from the hospital for Christmas, I was saddened to learn that not only would I not be worshiping with you, but that you wouldn’t be worshiping with each other. As you know, our leaders, like those of many churches, made the difficult decision to suspend in-person worship as the virus increased its spread through, among other things, holiday travel at Thanksgiving and during the Christmas season.
This week, after looking at the latest information, our leaders have decided to hold off on in-person worship and small group communions for a bit longer, given that the full consequence of Christmas and New Year’s travel has yet to be realized. However, our services online will continue, and it’s our fervent hope that it won’t be long before those who so desire can safely gather to praise God and draw strength from the company of His people. I know it will do my soul good when that day comes!
Meanwhile, given the lower level of risk associated with the operation of St. Andrew’s Preschool, I’m happy to report that classes have resumed and that, so far, there have been no known incidents of COVID transmission since the preschool’s original opening last fall.
Although the New Year did not bring a magical end to the hardships of 2020, I do look forward with great anticipation to better days ahead as vaccines are administered and we are able to gather in larger numbers and more familiar settings to honor God and enjoy our life in Christ together. The process may be gradual, and for now includes an unhappy pause. But God’s promise through His prophet Isaiah is that “those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.” Rejoice with me in that promise! Join me in that patience! And look forward with me to the time when we will worship, serve, and celebrate life with renewed strength by God’s grace!
In the words of Pastor Ken Carlson, “Happier New Year!” And thank you again for your prayers, patience, faithfulness, and loving care!
With gratitude and love, in Christ,