Note: You can download a pdf of this letter here.
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus…” ~Philippians 2: 1–5
January 9, 2020
Beloved St. Andrew Community:
Did you know we have multiple, interrelated behavioral policies that help us to ensure health and well-being in our communion—especially those we consider most vulnerable among us? Our priority of care for our children and vulnerable adults is a sacred trust. It grows from the sacraments; from the promises we make in baptism and the insights we gain at the communion table.
First of all, there’s baptism. In this sacrament we intentionally and with self-awareness gather around promises. Foremost are the promises we understand God to be making to all God’s creation, to the church, and to individuals known in the stories of God’s fidelity throughout the scriptures, and particularly in the self-giving of Jesus who is our pattern for life and ministry. Our own promises to and for one another emanate from the God who acts first. In response, as a congregation, we promise to care for the baptized as if they are our own:
We are excited to announce that Andrea Shirey has started her work as Director of Children and Family Ministries. Please take time to welcome her to her new role. Andrea's work is to help all of us to fulfill our baptismal promises to our children, youth, and families—to “guide and nurture them by word and deed, with love and prayer, encouraging them to know and follow Jesus Christ.” Andrea is a connector with a lot of energy and people skills that will help her to be a partner to all our children and their families. Andrea’s role is just under half-time (18 hours per week), and she will work with Amber Oakes who has engaged many of our youth in Afterplay during the year and will continue to do so. As we move toward the fall, the shape of the role will become more developed. In the meantime, have a conversation with her. Share your hopes and gifts and listen for hers. You can reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's a bit more about Andrea:
Five Random Things About Andrea
Called To Be Here
It is our first day here at Purdue University for Triennum 2016. This youth trip is very dear to my heart because I attended twice when I was in high school so many years ago. I also attended three years ago as a youth leader. This time it felt different, busy different. I decided that I would be the registrar for the Seattle Presbytery. At the time of Presbytery putting out a call for youth leaders no one was stepping up. To me I thought that I couldn't let our delegation not be able to experience the amazing power this conference has on our youth, and at a time when we need the youth to be together and figure out how they see themselves going into the world to be disciples of Christ. Like I said, this time though felt different because I took on way more than I thought and going into the months of logistical planning and collaborating with my other youth leaders I felt overwhelmed. I have to be honest I wasn't looking forward to going this time and felt like backing out.
Then I got here and attended the first worship with our youth. The music, the words and being together with the youth of today changed my attitude. Dr. Rodger Nishioka, currently director of Adult Education Ministries with Village Presbyterian Church, Prairie Village, Kansas, and a former teacher at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, said this while talking about the Luke reading of Jesus' birth.
“For whatever reason, you are called to be here. That is not your doing; it is the doing of the Holy Spirit and the grace of Jesus Christ. You’re here because God has called you here and has a plan to reveal God’s self to you in some way. If God can reveal God’s self to a bunch of stinky shepherds who live in the field how dare you sit there and think to yourself: God could not possibly reveal God’s self to me because I’m only a young person with no sense of power. Your job is to pay attention and when you see something, you say something. The shepherds go and seek, I hope you are ready, friends let’s go and see.”
As I heard this I though so long ago to when I heard the call to serve as the registrar that it wasn't my doing it was the Holy Spirit and Christ knowing I need this experience again. At a time where my life is full of commitments and schedules. I find peace here among 5,000 youth who are getting energized to go be disciples of Christ.
See videos and follow PYT2016 on the facebook page
As I remember it, back in the spring of 2007, Lisa Phillips was the one who first mentioned Maggie as a candidate for the newly created youth director position at St. Andrew. The idea seemed like a fine one to me. The interview team agreed. She had already been engaged in a growing leadership role. She had ben a Deacon. With young kids, she was already attuned to their world, questions, and needs.
As they say, one thing led to another. Most of you have walked this story with Maggie and with St. Andrew as she has walked alongside our kids and invited us to do the same, as she had integrated them deeply into our life together, as she has taken on not only a greater leadership role in our midst, but in the larger Renton community in our service to others. You’ve supported her as she discerned a growing call to ministry and headed to seminary. You’ve celebrated with her as she was named a Renton Citizen of the Year. You’ve prayed for her as she traveled to South Korea with the World Council of Churches.
Confirmation begins at St Andrew on January 8th. This year we will have four youth who will take part in the confirmation journey for the first time. As the process begins we will help these youth indentify a St. Andrew adult whom they would like to invite to journey with them as part of this process. In addition, all of the youth who took part over the last two years are also planning to take part again this year. These returning youth have said that they want to be part of the process again as part of their own faith journey, as well as be present as a support to their younger friends.