St. Andrew's & St. Paul's United Church
"Thy WORD is a Lamp unto my Feet
And a Light unto my PATH"
We are pleased to welcome you to our new web-page.
St. Andrew's & St. Paul's United Church has a long rich history that goes back over a 100 years. Our church is built on a strong foundation of faith and fellowship which we now hope to share with all of you online.
Also known as The Russell United Church, we have an active membership that is more like a family. St. Andrew's & St. Paul's United Church is an active participant in our community and welcomes new members at all times. We gather as God's people and strive to:
"TO KNOW JESUS AND SHARE HIS LOVE"
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Recorded sermons uploaded weekly.
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I came across this little piece put out by the Roman Catholic Church. In the article it speaks of the Song of Songs, which is part of the Roman Catholic Bible; but many Protestants omitted this text, feeling it was a little too racy to be a sacred text.
Before Hallmark, before long-stemmed roses delivered to your door or your desk, before heart-shaped boxes of chocolates with embossed “flavor maps” — there was St. Valentine. Actually, there may have been two. The history’s pretty murky, and includes legends about an early Christian priest martyred for surreptitiously helping Christians to wed. So uncertain are the details, in fact, that in 1969 the Roman Catholic Church officially discontinued liturgical veneration of St. Valentine, though he’s still on the list of recognized saints.
But the holiday lives on. It turns out Chaucer, of all people, may be the reason why: the late-medieval poet penned “Parliament of Foules” sometime around 1375, including a link — embellished by more than a little poetic license — between courtly love and St. Valentine’s feast day. February 14, Chaucer wrote, is the day birds come together to find a mate: “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.” A lovely day indeed — and as the poem’s fame spread, so did the day’s association with affection, both avian and human.
But however fanciful these various legends may be, there’s a deeper wisdom beneath the whimsy. For centuries in Christian thought, the most prestigious book in the Bible, the “graduate school” of Christian spirituality, wasn’t Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, or the Book of Genesis, or the Psalms. It was the Song of Songs, an ancient — and pretty racy! — romantic poem about love in a world fraught with danger. Over the centuries, the poem was interpreted as an unsurpassed figurative portrait of the love between God and God’s people.
Not that God’s love for us is sexual; rather, the idea is that the intensity, intimacy, and delight of sexual love can be a kind of window, a sacramental parable, for understanding God’s love. Divine love is tender and kind, immersive and ecstatic, full of longing and delight. It’s vulnerable, beautiful, gentle, and strong.
No doubt St. Valentine would approve.
So this Valentine’s Day, think of all the love in your life — the love you feel and the love you witness; the love you remember and the love you long for; even the love among the birds of the air! — as a glimpse of God’s care for all creation. And if you’re especially perceptive or especially mischievous, you can glimpse divine love even in places as ordinary as a sweet little greeting card, an arrangement of flowers, or a “flavor map” embossed on a heart-shaped lid.
If we have eyes to see and ears to hear, the truth about God’s love is that it’s all around us, the Song of all songs, the Symphony of all symphonies, echoing everywhere.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
What to Expect
*** Due to pandemic restrictions many usual part of service have been removed or adapted.
Please ensure you bring your mask to service at this time
Greetings & Introduction
Lighting of the Candles
Hymns (no singing at this time), Prayers
Children's Story, Ministry of Music Presentation- not offered at this time
The Nursery*, Sunday School, and Youth-not offered at this time
Scripture Readings & Reflections
All are welcome to join us for refreshments in the Upper Hall after Worship. We are unable to offer refreshments or congregating at this time but look forward to the future and meeting everyone.
We are Accessible!
St. Andrew's and St. Paul's United Church strives to be accessible to everyone.
The church has parking beside the building and designated areas for permit parking. We have a full ramp to access the building as well as one inside the sanctuary to access the upper hall. We use projection screens and bulletins to share information throughout the services.
We are always looking to improve so please do not hesitate to contact us if you are unsure or have specific needs.