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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What is a Circle?

All Women of the Church Are Invited!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rally Day: September 2, 2007

Rally Day will be on September 2, 2007.
We will celebrate the ministries that make us a "community" of believers.
Everyone will gather in the Fellowship Hall at 9:00 AM for worship.
After, we will have a covered dish
Labor Day picnic!


We Have A Story To Tell

Sermon Podcast: Sunday August 26, 2007
We Have A Story To Tell
Pastor Spike Coleman

We Have A Story To Tell

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Click here to get your own player.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Meet Eddie Soto

Meet Eddie Soto. He has just moved to Charleston from Florida to be the Associate for Latin American Ministries for the Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery. This blog reporter was able to meet him and his wife this weekend. We all look forward to the great things he will do to help us embrace the latin american community in our area.

Brazil Through Foreign Eyes

Meet Eddie Soto, from the USA, who regularly travels to and from Brazil and other areas in South America with work. Read the following interview where he tells us about some of his most memorable experiences from Brazil and gives some useful advice to newcomers.

1. Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, what do you do etc.?

I am originally from new York City and my parents were from Puerto Rico. I studied here in the United Sates as well as in Central America. I have lived in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil. I am fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese. I did graduate work here in the USA and have a master‘s degree from Princeton. Presently I am an Associate Pastor in a Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee, Florida. Previous to this I taught in university level theological institutions in Guatemala, Venezuela and the city of Fortaleza in Brazil as well as in São Paulo City. Among my present duties I take groups from our church to different parts of the world to expose them to other cultures and expressions of the Christian faith. We have been to Costa Rica, Mexico, brazil and this year are planning a trip to Madagascar, Africa.

2. When did you arrive in Brazil and what brought you here?

I arrived in Brazil in August, 1992 to teach in a Presbyterian theological school in Northeast Brazil. First I studied Portuguese in Campinas, São Paulo.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

A happy, lively culture. I was impressed at the people‘s friendliness towards foreigners and their warm, rich hospitality. It is one of the most hospitable countries I know.

4. What do you miss most about home?

Presently I live here in the USA (returned in 2002 with my wife, who is Brazilian from São Paulo). I can honestly say that I miss Brazil very, very much and try to travel there at least once a year to be with friends and my wife‘s family.

5. What has been your most frustrating experience in Brazil?

The bureaucratic nature of the government and many institutions. It takes forever to get things done at times, even though since I first arrived in Brazil things have gotten a little better. In the northeast I was saddened with the extremes of wealth and poverty in such a lovely city as Fortaleza.

6. What has been your most memorable experience in Brazil (specific incident)?

Meeting my wife Marcia Leite. She is a third generation Presbyterian from Brazil and she has been a great blessing and help to my life and work. Also, working with excellent colleagues at the seminary.

7. What do you most like about Brazil (in general)?

Its people, music, warm hospitality and general culture.

8. What is your favorite restaurant/place to hang out here?

I lived in Sao Caetano do Sul and enjoyed very much an Italian restaurant which had the best Italian food and pizza.

9. Do you have any funny stories/incidents to tell about your time in Brazil?

Yes, when I first arrived I was invited to the home of a Brazilian physician and church leader (whose grandfather was originally from the USA) and after a meal we sat around and talked for a long time. After a certain hour I decided to leave and said, thank you and I will be leaving now. They said in Portuguese, "eh cedo" (its early), so I looked at my watch and sat down and spoke for another hour. I then tried leaving again and when I did was told, once again, "eh cedo". I sat down again and talked for another long time and finally when I said once again, its time for me to leave, everyone said "esta bom!" (good!) I did not realize that when they say, "eh cedo" it is a courtesy and normally people do leave after saying that.

10. What difference between your homeland and Brazil do you find most striking?

The joy of living!! In spite of so many Brazilians living with harsh economic difficulties they have a joy for life and make the best of what they have.

11. How is your Portuguese coming along? What words do you find most difficult to pronounce/remember or are there any words that you regularly confuse?

I would say quite well since I continue to practice it at home with my Brazilian wife who is a lawyer and corrects me every time I make a mistake.

Traitor in Portuguese is hard for me to pronounce (traicoeiro). Because of my Spanish there are times I mix-up words with Portuguese that have a different meaning.

12. What advice do you have for newcomers to Brazil?

Enjoy that beautiful land and its warm, marvelous people!! My most memorable experiences have been there in Brazil and I have been most enriched by them.

13. What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in São Paulo (or anywhere else in Brazil)?

Visit its many tourist areas in different parts of the country. I traveled throughout Brazil by car from north to south and was enriched by the variety of cultures I encountered. The different areas of the country seem to be different countries within the one but made up of one wonderful people!!


Experiencing God

Are you spiritually hungry? Do you know about God but long for something more? Do you feel something is missing from your life but don't know what to do about it?

The Christian Education Ministry Team invites you to participate in "Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God."

  • Learn to hear when God is speaking to you
  • Find out where God is working and join Him
  • Experience God doing through you what only God can do!
Session 1 begins Sunday, September 9Th from 2:00-4:00 PM at St. Andrew's. It will be led by Dick Reason. Please prayerfully consider participating in this opportunity. The class is limited to a maximum of 12 people who must be willing to commit to 13 straight weeks.

If interested, please contact Dick Reason (843-569-6385), Smith Blackburn (843-571-7188) or Pearl Jones (843-766-4262)


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mary Catherine's Excellent Adventure

Instead of the normal sermon by Pastor Spike Coleman, there was a presentation given by Mary Catherine about her mission trip to the Amazon.

(FYI: Clicking the pictures will let you see them larger and in greater detail)

Sunday Sermon Summary:August 19, 2007

The Amazon River

During the week of July 14-22nd, Mary Catherine was able to go on a short term mission trip to the Amazon with the help of Pastor Spike, the Mission Team, the Christian Education team, the Monday Night Bible Study group, the Dr. Who Group and other members of the congregation who provided donations and many, many prayers! The trip was a success and was a lifelong dream fulfilled.

The trip coordinated by World Hope Missions Ministry headed by the dynamic, Dr. Jonathas Moreira. (Check out the Amazon Mission Trip site for more information.) The week was spent on a medical supply boat named the Serguem Silva visiting the Mura tribe who live along the Amazon riverbed.

The Sergeum Silva

There was an American Team and a Brazilian team (who knew the language and could translate) along with the crew. Althought most of us were perfect strangers in addition to having language barriers, we all got along just fine and worked as a team for our plant seeds of hope in the hearts of the villagers we met.

The American Team Departing from Orlando

After a very long flight to Sao Paulo and then back to Manaus, we finally arrived, and set sail. We sailed a day and 1/2 to reach the first village. The Muras we visited were living in the "Flooded Forests." Every year the Amazon River rises more than 30 feet (9 m) and floods surrounding forests. These rising waters replenish nutrients in floodplain areas and regenerate floodplain lakes, floating meadows, and other seasonal habitats. Freshwater fish move into these flooded forests and often feed on the fruits that drop from the trees.

The Flooded Forests

And of course everything was up on stilts due to the high water levels. All the homes were elevated.

At each village our program was the same. The medical team which included a medical doctor, a nurse, a dentist and a dental hygienist would see patients first. The villagers all had several common ailments that included worms, parasites and colds.The children had white patches on their skin.A smooth white patch meant fungus.A bumpy white patch meant parasites. Most got worm medicine, vitamins and antibiotics for the white patches.

While the medical team was taking care of patients and the dental team was busy extracting teeth, the rest of us were free to walk through the villages visiting homes, playing with the kids and evangelizing.

Mary Catherine Visiting with a Family of Brothers
and Sisters at their house

After lunch the doctors were off duty and the rest of us kicked into gear. The doctors and nurses were now normally free to visit in the villages. The rest of us conducted vacation bible school, had hair braiding sessions, played soccer with the older boys and helped with the women's' group.

Doing Crafts during VBS

Braiding Hair just Before Vacation Bible School

The Women's group was run by an American nurse with the help of one of the Brazilian team. The women were taught basic hygiene, self breast exams, how to use condoms and the benefits of drinking lots of water.

Because the dental care of the villagers was so poor, the American team decided to teach the children to brush their teeth. We lined them up in groups and gave each child a tooth brush and toothpaste and we gave the demonstrations.

Mary Catherine with a group who had just
finished brushing their teeth.

The people of the Amazon are beautiful people. The land itself was something I can't even begin to describe. It was just like being in National Geographic for a few days. The beauty of it was breathtaking.

The water was beautiful and so was the sunrises and sunsets. Words just don't it justice. We were also able to see the pink dolphins up close on one of the days. We seemed to be surrounded by them at one time. The other times we saw them was a sunrise. We would see 2-3 jumping in unison at sunrise. That is how we knew that was the day the Lord had made!

This is the day, that the Lord has made
Let us be glad and rejoice in it!

Other marvels were the Meeting of the Waters and all of the marvelous food of the Amazon. We only had food on the boat that was native to the area. It all had foreign names but it was all good. It was really healthy as it was lots of fruits and vegetables and fish.

The last day of the trip was spent at an ecolodge for a day of rest...Tiwa Resort It was beautiful there as well. We had a chance to socialize all together and take a 1.5 hour tour in the rainforest. It was amazing!

Tiwa Ecolodge

One of my church members asked me on Sunday if I would go again! What else could my answer be but, YES! The people who live along the riverbanks of the Amazon needs lots of help. I feel that I am really making a difference in the life of someone who is truly needy. It is such a beautiful place, I don't think there is anyway I could see that beauty just once.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Game Night IS Tonight!

Just a quick reminder!

Come and join the fun and games on August 18th at 7:00 PM in the Fellowship Hall. Bring a game if you have one and a snack to share! For adults and children ages 10 and up. Contact Smith and Angie Blackburn with questions: 843-571-7188.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

We Belong to God

Sunday Sermon Summary: August 12, 2007

Pastor Spike says: I hate to break the news to you. It is not all bad. Some of it is good. The news is about Sara Groves who is a profound singer and a delight to be around. She has come to Charleston for the past three years. The bad news if that she will not be coming this year. The good news is that Sara and Troy have a new baby girl! Check out Sara to see wonderful pictures of her and the baby!

They eyes of those new parents are full of awe and amazement! God looks at us just that way. He is gushy and mushy. Sometimes we struggle with this. It is hard to believe that an all powerful God could look at us with so much love. Sometimes our experiences tell us otherwise. People also tell us what we do or how to act each day. Ads are the most popular form of communication these days with our state leading the way with billboard ads. These voices clamor for our attention --to tell us how to live.

When we worship, the beauty of it is not in the bricks or sticks, it is found in you and me, the singing of our hymns, the love we offer to one another. That beauty will save the world. It will stay the chaos of our lives. If you want someone to turn against you, start taking about love. Reverend Dr. Craig Barnes , who was Pastor of National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC has some impressive congregation members. World figures and political leaders attended his church. Sometimes, he would be asked," Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Is that all we know?" Yes! We long to know him. Yes! That is all we know.

The text lesson for the sermon is Matthew 22:15-22.

15Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" 18But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, 20and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" 21"Caesar's," they replied. Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." 22When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
The text today tells about the struggles we have today. The verse is sometimes taken out of context. They forget who the audience is...when the Pharisees try to entangle Jesus. They are setting a trap for him. To get the Herodians and the Pharisees to work together was impossible as those two groups did not like each other. In this passage of scripture, they work together. They hate Jesus more than each other because Jesus challenges what they believe. The Pharisees were zealots for truth--they held the law of the prophets. They followed everything to the letter. They missed the point. They thought God wanted separateness from the uncleanliness of the world. They stayed away from others not like them. They misunderstood. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Is that all you know?

Now about those Herodians. Judah was a roman province with Caesar as king as the incarnation of God. Caesar wanted people to believe he was the source of abundant life. The Herodians had a long alliance with the roman government. They did not like Jesus either. So, those two groups did not like Jesus at all! Jesus challenged their place in society. They tried to set a trap for him.

"Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. That was the trap. What gave it away? You pay no attention to who they are---that is what gave it away. Jesus Christ cares for all. There is no Jew, slave, free, male, female. It is lawful to pay taxes? The very ones who are trying to trap Jesus Christ is about to be snared in their own words. Jesus Christ says, "whose likeness is this? Tiberius Caesar was on one side and he was on the other as high priest, which was his claim to divinity. Jesus threw a bomb into the trap. Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.

We assume there are two different spheres. There is the church on Sunday sphere and the business the rest of the week sphere. It is not about two spheres of influence. It is about Jesus Christ shattering the beliefs of both. If we do not understand who God is, we will not understand others around us. "...and to God what is God's." We need to share this information with all. As we are in our cars, enjoy the beauty of God's creation. Look at the majesty of creation. All around us there are people of beauty. Jesus Christ knit us together in our mother's wombs. God see us and He is filled with joy. Today we worship to thank God for that.

How many times are we told we are precious in God's eyes? Here among our brothers and sisters we know who we are. We know who Jesus Christ is. None of us here has it figured out. Jesus Christ is not done with us yet. He is healing us of the hurts in our bodies and souls. It is the joy and power of the holy spirit. We belong, not to the world, but to the God who loves us and even adores us.


Until We Meet Again...

We wish Dr. Melanie Kyer, her husband Jeff and son Max, good luck! A career change will be taking them to Virginia. Sunday was their last Sunday with us. Melanie was an active member of the choir and this past Sunday she was honored by having a song that she wrote, sung as the anthem. The congregation also prayed for their safe journey as they begin a new chapter in another state. They will be missed!

We were all able to wish them well during moments of fellowship, after the worship service.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dr. Harold Bare Visits St. Andrew's

Rev. Dr. Harold Bare of Charlottesville, VA. spent several days at St. Andrew's last week meeting with church members, the Session and city officials in regards to opportunities to renovate and improve our church facilities. After an intensive week, it all ended on August 10th, at 6:30 PM, with a barbecue dinner catered by J.T. Handy, the 2006 South Carolina Pit Master Campion!!! The turnout was excellent. Dr. Bare really gave us some challenging things for our church to think about.

Here are the highlights of his talk as well as pictures of his meeting with the Session and the congregation at the barbecue.

  • He is the son of a pastor, married to a pastor's daughter with 31 years of pastoring under his own belt. He said the Lord directed him to go back to school in order to help churches grow
  • Key question: what price are we willing to pay for change? There was research done that included a study of 10k churches. In 1970 about 10% of the sociological research was funded for religious research. By 1995 more than 85% had been funded for religious research. Through all the changes in society the churches still were a stable in society. In comes the Silo concept. Silos in a field all hold something, but they are all separate. The strength of a silo is when they are all connected together. The church needs to understand the concept that we are in this together. Silos together....strength. Change is a revolutionary moment that does not end.

  • One of the greatest weaknesses of churches is the lack of corporate celebration. Scholars say this. Even Dr. Bare has had to loosen up to celebrate. What can St. Andrew's celebrate?
  • Where is the church on a bell curve? A plateau? A decline? Our willingness to deal with where we are is the REAL issue. Attitude determines what happens, not age of the church. Unity among everyone must be present at all times. Committees must be there for the larger mission of the church. Communication is also key in a church's success. Personal feelings and fussing must be kept out. We must keep talking, working and nuturing.

  • **CRITICAL POINT: One person in the congregation is the vision~~>That is the pastor, Pastor Spike. Multiheaded vision does not work. The Pastor's vision drives the church and it is his position to pass the vision. Pastor Spike needs to tell us his vision and what his passion is and we all need to get on board and fulfill that vision.


Did You Miss Jars of Clay?

Did you miss Jars of Clay when they came to Charleston on August 5th? Well, after a hot time in the city at the Riverdog's game, they performed some of their new songs from their new CD, Good Monsters. Here are the highlights from the game and the concert by Jars of Clay.

View from the stands as we watched the game. Pastor Spike was able to get us fantastic seats. We had the perfect view in the shade!

After the game, Jars of Clay performed across the field. While most of the "young whippersnappers" left the stands to go down to the stage area, many stayed in the bleachers and listened. With the speakers on, there was not any problem hearing them play.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Halos Back to School Drive

Please help abused and neglected children begin the school year equipped with the supplies they will need to study and learn. As you are shopping for your own children, please pick up an extra item or two to donate to Halos. All donations are greatly appreciated. Here is the list of what is needed:

  • pens: red and blue
  • paper
  • pencils
  • book bags
  • composition books
  • markers
  • dry erase markers
  • scissors
  • glue
  • rulers
  • 2 ring binders
  • color pencils
  • marble black composition books
  • boxes of tissue
  • hand sanitizer
  • zip lock bags
  • scientific calculators
  • glue sticks
  • socks, underwear, belts in all sizes!


S. T. E. P. S.

S. T. E. P. S.


August 25th-26th, 2007

A Charleston Atlantic Presbytery Event at Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian Church

This NEW Presbytery event is a great opportunity for all educators, parents, committee members, session members, pastors, youth leaders--really anyone who is interested in nuturing ones faith or the faith of others. It is an opportunity for personal growth, for absorbing new ideas and preparing for the new steps you may be taking within our congregation.

You are welcome to attend all the events or just one individual workshop. Full details of each workshop are listed in teh STEPS brochures, which are located on teh wall outside of Pearl's office or online at Just go to the site, click on the link on the left of the page labeled STEPS. You will find all the information regarding the event.


Youth House Adopt-a-Window

We are in the process of adding new windows to the Youth House. The cost of each window is $250. We invite you to adopt a whole window or part of a window. Donations would be greatly appreciated!


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Game Night at St. Andrew's

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Come and join the fun and games on August 18th at 7:00 PM in the Fellowship Hall. Bring a game if you have one and a snack to share! For adults and children ages 10 and up. Contact Smith and Angie Blackburn with questions: 843-571-7188.