• Pastor Jayne Rideout


Over the past week I have had a couple of friends reach out to me to see how I was doing with the move to Brandon. I told them Gary and I are really enjoying getting to know the people and the ministries of St. Andrew's. I told them the girls and I are enjoying walking in the neighborhood. We love all the trees that line Nature’s Way giving us shade when we walk far. We have all decided that Toppers has amazing ice cream. We have not found the perfect pizza place yet and are open to anyone’s suggestions. Overall, I think we are doing quite well. It is funny how God created us to change, even if it sometimes feels a bit scary. Our girls will be leaving soon for UF. That feels scary because of COVID, but it also feels scary to be an empty nester. Yet still, I know I will continue to see God’s grace in all the changes. One nice thing about getting older is the assurance of God’s faithfulness, even when life is looking uncertain.


Next Sunday, we will have the quarterly update by our lay leaders at the end of each worship service. I will not share those details now, but I have to say that God’s grace has clearly been at work in this church in spite of COVID and all the changes it has brought. I know many churches have been hit hard through this pandemic. We are happy to report that ministry continues to happen at St. Andrew's despite all the changes. It is exciting to see God’s handiwork through the church at a time when much of life seems to be on hold. Please do not despair if you are frustrated by canceled plans, a lost job, or just too much time at home. Change is always a constant in our lives. Thankfully, God’s grace at work around us is also a constant. Scripture tells us that as the people of Israel prepared for huge change in their lives, God spoke these words to them. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6


Those are also words for us today. We too are the people of God and we can trust Him and have assurance that His presence is constantly with us.


Blessings to you today. We hope to see you in worship on Sunday.

Pastor Jayne


#aplaceforgrace #createdforchange

Updated: 3 days ago



It has been almost a month since Jayne and I joined the St. Andrew’s UMC community. We have experienced the challenges and chaos of moving; the transitions in moving into a new house, into a new community, and getting settled into a new church. Plus we have done so while at the same time keeping our social distance—not being able to give hugs goodbye, then turn around and not being able to greet our new church community with the same hugs. It has certainly been an experience. But what Jayne, the girls, and I have realized, through all this change, it has been an amazing experience. We could almost say it has been an exceptionally smooth and easy transition.


So why is this? Well, I have realized that we have moved from one faith-filled community to another faith-filled community. We have moved from a community that is passionate in spreading the love of Christ to another community that is passionate in spreading the love of Christ. The two church communities, of course, are different, but both are still grounded in one faith, one heart for Jesus, one mission, one Lord, one Kingdom. That is what the body of Christ is all about. We went from one group of Christian friends to whom we had to say farewell to greeting another group of Christian friends, many of them whom we have not met yet. But we know that you will soon be our dear friends, who worship together, grow together, and serve one another and this community. Though we may not have met, we are still friends in Christ.


Through this time of social-distancing, it has been frustrating for Jayne and me to try to get to know you from a distance. We long to be introduced, to hear all about you and to share our faith journeys. Yet we also want to do so in a safe environment, having the utmost concern for the health and well-being of our community. As John Wesley would say, “Do no harm.”


So, beginning Sunday August 16, we would like to invite you to a “Virtual Lunch with the Pastors.” Each week Jayne and I will gather with a group of eight of you via Zoom, so that we can get to know our new friends and you can get to know us. To share our journeys and our dreams. Until we figure out how to provide a virtual lunch, you will, of course, need to provide your own food. We are so eager to get to know you. During these unprecedented times, this will have to suffice until we can greet each other with a Christian hug. Look for details in how to sign up in the Friday Connection.


Looking forward to being together.

Blessings,

Gary


#aplaceforgrace



Much of the conversation around town this week has around when and how the public schools in Hillsborough County will open due to COVID-19. The conversations are important because our children and youth are a priority to this community. It is no different at St. Andrew's. This past week Gary and I met with six outstanding volunteers who serve with our youth ministry. We met to plan and prepare for the fall, brainstorming ideas on how to connect to the youth in spite of COVID-19.  We met together because the youth are depending on their church to disciple them in the ways of Jesus Christ, even in the midst of a pandemic.  


Last week the Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) met to continue the search for a new director for youth ministry. There was a wonderful passion within that committee to find the right person to be a spiritual leader for our students. Please know they are still accepting applications for this position and it is our prayer to fill this slot very soon so we can move forward to provide the support and guidance our students need from their church family.  


Please pray for our youth volunteers as they prepare for the fall. Please pray for the SPRC as they continue their search for the right leader. Please also pray for our youth that they will know they are loved and valued by their church family.  

Blessings to you on this Friday, 

Pastor Jayne and Pastor Gary


#aplaceforgrace

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3315 S. Bryan Rd. | Brandon, FL 33511 | 813.689.6849

Sunday Worship: 8:15, 9:45, 11:15 a.m.