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October 9, 2015

Dear Family and Friends of Concord-St. Andrews,

I have enjoyed getting to know you this year and feel privileged to be your pastor. Because of your wonderful hospitality, Terry and I have found our church. We love you and have felt your love in return. Thank you for welcoming us; thank you for being who you are as individuals, and thank you for being our church.

As I reflected upon this first year, I feel the wonder and the gift of having a church. Despite what is sometimes proclaimed, the Church is not an institution; it is not a social club; it is not an organization, and it is not a business. The Church is the gathering of those who give their lives to Christ because Christ gave his life for them. Together, we are not just a place where we believe; we are a place where we belong. Concord-St. Andrews is a place where family meets. Thank you for being our family.

2014-2015 has been a busy and productive year.

We reorganized to focus and streamline our administrative processes to better support our vision and mission, and we welcomed two non-profits, the Bel Cantanti Opera Company and the Rock Church, to our campus. Thanks to the work of our trustees, we have a new security system, many long needed repairs have occurred, and our new Sanctuary audio-visual system will soon be in place.

Our missions continue and have been expanded.

We continue to support our covenant missionaries. We had a successful “Adopt An Angel” program last Christmas that allowed us to serve over 60 families in our community. Our bedding mission provided new bedding for individuals at the men’s and women’s shelter. We regularly provide financial support to Interfaith Works and other organizations serving families in our community, and through the pastor’s discretionary fund we have helped both Church members and community friends.

This year we were privileged to host the Ugandan Children’s Choir for the first time. As a result of their visit, CSA members sponsored 8 children. We expanded our Shelter ministry by providing regular meals and fellowship to the men and women shelters in our area.

We played together.

Two church picnics with the jazz band, The Jefferson Street Strutters, a summer excursion to a Frederick Keyes game, and our Fall Ball created spaces to laugh together, to connect with each other, and to just plain have a good time!

We said goodbye and welcome to staff.

Thanks to Dr. Samuel Springer and Elyse Milligan for their service to CSA.

Welcome to our Music Director, Dr. Katerina Souvorova and our Director of Children and Youth Ministries, Dr. Trevor Liburd

Since Katerina’s arrival, our choir has expanded and our bell choir, now intergenerational, has been resurrected. Katerina has been able to bring wonderful artists to enhance our worship, some of whom have joined our fellowship. We hosted performances of Snow Maiden and Into the Woods, and this Christmas season will be enjoying Amahl and the Night visitors at our December 13 worship service.

Trevor is off to a great start with a youth retreat and ministries that will engage and inspire our youth. Check our website to find out more information.

2014-2015 has been a year of re-organization, of re-commitment, and of growth, but we have just begun.

In 2015-2016

We will continue to seek God’s Will for our lives together at CSA. We will continue to streamline our administrative processes to allow more time for real-time ministry. Our building will continue to need repairs and care, and we will continue to be stretched financially. But through the faithfulness, dedication, and strength of God’s people, God is and will continue to build God’s church.

This year we are focusing on Connecting....Connecting to God and to one another.

For the most part we have done away with ‘churchy’ words. However, one word endures, ‘Fellowship.’ Fellowship means much more than socializing; Biblical Fellowship is a state of mind and an action of the heart. It is something to be felt and to be expressed. It is a part of everything we do together: worship, eating, playing, studying, and serving. It is a word that describes what God’s family is and what God’s family does. It is a way of life for Christ followers and it is how God has always worked in the world.

So this year, everyone is invited to connect to some group: a musical group...a mission group...a study group...a service group. Everyone is invited to maintain and grow their commitment to worship....to be together in the name of Christ. Everyone is invited to maintain and build meaningful relationships with one another.

And this year, everyone is invited to IDENTIFY and INVITE ONE. Identify a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor that can be invited to meet Jesus. Then pray, pray for God to touch their hearts and to make a way for the invitation to happen. Then keep your eyes open to the opportunities that will be offered to learn how to invite others.

I am honored to be the pastor of Concord-St. Andrews Church. Thank you for all that you do to supportGod’s work in the world. May God bless you and your family as we begin the next year of our journey.

Rev. Sue 

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CSA Church

5910 Goldsboro Road

Bethesda, MD 20817