If the past year was a product that you bought at the store, you’d probably make a complaint to the manager and demand your money back. To put it mildly, it’s been a difficult year. No travel, strict social distancing restrictions, dramatic economic downturn, plus concerns associated with the political future of the city, have all made this a troubled and anxious year.
As we reflect on the past year for St Andrew’s, it hasn’t been easy either. A church is meant to be God’s people gathered together, but we’ve hardly gathered. Since COVID began, we’ve had 46 weeks of online church. It’s been incredible to continue to learn and stay connected to one another online (a big ‘thank you’ to those who made this possible), but it’s not the same. We’re better together.
However, amidst the distancing and difficulties of this year, we’ve continued to see God’s goodness to us. Our online services have been able to reach new people, including people exploring faith. Newcomers have continued to get connected to our church through the ‘Partnership’ course. Our Growth Groups have continued to meet, often in higher attendance rates. And every time we’ve resumed in-person gatherings, there’s been tremendous enthusiasm. We’ve been reminded how much we need one another.
When people study the growth of trees, they pay special attention to tree rings. They can see during the tree’s lifespan, which were the years of weak or strong growth, of harsh conditions or favorable climate. If there were a method of tracing spiritual growth, what would it say about the last year for St Andrew’s? What would it say for you? How much have you spiritually grown in the last year? Often, in his goodness, God grows his people more when conditions are difficult. We learn to lean in and depend on him more. Has that been the case for you?
St Andrew’s has been in Hong Kong for 115 years. In good and bad times, our vision and purpose remain the same: ‘We are a community devoted to Jesus Christ, who share his gospel, calling on people to follow him, and seek the flourishing of Hong Kong.’ We ask all those who call St Andrew’s their spiritual home in Hong Kong to prayerfully and faithfully commit themselves to this vision; to use what God has given each of us for his purposes.
In closing, I want to thank the church staff for their faithful perseverance in the last year and also all of you who have laboured for the cause of the gospel through St Andrew’s.
Extract from the 20/21 Annual Report. Please find the full report here.