Dear friends in Christ,
I hope you’re all doing well this week and that everyone’s Christmas was safe. Things are quieter for now at the church, but there are still a few announcements:
Sunday School Updates
As previously planned, throughout the winter and spring, our older children (grades 4th and above) will remain in the worship service on the first Sunday of the month. This allows the children to participate in the rituals of a worship service, in addition to partaking in communion.
Just as with the sanctuary, we will keep the windows in the classrooms open during Sunday School to help with ventilation.
In times when we do not have coffee hour, parents and caretakers should come to the classrooms and/or nursery to pick up their children following the worship service, as we will not all be meeting in the Social Hall.
We are continuing to monitor the rise in COVID cases in the state, and at this point, we are continuing to offer in person worship plus streaming to YouTube. We have put Coffee Hour on pause for the time being, windows will be partially open in the sanctuary for ventilation, and masks will continue to be required for worship. We will also keep the balcony open to allow for people to spread out in the sanctuary. Additionally, all in person church board meetings will require masks and a virtual option will be provided for those who aren’t joining in person.
There are also things we can do as individuals to protect ourselves and others during this surge in cases:
- Get vaccinated and get your booster
- Upgrade from cloth masks to surgical, KN95, or N95 masks
- Have rapid tests on hand in case of exposure or if you start to feel unwell
Videos from Christmas Eve Services
This year the music at the 5pm and 11pm Christmas Eve services was different, so I’ve made videos of the music from each service. (Thank you to John D for streaming both services!)
5pm Introit (Choir): https://youtu.be/ORI1-tEwEYM
5pm Anthem (Choir): https://youtu.be/mW2WJbl4zFs
11pm: Introit (Anna & Audrey): https://youtu.be/0aFLohPBb7k
11pm Anthem (Anna & Audrey): https://youtu.be/r9PzoN1ACcI
A special thank you to all our musicians, ushers, deacons, readers, staff, and volunteers who enabled us to have our Christmas Eve services this year. It takes a team effort to put everything together, particularly after not having had indoor Christmas Eve services since 2019, and I’m very grateful for everyone who offered their time and talents this Christmas so our church could offer Christmas Eve worship for our community.
I’ve attached some pictures from Christmas Eve. The outside of the church looked lovely with the new paint and the dusting of snow. Indoors, we added a new light into the mix. If anyone has pictures of Christmas Eve you’d like to share, please send them along to me so we can share them with everyone.
This Sunday we’ll be celebrating Epiphany! Technically, Epiphany is January 6th, but as we’re not having an extra service on a Thursday, we’re transferring the celebration to the nearest Sunday in Christmastide. Epiphany celebrates the arrival of the magi to the nativity and in general people recognizing the birth of the messiah. There’s a question King Solomon asks when he’s dedicating the Temple in Jerusalem in 1 Kings 8: “Will God indeed dwell on the earth?” Christmas, culminating in the feast of the Epiphany, is an emphatic “yes” to Solomon’s question; God has indeed come to dwell upon the earth in the person of Jesus. Church Father Ephrem of Syria said of Jesus: “Blessed is he who became small without limit to make us great without limit.”
As we look with some uncertainty to the coming New Year, I thought this prayer by Anglican monk John Charles, speaks well to this moment:
“For all the possibilities ahead in this new year, make us thankful, O Lord. Give us wisdom, courage and discernment in the face of so much chaos, despair and fear. Help us to see how, in our circumstances, we can contribute towards peace, faith and love, and give us the will to translate our desires into actions.”
Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year,