Pastor's Corner and Sermons


Link for Sunday Worship, October 25

posted Oct 26, 2020, 6:03 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Greetings MRC Family and Friends! 

For those who were unable to be with us in worship yesterday, here is the YouTube link to our worship: https://youtu.be/MX7b59Yfc4k

The peace of Christ be with you,

Pastor Trish

Lessons on Love from Luisa

posted Oct 23, 2020, 10:14 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,


The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!


At the end of my sermon during our Blessing of the Animals worship, I wondered what new creature would come up to Coventry House to remind me about God’s delight and love for all creation.


That new creature has arrived and her name is Baby.


While the fawns who were born in spring and summer have moved into their teenage years, Baby is a late born fawn. She is quite small and still has her spots. It also appears she is motherless, and without a protector and food source she is quite vulnerable. Over the last few weeks, I’ve watched her try to insert herself into the herd, hoping to find a replacement mother. Although they have begrudgingly accepted her, none of the does has welcomed her as their own offspring — until Baby picked Luisa.


What makes Luisa an interesting choice is that she is a yearling and is not producing any milk. But what makes Luisa an unlikely choice is that she is mean and intolerant, especially to younger deer. When I’ve gone out to feed the herd, I’ve witnessed Luisa biting, kicking, and chasing the fawns away so that she could have the corn all to herself. I’ve often yelled at her and shooed her back so that the little ones could have access to the food, but she was relentless in her ferocity. 


And then appeared Baby and all of Luisa’s aggression seemingly melted away. Every morning and evening she and Baby are together, eating out of the same bowl, with Luisa no longer kicking or disturbing the young ones who come up to feed. She keeps a strict watch on Baby, and whenever Baby cries out to her, she goes running to find her. 


I’m not sure what switched in Luisa’s tiny deer brain to get her to accept and care for Baby, but her change in behavior made me wonder about us humans. In our contentious political and social climate, might we as people of faith stop hurting one another with our words and actions and instead learn something from Luisa about loving and caring for our neighbor —  especially the most vulnerable among us?


I hope so, beloved. I truly hope so.


Come and practice the lesson of love at 10:30 AM in  the sanctuary or be on Zoom for worship this Sunday with your church family. Our Anthem is “Old Time Religion with Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” Judith Daugherty, piano; our Sermon-Prayer-Song is “Take My Life and Let It Be” Judith Daugherty, organ; and our Postlude is “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” Judith Daugherty, organ. I will be preaching from Matthew 22.34-46, and my sermon title is The Commandment of Commitment. If you would like to come to worship in person, please respond to me via email, text, or phone letting me know you’d like to attend. In order to observe social distancing, seating is limited to about 20-22 worshipers. I need your response no later than TODAY BY 9 PM so that we can prepare seating arrangements.


I’m not sure if Baby will survive the upcoming harshness of winter, but maybe — just maybe — with Luisa by her side, she might live.


In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,


Pastor Trish

Sunday Worship, October 18

posted Oct 18, 2020, 11:14 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Greetings MRC Family and Friends! 

For those who were unable to be with us on Zoom or in the church today, here is the YouTube link for our morning worship for October 18 shot with our new Mevo camera. A special thanks to Izaak Thorpe, video technician.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yC1DbCrMk4

May your Sabbath be restful and holy,

Pastor Trish

For this Sunday -- Glory!

posted Oct 16, 2020, 10:00 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,


The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you! I hope you are keeping dry on this chilly, rainy day in New Jersey.


It may be soggy outside now, but this Sunday promises to be a sunny, crisp autumn day — a perfect day to gather and worship God!


By now, I hope you have watched my video and read my email detailing our reopening plan and safety protocols for in person worship this Sunday. If you have not read the plan and protocols yet, please click here to view them. For the safety of staff and those worshiping, all persons who attend worship will be expected to adhere to these protocols. In order for us to safely social distance, seating is limited to about 20-22 worshipers, so please respond to me via email, text, or phone letting me know you’d like to attend church. I need your response no later than 9 AM tomorrow so that we can prepare the seating arrangements. Please be assured that no one should feel any pressure to come back to in person worship. Everyone is encouraged to make the wisest choice for themselves, their family members, and fellow congregants, living out the Greatest Commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves. If you are hesitant about returning to in person worship, we will also offer simultaneous Zoom worship.


So, come at 10:30 AM to the sanctuary or be on Zoom for worship this Sunday with your church family. Our Anthem is “Spirit of God, Unseen As the Wind” Dan Pannebaker, soloist; our Sermon-Prayer-Reflection is “Rock of Ages, Cleft For Me” Judith Daugherty, organ; and our Postlude is “Lord, Dismiss Us With Your Blessing” Judith Daugherty, organ. I will be preaching from Exodus 33.12-23, and my sermon title is Glory! If you wish to receive the Zoom link, please email me at sheffield.tricia@gmail.com.


Oh beloved of God, after seven months of being out of the sanctuary, we finally — God willing — get to come together in the church and on Zoom to pray, read Scripture, listen to music, and hear the word of God. Please join me in prayer that our worship will flow easily and everyone will be kept safe and healthy. And as we pray, let us continue to claim the assurance from Scripture, For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you (Psalm 26.3).


In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,


Pastor Trish

Sunday Worship, October 11: Blessing of the Animals

posted Oct 12, 2020, 10:29 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear MRC Family and Friends,

For those who could not attend worship this morning on the Great Lawn or on Zoom, here is the YouTube link for our worship. 


The peace of Christ be with you,

Pastor Trish

All Creatures Great and Small on the Great Lawn

posted Oct 9, 2020, 2:17 PM by Tricia Sheffield

The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!


This Sunday is one of my favorite Sundays on the church calendar — the Blessing of the Animals! Certainly, there is joy every time we worship together (however and wherever we worship), but what I love about this Sunday is the holy chaos that happens when people bring their animal companions for a blessing. The occasional bark, a soft meow, the song of the birds, and crickets chirping all around remind us that there is something special about worshiping God outside in creation. We have been able to have this type of worship the past two Sundays in the Meditation Garden, and it has been so good to be together in person surrounded by God’s holy forest. Perhaps, this was how worship was first intended.


So, come and bring your beloved animal companion this Sunday when we will gather in person on the Great Lawn at 10:30 AM for worship. Our Anthem is “Bless the Beasts and the Children” Diane Grady, soloist; our Sermon-Prayer-Reflection is “God of the Sparrow” Diane Grady, soloist; and our Postlude is “Let All Things Now Living,” Judith Daugherty, keyboard. I will be preaching from Psalm 104, a psalm celebrating God as Creator and Provider, and my sermon title is All Creatures Great and Small. Please make sure to bring a lawn chair with you on Sunday. We will observe social distancing. If you are unable to be 6 feet away from other people, please wear your mask. If you are unable to attend in person, know that our worship will also be broadcast via Zoom. Email sheffield.tricia@gmail.com for the Zoom link.


Further, after thirty-one weeks of being out of the Sanctuary due to COVID-19, it is the hope-filled recommendation of the Church Reopening Ad Hoc Committee, along with the approval of Consistory, to reopen our freshly painted, beautiful Sanctuary for in person worship with limited seating capacity on October 18. On Monday, you will be receiving a video and email from me outlining our reopening plan along with our safety protocols. Please watch the video and read the plan/protocols so that our worship next Sunday will go smoothly and safely. We look forward with eyes of hope to our in person worship in the sanctuary on October 18 as we claim the assurance from Scripture, For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you (Psalm 26.3).


It’s going to be a glorious day of worship this Sunday and I look forward to celebrating it with you on the Great Lawn or on Zoom!


In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,


Pastor Trish

Sunday Worship, October 4

posted Oct 4, 2020, 12:17 PM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear MRC Family and Friends,

Greetings of peace. For those who were unable to be with us on Zoom or in the Meditation Garden this morning, here is the YouTube link for our worship

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR-eMepKwIg

May your Sabbath be restful and holy,

Pastor Trish

Seeking God's Goodness

posted Oct 2, 2020, 3:21 PM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,


The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!


I woke up on Wednesday morning and realized I deeply needed our weekly Zoom prayer time. As we gathered together at 9 AM, I read Psalm 26 and 27, and then we prayed — for one another and whomever else God had put on our hearts that morning. Afterwards, I found my spirit drawn to Psalm 27.13: I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. So, that day I vowed to look really hard to find this goodness in our world. And guess what, beloved? I did find God’s goodness and here’s where:


In a mighty oak in Tatum Park, the top of it seeming to brush the sky


In big, beautiful green tomatoes given to me by a member from her bountiful garden


In a gratitude card I received through the mail, that was right on time


In the sound of Jamie’s laughter when we conversed together


In the steady stream of people dropping off food for our food drive and coats, blankets, and sleeping bags for the homeless


In the gathering of folks in recovery in the back of Coventry House


In a woman who is putting her own grief on hold over her friend’s death in order to help a family clean out this friend’s belongings


There is indeed goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Where did you see God’s goodness this week? Where would you like to see it? Oh, it’s there; it’s always there. We just need to seek it and then pay attention.


Come seeking God’s goodness this Sunday when we will once again gather in person in the Meditation Garden at 10:30 AM for worship to welcome into the family of God through baptism Cybil Sadie Poyner, daughter of Brooke and John Poyner. In addition to the baptism, we have special music planned for our worship. For our Prelude, “Gather Us In" Judith Daugherty, keyboard; our Anthem is “Take Me to the Water” Nancy Coffin, soloist; and our Sermon-Prayer-Reflection is “One Bread, One Body” Nancy Coffin, soloist. In honor of his granddaughter, Mark Poyner will be preaching from Acts 8.26-40 and his sermon title is The Story Behind the Story. In addition, this is World Communion Sunday so we will be celebrating the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper with the followers of Christ around the globe. I’ve ordered prefilled Communion cups of grape juice and bread for us to have. Please make sure to bring a lawn chair with you on Sunday. We will observe social distancing. If you are unable to be 6 feet away from other people, please wear your mask. If you are unable to attend in person, know that our worship will also be broadcast via Zoom. Please email me at sheffield.tricia@gmail.com for the link.


See you in the garden or on Zoom, beloved one!


In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,


Pastor Trish

YouTube Link for Sunday Worship, September 27

posted Sep 30, 2020, 7:06 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear MRC Family and Friends,

For those who were unable to attend worship, here is the YouTube link for our service for September 27, 2020 in the Meditation Garden.


Blessings of peace to you,

Pastor Trish

Let's Meet in the Garden

posted Sep 25, 2020, 11:12 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,


The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you in these continuing times of difficulty and challenge.


The writer of Philippians encourages us with these words,  . . . [B]eloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.


This Sunday we will have the opportunity to share in something that is worthy of praise when we gather in person in the Meditation Garden at 10:30 AM to welcome into the family of God through baptism Arya Irene Bussey, daughter of Kaitlyn and Ryan Bussey. In addition to the baptism, we have special music planned for our worship. For our Prelude, "Fairest Lord Jesus" Sarah Gordon, flute; our Anthem is "I Was There To Hear Your Borning Cry” Sarah Gordon, soloist; and our Sermon-Prayer-Reflection is also "I Was There To Hear Your Borning Cry” Sarah Gordon, flute. I will be preaching from Philippians 2.1-13 and my sermon title is In Christ Jesus. Please make sure to bring a chair and wear a mask as we will observe social distancing. If you are unable to attend in person, know that our worship will also be broadcast via Zoom. Email sheffield.tricia@gmail.com for the Zoom link.


I am feeling such elation that we will be with each other outside in God’s beautiful creation to witness the joyful celebration of welcoming a little one into God’s covenant people, pray, read Scripture, hear music, and listen for the word of God. What a day of rejoicing this will be, and one perhaps we need to remind us of what is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, and commendable to God. See you on Sunday, beloved one!


In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,


Pastor Trish

1-10 of 117