Pastor's Corner and Sermons


Worship Link for October 24

posted Oct 25, 2021, 12:29 PM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear MRC Family and Friends,

Greetings of peace to you!

For those unable to attend worship, here is the link to our Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost worship: https://youtu.be/ab7Bye752jc

The Lord bless you and keep you this week and always,

Pastor Trish

Gratitude

posted Oct 14, 2021, 11:23 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,


Blessings of Pentecost joy be with you!


As Jamie and I eagerly anticipate our wedding this Saturday, we want to thank you for your support, kindness, and generosity, especially throughout the last few weeks. To those who are preparing delicious food for the reception, to the ones who are decorating the hall, and to those who have checked in with encouraging words, we are humbled and grateful to serve such a fabulous church of love together. Truly, we are excited to travel to Vermont next week, taking in the beauty of the fall colors and having a time to rest and rejuvenate, and to bear witness to God’s glorious creation. I look forward to being back with you in worship on October 24. 


But until then, come to worship this Sunday with your church family at 10:30 AM in person or on FaceBook live. Mike Steib is our guest preacher and he will be preaching from Psalm 104.1-9, 24, 35c and the Book of Revelation 22.1-7. His sermon title is Ecology? As you are aware, we have resumed congregational singing and since the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 is present in our state everyone must wear a mask for worship and indoor church events. Thank you for your cooperation in loving yourself, your neighbor, and keeping everyone safe and healthy.


In closing, I want to leave you with a song I had the joy to hear at the installation of Rev. Gene Ryan last Sunday. It’s called “I Am Not My Own” based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question and Answer #1. I have been singing it all week as it was so powerful, and reminded me that indeed, I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. It has filled me with a spirit of gratitude and I pray it will bless and inspire you for the coming week ahead, and reassure you that you truly belong — no matter what.


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


Pastor Trish


Worship Link: Blessing of the Animals

posted Oct 11, 2021, 6:07 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear MRC Family and Friends,

Greetings of peace!

Here is the link to our Blessing of the Animals worship this past Sunday: https://youtu.be/gNNRclGBkdo

The Lord bless you and keep you this week and always,

Pastor Trish

Bless the Beasts and the Children

posted Oct 8, 2021, 6:35 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,


Blessings of Pentecost joy be with you!


Beloved MRC folks, tomorrow at 2 PM we will have a memorial service honoring the faithful life and healing ministry of the late Rev. Eltje Johannes Brunemeyer. Rev. Brunemeyer served MRC as interim minister from 2010-2013, and he was deeply loved by so many. Afterwards, we will have a repast in the Education Building with food provided by the Dorcas Circle and friends. If you are unable to attend in person, please know that the service will be live-streamed on our FaceBook page.


And this Sunday at 10:30 AM is our joyful Blessing of the Animals! Unfortunately, rain is predicted for Sunday so we will have our worship in the sanctuary instead of on the Great Lawn. Please bring your animal companions to worship where they will be loved, celebrated, and blessed. Our music is sure to stir your soul with Michelle Reno as our featured soloist. She will be singing “Bless the Beasts and the Children” for our Anthem and “God of the Sparrow” for our Offertory. I will be preaching from Psalm 104 and my sermon title is What the Trees Show Us. As you are aware, we have resumed congregational singing and since the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 is present in our state everyone must wear a mask for worship and indoor church events. Thank you for your cooperation in loving yourself, your neighbor, and keeping everyone safe and healthy.


I look forward to being with you on Sunday when we will celebrate the gift of our animals and the beauty of God’s diverse, wondrous creation. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

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


Pastor Trish


Worship Link for October 3

posted Oct 4, 2021, 8:18 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear MRC Family and Friends,

Greetings of peace!

For those who were unable to attend worship this Sunday, here is the link to our Peace & Global Witness Worship for World Communion Sunday 2021:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAtdCFf47XM

May the Lord bless you and keep you this week and always,

Pastor Trish

The Bread and Cup Around the World

posted Oct 1, 2021, 1:46 PM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,


Blessings of Pentecost joy be with you on this glorious Autumn day in New Jersey.


I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday at 10:30 AM in person or on FaceBook live (Page: Middletown Reformed Church) when we will rejoice in God’s extravagant love and grace. It is World Communion Sunday and worship will be adapted from the Presbyterian Church USA’s Peace and Global Witness commission. This worship acknowledges the unity of the Church Universal and that “we come together to promote the peace of Christ by addressing systems of injustice in our own communities and around the world." Our worship will be filled with joyful songs from around the world led by Sarah Hanvey and Izaak Thorpe, and the liturgy will be in several languages to reflect the beautiful diversity of God’s people and creation. Think how beautiful it will be as we participate with people of faith around the globe, all gathering around the Lord’s Table on this very special Sunday. What a wonderful illustration for potential peace in the body of Christ!


As you are aware, we have resumed congregational singing and since the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 is present in our state, and Monmouth County is a high transmission zone for the variant, everyone must wear a mask for worship and indoor church events. Thank you for your cooperation in loving yourself, your neighbor, and keeping everyone safe and healthy.


Beloved, read these words from Scripture and be encouraged: The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread (1 Corinthians 10.16-17).

Amen! May it be so.

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


Pastor Trish


Worship Link for September 26

posted Sep 28, 2021, 6:04 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear MRC Family and Friends,

Greetings of peace to you!

For those who were unable to attend worship this Sunday, here is the link to our Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost worship: https://youtu.be/0oH6H3p-Gng

Please note that you may also watch worship live on our FaceBook page. I look forward to seeing you this Sunday when we will have a special worship for World Communion Sunday.

The Lord bless you and keep you,

Pastor Trish

Where is the House of God?

posted Sep 24, 2021, 11:11 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,


Blessings of Pentecost joy be with you.


This week we returned to our Adult Education gatherings and we are reading/studying An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor (Note: All are welcome to join this study in person or via Zoom). This is my third reading of her book and each time I do so I am drawn to her initial questions,  . . . how had I forgotten that the whole world is the House of God? Who had persuaded me that God preferred four walls and a roof to wide-open spaces? (2 Samuel 7.5-6: “Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle”). Since my first encounter with this observation I have made it a practice to look for signs of God’s presence in the most ordinary places and activities. Today I saw God in Bed, Bath, and Beyond in a person named Lucille. She is a clerk there and is always genuinely friendly, helpful, and ends each interaction with customers with a heartfelt, “God bless you.” In a world where divisiveness is the norm, she was a breath of fresh air for my day.


One would think that after reading a book three times, however, no new insights would pop from the pages anymore. But oh, how wrong that is. For whenever we read a book we are filtering it through the lens of our experiences in the place we find ourselves at that reading. Assuredly, after eighteen months of living in a pandemic I can say my life’s lens has certainly changed. And so, I caught my breath when I read, As important as it is to mark the places where we meet God, I worry about what happens when we build a house for God . . . Do we build God a house so that we can choose when to go see God? Do we build God a house in lieu of having God stay at ours?


I lingered over the page for quite a while thinking back to when our buildings were closed down but we as a church still gathered remotely. At that time, our hearts ached to be physically together in our sanctuary, but we still knew we were together. We knew that God’s presence was with us, no matter how and where we gathered. Now that we can worship in person I hope we have realized that God is not held within four walls; that 121 Kings Highway is not a place we go to when we “choose” to see God, for the House of God is throughout all of creation and the Spirit chooses always to be hovering ever present among us. No, we come to our sanctuary to worship God, and to remind ourselves who we are — children of God — and whose we are — Christ’s own. Our church building is a house of God, not the House of God.


Let us gather at 10:30 AM in person or on FaceBook live (Page: Middletown Reformed Church) this Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost. The Joyful Noise Adult Choir will be singing “You Are the Seed” for our anthem. I will be preaching from Mark 9.33-50 and my sermon title is Salty Christians. In addition, we have resumed congregational singing and since the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 is present in our state, and Monmouth County is a high transmission zone for the variant, everyone must wear a mask for worship and indoor church events. Thank you for your cooperation in loving yourself, your neighbor, and keeping everyone safe and healthy.


Come to MRC this Sunday, a house of God for all people, so that when you leave and go out into the world you may be inspired to look for and find the wonder and joy that is the beautiful House of God.


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


Pastor Trish

Worship Link for September 19

posted Sep 20, 2021, 5:33 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear MRC Family and Friends,

Greetings of peace to you!

For those who were unable to attend worship, here is the link to our Rally Day worship: 
Also, in my sermon I asked two questions and I would be grateful to get your reply concerning these questions: What do you dream for your own calling here at MRC? What do you see as the vision for us as a community here and beyond? Please let me hear from you!

The Lord bless you and keep you this week and always,

Pastor Trish

Come Home to Church

posted Sep 17, 2021, 11:27 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,


Blessings of Pentecost joy be with you.


This Sunday is Rally Day, which means our fall programming resumes. Yes, we are back at it with our ministries, albeit masked and practicing safety and caution. But still, here we go again. We have already started Adult Choir rehearsal, and will begin our Children and Worship teaching schedule, Adult Education study on Thursday evenings, and Bell Choir rehearsal. In addition, we have a special brunch planned after worship in the Education Building. And I goofed last week and forgot to announce our Deacons’ Offering, so we will receive that offering on Sunday.


Beloved, whether you have been attending regularly in person, been away for the summer, or haven’t been to worship for 18 months or more, you are warmly invited to “come home” to church this Sunday. It has been a long and challenging year+ with the pandemic, and being back together to worship our gracious God of hope may be just what you need to refresh and enliven your body and soul. 


Let us gather at 10:30 AM in person or on FaceBook live (Page: Middletown Reformed Church) this Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost. The Joyful Noise Adult Choir will be singing “Thy Word” for our anthem. I will be preaching from Habakkuk 2.1-3 and Acts 2.14-18 and my sermon title is Dreams and Visions. In addition, we have resumed congregational singing and since the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 is present in our state, and Monmouth County is a high transmission zone for the variant, everyone must wear a mask for worship and indoor church events. Thank you for your cooperation in loving yourself, your neighbor, and keeping everyone safe and healthy.


The pandemic may have closed down our buildings, but it did not shut down we who are the church. It cannot put on pause the ministry of Christ Jesus. And it will not stop God’s vision of love and grace for the world. 


So, come. Come home to church.


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


Pastor Trish

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