For Christmas Eve and Beyond

posted Dec 24, 2021, 6:38 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,

Greetings of Advent love to you!

Beloved ones, as you are quite aware, the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 is prevalent in Monmouth County. As has been the case for the past 21 months, your safety and health is always of my utmost concern. As your pastor who loves and cares for you, I strongly urge you to keep doing what you’ve been doing — wear your mask, wash your hands frequently, and practice safe social interactions — as it is my prayer that each and every one of you remain well. That said, with the NJ Board of Health and CDC warnings I was getting through emails and texts, I consulted with our leaders and staff as to what our next steps should be as this new variant dominates our area.

First, know that you are warmly welcomed to Middletown Reformed Church for our Christmas Eve Traditional and Family Friendly Candlelight worship at 6 PM. However, if you are feeling uncertain as to whether you should attend in person, we will livestream worship on our FaceBook page — Middletown Reformed Church. You may light your Christ candle and sing in the safety and comfort of your home. For those attending in person, masks are required, and we request that you refrain from physical contact with members outside of your “bubble” as much as possible, and not linger too long after worship. 

Going forward, we have decided to cancel coffee hour for the foreseeable future until it is safe to do so again. Also, there will be no Joyful Noise Adult Choir or New Jericho Choir rehearsals for the first two weeks in January. We will re-evaluate where we are with the Omicron variant later in January.

And after Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day, please come to church on Sunday at 10:30 AM — the First Sunday after Christmas. As I will be out on January 2, we will celebrate (safely) the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper this Sunday and not in January. I will be preaching from 1 Samuel 2.18-20, 26 and Luke 2.41-52 and my sermon title is Who is This Child?

Beloved of God, I know we are all so very weary of and exasperated with this pandemic, with all of the shifts and pivots we’ve had to make as a church body, but as I write to you on Christmas Eve, I am clinging to this truth: Our help and hope is in the name of the One who is bringing light into the world, and the darkness will never be able to overcome it. May the Light be welcomed into our world so desperately in need of its luminescence.

In light and hope,

Pastor Trish