For Worship in January

Post date: Jan 11, 2022 7:54:32 PM

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,

Epiphany blessings to you. I hope you are staying warm on this frightfully cold day.

Last night the Consistory had our monthly meeting, and one of the items on the agenda was our COVID concerns. With several people in our congregation sick, with Monmouth County currently red, meaning very high risk of COVID transmission, and with hospitalizations for COVID in New Jersey at an all-time high since the beginning of the pandemic, we discussed whether our continuing to meet in person for worship was loving, safe, and wise. 

These three things — loving, safe, wise — along with the best scientific information, have been our guiding principles since March 2020 as we’ve made decisions concerning the safety and health of our church family. As has been the case for the past 22 months, your well-being is always my utmost concern. As your pastor who loves and cares for you, it is my prayer that each and every one of you remain healthy. So, after some discussion, the Consistory voted unanimously to return to online only worship for the rest of January, hoping that we can get through the peak of Omicron safely, and at the beginning of February we will reevaluate where we are. We will offer two ways for you to worship — either through our FaceBook page or through Zoom. Please note that music is best heard and less distorted through FaceBook.

Beloved of God, I know we are all so very weary of this pandemic, with all of the shifts we’ve had to make as a church body, and I am grateful for your strength and endurance through it all. I leave with you this prayer I read to the Consistory last night in hope that you will remember that it is indeed God’s light, love, and grace that sustain us.

God of ever-new beginnings, 

God in whom past, present and future perpetually coalesce,

as a new year unfolds before us,

through the dark days of January,

through the vagaries of the weather,

though storm, flood, ice or snow may unsettle us,

though personal difficulties may beset us,

help us always to remember

that your light shines through the deepest darkness,

that your love surrounds and summons us,

that your life is stronger than death itself,

and that your grace sustains us

and is sufficient for all our needs. — Norman Shanks

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

Pastor Trish