Worship Link and Worship Ways for Next Sunday, April 18
Post date: Apr 11, 2021 9:12:47 PM
Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,
Blessings of Easter joy be with you!
For those who were unable to attend church this morning in person or online, here is the link to our Second Sunday of Easter worship: https://youtu.be/h38u-_LwPfI
As you are aware, I am taking this week off for some sabbath rest. I am grateful to the Consistory for giving me this much needed time to soul-refresh, spend quality time with Jamie, and practice the spiritual discipline of raphah — being still before God — after such a challenging year. You may have noticed that with the pandemic, worship now is multi-pronged with several platforms. Our congregation consists of those who are in person, those on Zoom, and those who watch live stream via YouTube. Our congregation is certainly bigger now than our four walls. All of these platforms work together so that we can worship together safely and inclusively. If someone had said at the beginning of 2020 we’d be doing all this technology, we wouldn’t have believed them! Certainly, technology has afforded us new ways to stay connected when we had to be apart from each other.
To be sure, though, that means our technology adds some challenges when it comes to having a person preach and lead worship when I’m out, as they would have to be adept at all these platforms and more. In addition, I would have to write the liturgy, create the bulletin, and create access to our Friday email before I left. I would have asked Mark Poyner to preach, but he is now back in person with his congregation, and most of my colleagues are also leading their own congregations. When I was discussing these issues with the Ad Hoc Church Re-Opening Committee and Consistory — the difficulty of finding an available person and my doing all this preparatory work — they agreed that such work isn’t really a vacation. So, we decided to get creative and innovative (our pandemic theme!), and offer something some of my other colleagues have offered when they’ve taken time off. We are asking for next Sunday, April 18 for you to please worship online or in person at another church. Let me suggest a few places where you can worship:
Community Church of Keyport: Pastor Dawn warmly welcomes you all to their worship at 10 AM via Facebook live. Simply like their page on Facebook, Community Church of Keyport, and you will be able to worship with our sister congregation. Pastor Dawn said the bulletin usually is available on Facebook the Saturday night before or on Sunday morning.
Feel like taking a road trip? As mentioned above, Pastor Mark is back to in person worship at the Community Reformed Church of Whiting at 10 AM. I’m sure he and his congregation would be delighted to welcome you. See his website: https://www.communityreformedchurch.org
Holmdel Community United Church of Christ: Pastor David “Bo” Bocock offers in person and live-streamed worship at 10 AM. Please visit their website as they require reservations for in person worship: http://holmdelucc.org
Colts Neck Reformed Church: Pastor Scott Brown offers in person (11 AM) and live-streamed (9:15 AM) worship. Please visit their website as they require reservations for in person worship: https://coltsneckreformed.org/worship/worship-times-and-faq
Or, please attend a church of your choice. In addition, if you would rather spend some time in quiet prayer and reflection, perhaps with your family and/or friends, Izaak Thorpe has compiled some of our sacred music from this past year. You may find it at this link: https://youtu.be/pTLt_OquX-4. And I have attached a sermon I wrote several years ago from the Lectionary reading for April 18, Luke 24.36-48, called We Are Now the Witnesses.
Beloved, I hope you will view next Sunday as an opportunity to visit a different congregation, enjoy community with other siblings in Christ, and to share the love of Christ with people you don’t often get to see. Please note that Ms. Judy will also be taking this week off for some well-deserved rest, especially after giving us such musical beauty for Holy Week and Easter.
As I take sabbath, I will be praying for God to look after you, keeping you safe, and giving you good emotional, physical, and spiritual health until I return. I end each Friday email with the following statement, and I hope you know how much I truly mean it — In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,