Advent and Christmas services

November 19, 2020

Good day siblings in Christ!

After much consideration and discussion, the worship team has recommended that we suspend in-person Sunday morning worship until at least January 2021. This decision was based on the increasing virus numbers in our county and town. I share what this may mean for Christmas Eve below.

For Advent, we are asking you to find a candle to be used as we light our Advent candle week after week. This year, the candle will follow us from Advent into Christmas. It is a way of connecting within our church. So, please find a great candle which is big enough to last at least 5-7 hours.

About Christmas Eve

As of now, the plan for Christmas Eve is this:

A recorded version of the service will be offered on Facebook and YouTube. We are looking for people to help create our service by recording themselves doing portions of our service which will be assigned to them. It won’t be just me and Phil. If you are interested in this, please respond to me and I will send details. We have at least 7 different parts. If we have more than 7 volunteers, I can find more sections to use.

If we are permitted in-person services, the service offered will be very short. It will be an opening prayer, the Gospel reading, a sermon, and listening to Silent Night, unless it is warm enough to go outside and sing a verse or two. We will offer a couple of these mini services with a reservation system.

A final decision about whether we will offer in-person services will be made on December 15 by our worship team. If a decision is made not to have these mini services, the online service will be our only offering for the evening.

There will not be a Christmas Day service this year. The service the following Sunday will be led by our Bishop, as we direct everyone to the Synod’s service on December 27. The Synod is offering this to allow for pastors and worship staff to take a break and we are grateful for this offering.

Whichever way we go, this will be a very different Christmas, but I think we all knew this. The wonderful thing is Christ is still present in our celebrations, the joy of the season is still present, and there will be a day when this is all over. We are closer today than we were yesterday to a vaccine. I continue to thank you for your patience in all of this. It isn’t easy, but I know we pray for one another and I am so thankful. 

Be love,
Pastor Johnson

This week’s services; annual meeting this Sunday

November 11, 2020

Good day siblings in Christ!

Services this week and next week will be online only. One of the things we are keeping an eye on is the Westchester virus numbers. If you did not see the news this week, the percent of people testing positive went from 2.8% to 4.4%. These numbers reflect the week of Halloween, so we will see what the Election Day numbers look like. We continue to monitor the zones that Governor Cuomo has put in place and have multiple plans for Christmas Eve in case there is another shutdown. It will be a different Christmas Eve, but the safety of the congregation and potential visitors will remain a priority.

Annual meeting this Sunday

The annual meeting of the congregation will be this Sunday. It will be on Zoom immediately following the worship service using the Zoom link sent to congregation members. You may contact the church office if you don’t have the link. Please try to connect to the meeting to assure that we have a quorum. 

From our Social Ministry Committee

This Sunday we will be blessing the Lutheran World Relief quilts and kits made by our members throughout the past year. The following Monday, we will box them up and they will be driven by Lois Leonard and Marilyn Grantnor to an in-gathering site at a Lutheran camp in New Jersey. It would be great to have another pair of strong hands on Monday at 10 am to help get the boxes into their cars. If you can help, please contact Karen Polacek to coordinate.

You may have heard about the August warehouse explosion in the port of Beirut, where LWR had sent four shipping containers full of quilts and kits. It was feared that all of these relief goods had been destroyed in the blast. Good news finally came a few weeks ago that these items were not destroyed, thanks be to God. For details, read this article on the Lutheran World Relief web site https://lwr.org/story-hub/humanitarian-aid-refugees-feared-destroyed-beirut-explosion-found-intact In the article, there is a link to a short video showing the goods were undamaged.

Be love,
Pastor Johnson

Groggy from watching election results; worship this week

November 4, 2020

Good day siblings in Christ!

I am a little groggy this morning as I stayed up, like many of you, to watch results come in across the nation. My undergrad degree is in sociology, so trends and stats are part of my excitement point. The only thing I will say about everything happening is keep an eye on your breathing today. During times of anxiety we tend to have quick and fast breaths or we don’t realize we are holding our breath, quite literally. If you feel anxious today, place your two hands on your stomach and breathe in deeply for a count of 10 and breathe out slowly for a count of 10. Do this a few times throughout the day to help take some deeper and more life giving breath.

This week, worship will be both in person and online. I am adding this because I feel we may want to be together this week.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The annual congregational meeting will be on November 15 following worship. It will be on Zoom so all can participate. If your Zoom doesn’t work, please try calling in using the phone number above. We will still be able to hear you. Should we not get a quorum or Zoom goes down that morning, we will send out an alternative plan. Annual reports will be emailed to you by Melanie by Friday.

We are continuing to collect pledges for the 2021 year. We are so grateful for all that has been given to us. Thank you for your continued support.

Be love,
Pastor Johnson

In-person worship November 1 and 7; seeking a ping pong table

October 27, 2020

Good day siblings in Christ!

What a wonderful service last week! It was great to celebrate the day with Carter and his family. 

Worship this week will be in person, so feel free to join us in person or online. After a lot of consideration, next week’s service will also be in person. With such a high tension for election season, I figured some individuals may want to come together following the election to worship or just sit in the sanctuary. So both this week and next week will be in-person services.

On Election Day, if you want to be in the church to pray or be still for a moment, I will leave the office door open during the day and close it in the evening. It will be a place for stillness. This door is far away from those entering the link to vote. Please continue to pray and/or meditate daily during this time.

Our crafting group is looking for a ping pong table. We don’t need the nets or paddles, but just the table to help create beautiful quilts. If you have one, please contact Lois or the church office.

Be love,
Pastor Johnson