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Thank you all for a wonderful, successful  South Fork Coat Drive. We collected 160 used and new coats (almost exactly the same amount of each), including a bag of used coats for adults, 14 pairs of shoes, 3 bags of winter sweaters and sweatshirts, and a huge bag full of gloves, scarves and hats.

Delivery will be made to South Fork Elementary this week!

Many thanks to the congregation and our neighbors for their generosity and participation in the coat drive.

 

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Our guidelines for in-person attendance for worship and gathering remain in place for the time being (wearing masks, waiting six feet, washing hands). You can find them in the quarterly newsletter ( https://newphilly.org/pdf/qindex.pdf ) or when you register to attend worship at newphilly.org

Although the vaccines for COVID-19 are becoming available now, everyone attending worship or coming inside the building at church should continue to wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, wash hands and limit gatherings until most people are vaccinated;we continue to care for others by following the guidelines for the safety of our staff and our worshippers. According to North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, “Receiving the COVID-19 shot and following the 3 W’s is everyone’s best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19. “ A person who receives the vaccination receives some protection from the disease but it can still be spread to others without our being aware of it. (See more frequently asked questions at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines/frequently-asked-questions)

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This Sunday: Holy Communion in celebration of the Epiphany of our Lord.

 

We will “gather” at the table in 3 ways:

            In person:

       as part of our in-person worship service at 10:00 a.m. (online registration required).

At home:

       during the live stream of the service (or later in the day!). Please provide your own elements of bread and juice. Pastor Gray will ask God’s blessing on them (no matter where you are!).

Drive-in:

       We will do this in the same way that the Drive-in Christmas Eve gathering was conducted. Please plan to drive through the office-side portico between 11:30 a.m. and noon. After you receive your communion elements and ode, please park in the designated spot (the ones without cones). Pastor Gray and the worship team will either be up on the hill or under the portico and will lead the service from one of those places.

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Our Virtual Christmas Eve Lovefeast will begin at 4:00 p.m. this Thursday, with an extended musical prelude starting at that time. Please drive through the office-side portico at the church between 10 a.m. and noon (on Thursday, December 24) to pick up your “Lovefeast Bags” with everything that you need for the service. The bag will include the Ode that we will follow. If you are not able to pick up a bag, you may provide your own bun, coffee and candle, and please download the ode HERE so that you can follow along. Words to the hymns and carols will not be projected during the service.

 

The 6:30 Christmas Eve Service will not be streamed online. It will be a service of songs and Scripture and will not include a Lovefeast. Battery-operated candles will be distributed. Registration through our website is required for attendance at this service.

 

At 8:00 p.m. we will have an outdoor “Christmas Eve Blessing” that will follow the format that we use for our Drive-through Communion services. Beginning at 8:00 p.m. you are invited to drive through the portico (on the office side) where you will be given everything that you need for the gathering. This will include instructions for a Plan A (no rain) version of the gathering and a Plan B (rain) version. After you are served in the portico, please park in any of the available spaces in the parking lot.

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If you have tuned into our Worship Services over the past two Sundays (December 13 and December 20) you have experienced the first two parts of a “Light of Christ Trilogy.”

On the third Sunday in Advent, I began the trilogy with a sermon on John 1:6 – 8, where we heard a man named John bearing witness to the True Light. John told the people gathered on the other side of the Jordan River that the Light was already among them but they just didn’t realize it or recognize it.

That Sunday I invited all of you to send in your “seeing the Light of Christ among us” stories. Fifteen of you responded and I shared those amazing stories on Sunday, December 20 (part two of the “Light of Christ Trilogy”).

This coming Sunday, December 27, Clyde Manning will complete the trilogy by reading from John 1:10 – 18, and sharing stories about the light of Christ shining in and through many of you!

My prayer is that these reflections on (and of) the light will illuminate our path as we enter a new year. On Sunday, January 3rd, I will preach on “The Promise and Presence of the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:7- 14) and on Sunday, January 10, we will celebrate Holy Communion in observance of the Epiphany. I look forward to discerning and living into all that God has in store for us in 2021.

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