On Sunday, November 15, we will celebrate the Festival of Jesus Christ as Chief Elder with our in-person and live streamed Worship Service at 10:00 a.m. During the service we will gather at the Lord’s Table.
The “most wonderful time of the year” is fast approaching! Even with restrictions and guidelines in place, we look for ways to remember and celebrate God’s greatest gift to the world: God’s son, Jesus. I’d like to share some plans that are in place for the Advent and Christmas season, but first some exciting news about Thanksgiving:
I understand that New Philly has been having a Thanksgiving service on the Sunday evening before Thanksgiving. We will do that this year with an in-person (and live streamed) service (following our established guidelines) on Sunday, November 22nd at 6:30 p.m. Registration for attendance at that service will open on Tuesday, November 17th.
What about the morning service on Sunday, November 22nd? I have been asked to preach at the Harvest Celebration of Rolling Hills Moravian Church (Longwood, FL) via Zoom (so I don’t get to go to Florida!). I will be preaching in that service from right here at New Philadelphia. The plan is to join together with the Rolling Hills congregation (virtually) for the morning service. Next week we will send out more details and instructions for being part of that service.
So, on Sunday, November 22nd:
- Morning worship “together with” the Rolling Hills (FL) Moravian Congregation for a “Harvest Celebration.”
- At 6:30 p.m. we will have our in-person (and live streamed) Thanksgiving Service.
There will be 3 different opportunities for celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 24th.
- Our musicians, staff and others in the congregation will be putting together an amazing Virtual Lovefeast that will be streamed at 4:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve. It will not be an in-person service. It will include music (Bells of Joy, Band, Beracah Choir, Chancel Choir, Minor Prophets, instrumentalists, etc.) and a Lovefeast and Candle Service using Lovefeast bags that can be picked up at the church on Christmas Eve morning (with bun, instant coffee, creamer, sugar, an ode and a trimmed beeswax candle). Bags will also be delivered to our homebound members. As with the Sunday morning services, the Lovefeast will be available for later viewing, but we will encourage people to watch it “together” at 4:00.
- At 6:30 p.m. we will have an in-person Christmas Eve Service in the sanctuary, following our guidelines and restrictions and with no Lovefeast “elements” (food or beverage). We will use battery-operated candles and have one soloist for Morning Star (with the Worship Team responding antiphonally). The service will focus on Christmas music, the Christmas story (with the help of the putz) and other “Christmas-y” features. Registration for in-person Christmas Eve Service will post at a later date.
- At 8:00 p.m. we will have an informal outdoor Christmas gathering under the tree lights, with live Christmas music similar to the set-up for the drive-in communion services. Coffee and cookies will be available (one person will be assigned to pour coffee from the urn as people hold their cups to be filled and each person will be given a prepackaged cookie). It will be a time of joyful fellowship!
In addition to all of this, Clyde is moving forward with exciting plans for 12+ Days of Service; our organist, Michael Westmoreland, is preparing lots of Christmas and Advent music for “extended preludes” during Advent; members of our band will be recording heart-warming, traditional music to share throughout the season; Evie has some exciting things “up her sleeve” for the New Philly kids; Zach and Erin are keeping the Youth focused on the message of the season; instrumentalists are preparing special music…
Yes, it looks like it can still be the “most wonderful time of the year!”