December 13, 2020
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Christmas Worship Schedule

The Worship and Music Team met on Saturday, December 5th to discuss how our services for the remainder of Advent and the Christmas season will take shape. The primary concern which guided the team members to make the decisions outlined below is SAFETY. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday and the exposure that many people risked to be with friends and loved-ones, which is causing a large spike in covid cases, as well as the added up-tick in COVID cases brought on by cold weather, the team felt that abundant caution is key to keeping us all safe. Its decisions were unanimous.

When we talk about safety it is a two-fold concern.

First is the safety of those who lead worship. This includes me, Pr. Greg playing the organ, four singers, four members of the praise instrumental team, two people manning the AV station, and two people providing auxiliary support. These fourteen people have shown incredible devotion to making worship happen from February when COVID first took hold right through the present time. That is eleven months risking exposure to one another, and then to the sixty people who came to in-person worship when it was possible from June to two weeks ago. Many of these people, by virtue of their singing, speaking or playing roles, are maskless for part of the time. But they are well distanced.

Second is the concern we must have for those who come to in-person worship. While we carefully observe the requirement that people wear masks and practice social distancing, it only takes one COVID+ person to infect others. We would hope no one would come to worship knowing they are positive, but the unfortunate reality is that people are infectious even when they do not have symptoms. We read about church gatherings being super-spreader events, and we certainly do not want Trinity to be one of them. Moreover, the preponderance of our membership is aged 65+, and this group is especially vulnerable to the virus. It would be tragic for even a single person to be infected at worship.

Many feel an obligation to attend worship, if it is offered face-to-face, and taking that into consideration, here is the plan:

December 13th – The Third Sunday in Advent – Live worship at 10AM without a congregation present. We will have a Baptism this day, which reminds us that a weary world can rejoice!

December 20th The Fourth Sunday in Advent – Live worship at 10AM without a congregation present.

December 20thFamily Christmas Service Prerecorded service of wonderful Christmas music and the happy news of the baby’s birth in Bethlehem. Fertile Soil, the Blue Grass band which gave special meaning to our Thanksgiving service, will be here. Stevie Prather, who entertains us at Praise Worship at Christmas will be seen via video. We will have a children’s sermon. The Praise Team will lead us in singing some of our best Christmas Carols. The service will be available on our various sources at 5PM.

December 24th – The Eve of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Music starts at 8PM and a Festival Eucharist with candlelighting will be celebrated at 8:30PM. The service will be live, and a congregation will be present. We can, however, only accommodate a limited number of people and reservations are required. Please call the church office at 301-733-2878/option 5 to speak with Rich Kittle to make your reservation. If he does not answer, you are welcome to leave a message, but it would be better to call back and speak to him directly. You can, of course, also reach the church office by email: office@tlchag.org. Please make your reservation early to avoid being disappointed.

December 27th – The Festival of the Holy Family, being a Service of Lessons and Carols. This service will be prerecorded to keep our worship team safe after family gatherings at Christmas. We hear lessons which foretell the coming of the Messiah, and its fulfillment in the birth of Jesus. We will sing our favorite carols, and words and music will be available on-screen. There will be special instrumental music. The service will be posted at 10AM that morning.

January 3rd – The Epiphany of Our Lord (Transferred from the 6th). We welcome the visit of the Magi to the Christmas Crib. The team will decide the week of December 27th if we can return to worship in-person. By then we will know how things are shaping up with the spread of COVID.

Some of you will be disappointed in our schedule. We all long for normalcy in these challenging times. It will return, hopefully by early spring, when vaccines are readily available. Until then, SAFTEY FIRST must be our battle cry.

My dad, George, worked as an engineer at a plant which made explosives. When dealing with nitroglycerine, dynamite, and blasting caps, safety must be first. That slogan was printed on everything he brought home from the plant, including his reflective jacket and clipboards. Twice in my early life I remember him getting a call from the plant telling him there had been an accident. On both occasions people died. Of course, being the safety office, these incidents shook him greatly. He took personal responsibility, even though the people involved had probably put production before safety procedures.

With Covid, we are dealing with something as deadly as explosives. Unseen, it lurks among us and is very threatening. It is completely beyond me that many, including people in the highest offices in our government, continue to either deny the existence of COVID, or downplay the consequences it can have when people get infected. It is not the flu. Eighty-three people in Washington County have died; 4,865 people in Maryland have died; 285,564 people in the US have died. The world-wide death toll is 1,535,492 as of this writing. I don’t want to be one of them. I know you don’t either. So, mask over both mouth and nose, distance, and wash up! Lets be cautious, and enjoy this wonderful season as best we can, while being as safe as possible. If that means forgoing for one year the things that make it truly special, I think we can do this out of respect for the common good.

–  Pr. David