CHRISTMAS EVE, CHRISTMAS DAY, & THE 1ST SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS
My dear friends in Christ,
We will have two online services on Christmas Eve: one at 4 p.m. and the other at 7:30 p.m. The earlier service will be a celebration of Spiritual Communion with special hymns by and a special message for the younger members of our parish, but of course everyone is both invited and encouraged to tune in and take part. The evening service will be a traditional service of Holy Eucharist offered on behalf of our parish, our nation, and our world, in celebration of the coming into the world of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Ordinarily (and by “ordinarily” I mean “in a year not shaped by the worst pandemic in global living memory”), we would have a third service, as well, on Christmas morning. This year’s being what it is, however, and given the fact that we still cannot gather together in person to worship, we will not be streaming an additional service on the 25th itself.
Our bishop, +Matt Gunter, has very graciously but very firmly encouraged the clergy of the diocese to take a bit of unscheduled time off during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. I extend that very same invitation to all of you: if you can, take this opportunity to rest and recharge immediately after Christmas.
The All Saints virtual-office will therefore be closed during that week. We’ll take a break from regularly scheduled Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline, as well as from our regular Monday and Thursday Bible study and Faith Talk, respectively, in order to have a bit of a Sabbath before we carry on into the new year together.
Now, I won’t be on vacation. I’m not going anywhere (and wouldn’t, anyway, until we’re all nice and vaccinated!); I’ll still be reachable by phone (920.266.9262) and by email (email@example.com) ~ especially in the case of pastoral emergency. But I think the bishop’s notion that we ought to lay low and breathe easy for just a bit after Christmas is a good notion, and I think most of us could use the break. Please use the links below to access worship services from Christmas Day through New Year’s Day:
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day diocesan services may be found here, starting December 24th at 5 p.m.: https://www.diofdl.org/events/christmas-eve-christmas-day-at-the-cathedral
For the First Sunday after Christmas (December 27th), please tune in to the livestream service from St. Thomas in Menasha here: https://www.stthomaswi.com/livestream/
Pandemics and shut-downs and virtual reality have made for an … interesting … first year among you as your priest and with you as a new member of All Saints parish. Despite the unprecedented challenges we’ve weathered since last Advent, I want all of you to know that my family and I are still absolutely delighted to have been called here to serve God amongst you in this congregation and with you out in this community. This church has been a tremendous blessing to me and mine. I hope that it will continue to be so for you and yours as we move into the coming year. God bless you all!