Christmas is coming!! Christmas is coming!! Oh no, Christmas is coming and we are in a pandemic with weather that is uncertain. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!?!
At Tom's Creek we are going to do what we have done all year. Figure out how to make it work no matter what Satan tries to throw at us. We move forward with boldness but also try to prepare for what might happen. In the end we will trust that God is in the midst of it as we pray over our upcoming time to worship the birth of the Christ child. So this blog is preparing us and sharing what we have planned and the possibilities of some issues that might arise so we can all plan on how we are going to worship on Christmas Eve. And while it will not look like any other recent Christmas Eve know this...WE WILL WORSHIP AND WORSHIP WILL BE AVAILABLE TO YOU!!!
On Christmas Eve, which is this Thursday, this is what we have planned. PLEASE READ ABOUT THESE CHOICES AND PLEASE SHARE WITH THOSE YOU KNOW THAT DON'T GET E-MAIL OR DON'T CHECK E-MAIL.
1. We have planned on having a Praise and Worship service at the Promised Land at 5pm. We will have the Faith Boyz with us to lead the music. This service will be out on Facebook and YouTube for those that wish to watch from home. At this point we don't know what the area at the Promised Land will be like for parking. There is snow currently on the grounds and if there is not snow on the ground Christmas Eve the potential is high that the ground will be very soft. If needed we will have a path that will lead up to the Pavilion and people can get out and sit under the Pavilion. We will have heaters and tables will be spaced out for seating or you can bring your own seating. If you wish to stay in your car you can tune into 95.7 FM or if it is hard to get a radio station in your car you could call in on your cell phone to get the audio (857-799-9465). THE FM CHANNEL CAN ONLY BE RECEIVED IF YOU ARE ON THE PROMISED LAND PROPERTY. There will not be a bulletin, there will be the wooden offering boxes, there will be battery operated candles to use for Silent Night at the end of the service.
2. We have planned on having a Traditional Caroling worship service at the Promised Land at 7pm. At this point we have planned to have songs sung by George Bruchey, Christine Botker, and Joe Coleman. Yet, weather and health could change their ability to be with us to sing. We will have lots of carols that we sing no matter who is available and healthy to join us for the special music. Once again, this service will be on Facebook Live and on Youtube and you can watch with others from wherever you are. For those watching online this service will actually have the words and the music for you to see and join us. I would not recommend watching online from the Promised Land because there is a significant delay in the video feed. If you wish to stay in your car you can tune into 95.7 FM or you could call into to get the audio (857-799-9465) if it is hard to get a radio station in your car. THE FM CHANNEL CAN ONLY BE RECEIVED IF YOU ARE ON THE PROMISED LAND PROPERTY. There will not be a bulletin, there will be the wooden offering boxes, there will be battery operated candles to use for Silent Night at the end of the service.
3. We have planned to have a 9pm service that is made for online worship. It will be from them Tom's Creek Sanctuary with wonderful music and will include a Love Feast. Communion is meant to be done in community and that you would receive the elements from the Pastor. For this service you will gather your own body and blood elements and have them with you. For the more traditional of us you might want to have bread and grape juice with you for this. For some you might decide that for this Love Feast you are going to have milk and cookies and have them with you for the service. This service will Premiere on Facebook and YouTube starting at 9pm and after that will be available to you for worship the rest of the night.
4. We have planned to have a short and in person Communion Service in the sanctuary on Christmas Eve. This service is by RSVP only. You call/text/email me, Pastor Heath, 410-758-7707 or firstname.lastname@example.org, to reserve your spot before Christmas Eve. I loathe to have it done this way but with COVID concerns this is the only way that we can have a safer in-person worship service on Christmas Eve. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE if you have any desire to come to this worship reach out to me and let me know. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not decide to not reach out because you want to save space for others because what has happened is everyone is caring so much about making space for others that very few come that wanted to be there. NOW about the time because it has been published for 2 different times and that is because of watching the weather and trying to plan. Originally the weather was supposed to take a much colder and snowy turn about 11pm so I switched the time to 10pm knowing it is only going to be a 30 minutes service at the most.
As I have stated during the summer, the weather people and the computer models do not dictate weather but weather is in control of forces much higher up than they are(: So I have decided that it officially will be at 11pm and if you can't make it due to the weather DO NOT RISK YOUR LIFE just because you contacted me to reserve a spot. This service will NOT be online and the sanctuary will be lit with mostly just candles (many of them battery operated) and each person will be given a battery operated candle to hold during the service. We ask that you do not arrive more than 10 minutes before the service because amount of time with others matters for COVID and we are trying to be as safe as possible while having an in-person service. Communion will be received at the very end on the way out to your vehicles so that masks stay on while inside. This service will only be in-person and will NOT be available online like the other 3 options.
I know this was a long email but I want you to be able to start preparing for Christmas Eve worship knowing your choices. I know we have all looked forward to the Promised Land worship but wanted people to prepare for the lack of parking and the soggy conditions. None of us know what the conditions will be on Christmas Eve and I will give an update later in the week as we get closer. This is just phase one of preparing you so that you WILL be able to worship with us in some form. We have not let Satan stop up this whole year from proclaiming the Good News and we are not about to allow him to ruin Christmas. It just means it might not be as we have envisioned it to be BUT it wasn't the way for Mary and Joseph envisioned it either. This might actually be one of the most Christmasy Christmas's in a long time!