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Preparing to renew our commitment to God in the New Year (oh and COVID news).

We will be worshiping this Sunday and when we do it will be the second day of the New Year and the ninth day of Christmas. What a fabulous time to once again (or for the first time) offer ourselves to God to be used for sharing the Good News. What that looks like is different for us all but we are called to continually listen to where God is leading us and then to actually follow. The wisemen or kings who came from the East to see Jesus surely made a mighty commitment to find Jesus and present him with gifts. They travelled for a very long time and a great distance, how far are you willing to go to follow God? We will explore this on Sunday and you will be given time to reflect and make a personal commitment.

On Thursday, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner declared a state of emergency in the county because of COVID positivity rate reaching 25% in the county. And last night at 1am the Frederick County Council and County Executive Jan Gardner voted that starting at 5pm on Dec. 31st everyone five years and older will be required to wear a face covering in public indoor spaces where they are unable to stay at least six feet away from people who are not members of their household. In response, we are requiring face masks unless you can not wear one for medical reasons. In addition, we have decided to stop having our Fellowship time downstairs after the 8 am service for the next couple of weeks. We also are taking a little pause in having the choir and praise team up front singing in worship since they are singing very close together and we do not have special choir masks that allow them to be fully heard. We of course will still have singing in our worship thanks to Holly Phillips being able to lead us. A good number of churches in our conference have gone to only live-streaming in order to protect their members but we have decided to continue to offer in church worship alongside live-streaming and allow you to decide the level of risk you are comfortable with.

The bulletin for this Sunday is attached. The bulletin has a condensed list of the leadership of our Church as we start a New Year. We thank all those that have served faithfully and have decided it is time to move on from past positions. We thank those that have agreed to step up to help lead in the coming year.

As always we are live-streaming on our Facebook page or our YouTube channel. For those that are watching when we live-stream we do have a person that can see the comments posted if there are sound issues. While we don't want to fixate on every little sound issue we do want to know when something is way off and affects your ability to be able to enter into worship. I will warn those watch on Facebook they sometimes mute the video clips I use after the livestream. Unless you are watching worship when it is live I would recommend watching on the YouTube channel because the quality is better.

We are not passing offering plates so the wooden boxes are available to put your offering in. The 2022 offering envelopes are in church mailboxes for those that continue to use them for their offering. Of course you can also give online, use text to give (844-406-0358), or mail the offering to church.

We will be collecting prayers in the prayer box on the table in the parlor. Also, if you have announcement that you need to be shared please write them down and give them to me before the service. This will be an ongoing practice for prayers and announcements to help ensure that they are heard and understood by all (especially those worshipping with us virtually).

This is a communion Sunday and we are going to be doing something special as we commit ourselves to God in the new year. You will have to join us for worship to find out but I assure you that those live-streaming will also be able to join in too.

We had hoped that by 2022 we would have COVID and its disruptions behind us. We now know that it is not going to be the case. Yet, that doesn't mean we stop committing ourselves to God and looking for ways to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. We will not be stopped by COVID because we are called to follow Jesus and not turn back. We may need to find new ways and revive old ways to share the Good News but we will continue on our journey to expand the kingdom of love and grace to the world. Let us commit ourselves to that this Sunday as we gather in the sanctuary and virtually!



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