Important Congregational Message

Last night (Dec 16) the Session heard a report from the COVID Task Force, reviewed new state guidelines, and considered advice from members in the medical community. The Session engaged in fruitful discussions and referred to our guiding principles before unanimously voting to keep the church building closed through Jan 8 and limit worship to digital options. This includes Christmas Eve worship. Read about the various digital worship options Derry will offer on Christmas Eve.

At one time, the Session considered holding short outdoor services on Christmas Eve. However, due to safety concerns about lighting, snow and ice, cold, and the continued risk of spreading the virus at in-person gatherings, the Session decided digital worship is our best option. The local COVID situation has gotten much worse since our November Session meeting. Our hospitals are overwhelmed. Some members and friends of Derry Church and your loved ones have suffered from or even lost their lives to complications from COVID. In an expression of love and concern for our community and in the spirit of faithful citizenship, the Session made what they believe to be the most responsible decision for this season.

While this may not be surprising news, we understand it may be disappointing. We know Christmas Eve is a special night steeped in tradition and memory, and we will offer meaningful online worship options. If you’re like me, you love singing carols with the choir or brass, singing “Silent Night” by candlelight, and wishing a merry Christmas to friends as you leave worship. Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days of the year. Like so many other days this year, it will be different.

But Christmas will still come. We will still worship and celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. Christmas is not found only in packed sanctuaries, in carols sung by choirs, and in congregations holding candles. Christmas has always meant so much more. It will come again this year even if we worship at home without friends or family, because the good news of Christmas is that we are never alone. God is with us always.

I invite you to join us for one or more of our digital Christmas Eve worship services. I hope you will find new ways to celebrate the good news of Christmas wherever you are and whoever you are with. This is a good year to remember what Christmas is truly all about:

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; 
authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, 

Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 

May the hope, peace, joy, and love of God be with you now and always, and may you have a merry Christmas.

Pastor Stephen