December 23, 2020
Dear Saints of Trinity,
Merry Christmas to all of you, saints of Trinity United Methodist Church. Tomorrow evening we celebrate once again the coming of the Christ child; a child that was sent to live among us, God on earth, Emmanuel. His life was to change the world, to bring light and hope and peace. We are the next generation tasked to do the same. I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate the way you continue to take all of that on, and not just during the Christmas season, but throughout this Covid season. You have been an amazing gift to Dorothy and to me. You continue to be a gift to this community, and a gift on so many levels. And speaking of gifts, think about this past week. We were gifted, not only with the beauty of the snowfall yesterday, but for those with clear skies, the Christmas star shone brightly in the night sky. There are gifts all around us if we will but take the time to look. As strange as this year has been, it’s important that we continue to look and find joy, happiness, love, and peace in the midst of the challenges that surround us. God will continually provide opportunities to notice. We just need to take the time.
I had the privilege of speaking to the Port Angeles Kiwanis Club last week. I told the Christmas story very much as I did throughout Advent. Toward the end, I gave them an assignment. I want to do the same for you. The assignment was to look back on 2020, not with the frustration, or anger, or fear that seemed to encompass so much of our narrative. But to look back and find the places where light penetrated the darkness; where joy overcame the fear and anger; where peace could be found in the midst of the chaos. Look carefully and I assure you, you will find places where you found joy; where you smiled or laughed or found love. Now write those down. Thank God for them. Celebrate them and sit back in wonderment. Like God did on Christmas Eve, we too need to change the narrative from hopelessness to hope, from darkness to light, from fear to love. I kept thinking of that first scripture we heard at the beginning of Advent, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light, and those who are walking in deep darkness, for them a light has come.” Again, as people of faith, we are able to look beyond the hopelessness and find hope; beyond the darkness and find light, and beyond the chaos and find peace. It was promised then and is promised now. Then, we need to share it.
Now, we can’t just look back. We have to also look ahead. As I shared in my letter last week, we can now begin to look ahead toward something new. The scripture that comes to mind is, “Behold, I make all things new,” or even “Seek first the kingdom of God.” This new year of 2021 is going to be a year of making things new, of seeking and finding. It will be a season of hope, and answers to those things hoped for. It will be a season of sharing, of seeking, and of finding. Why? Because we are believers in a God who brings hope and love. We believe in a God of healing and wholeness. We believe in a God who loves us so that we can love our neighbors. We believe in a God who sent Jesus so that we might more fully understand the depth of God’s love for us, and who provided guidelines on how God needs us to live our lives. So, we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come,” knowing the truth of that statement. And we celebrate. Yes, we celebrate, even in the midst of times like these. Merry Christmas, friends! And may the light of Christ shine brightly for you and for those you hold dear.
Some Concerns that we have:
- For those who continue to go through physical struggles, those who are dealing with cancer, or other health situations. Prayers for those who are emotionally feeling lost and alone. Christmas can be a tough time because of recent losses whether it’s family, income, travel, whatever it may be.
- For all those who are ill from the covid-19 virus; for those families who have lost loved ones to the virus; and for all the first responders/essential workers.
- For peace in our country and the smooth delivery of the vaccine.
- For Katherine Parker, missionary to Nepal.
Even though you can’t be with those having birthdays this week, emails or phone calls are appreciated.
Parking Lot service is taking a break for winter
We thank you for your continued support of our ministries here at Trinity and ask that you mail your contributions in to the church. Make sure to use our Post Office Box 3697 instead of our street address.
2020 Christmas Eve Special Offering
Continuing our tradition, this year’s Christmas Eve Special Offering will benefit Nepal. Katherine Parker wrote:
“Our biggest need this year is to keep our hospitals running and able to provide isolation/fever wards for COVID treatment along with providing unfettered access to regular care (such as maternal health), especially for women who are turned away from other hospitals because they can’t get a COVID test required for admission by other locations.”
($50 = surgery supplies for a day; $80 = meals for one COVID-19 patient’s 2 week stay in isolation; $450 = monthly wage for a nurse in a COVID-19 isolation ward.)
Go to https://www.umn.org.np/christmas-appeal for more info. Checks may be issued to Trinity UMC, indicating in the memo section Christmas Eve Special Offering/Nepal. Donations of any amount will be greatly appreciated.
Do you have time to reach out this Christmas?
It continues to be important to connect with others, particularly those who are unable to get out and about. Residents in the Sequim long term Senior facilities particularly appreciate phone calls and cards. Contact your neighborhood leaders for suggestions of people to reach out to.
Year-end contribution reminder
If you want to make a contribution that will be counted for this year’s taxes, it must reach the church by December 30. The last count and deposit will be made on December 31. Thanks for your continued support.
Volunteers are needed to help with the Sequim food box distribution
This program will continue into the new year on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays until Spring or longer as there is still a great need for this service. The January dates/times are Wednesdays, January 13, and January 27th, 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. For additional information, contact Jan Kreidler at 360-681-5027 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Messiah Sing Along
For the first time in nearly 20 years, Trinity United Methodist Church is unable to host the annual “Messiah Sing Along” this year. Pandemic safety guidelines prevent a church gathering which has numbered between 200 and 300 people each December, between Christmas and New Years’. Plan to experience this unusual event when it is possible. In keeping with the first performance of the Messiah, conducted by Handel himself in Ireland to raise money for a Dublin orphanage, local charities have received monetary gifts following the concert. In recent years donations have been sent to both the Sequim and Port Angeles Food Banks from this local sing along event, often known as “Handel With Care.” Singers and listeners leave a donation at the door to the church sanctuary, rather than buy tickets. If you would like to donate this year, please send gifts directly to the food bank of your choice: Sequim Food Bank, P.O. Box 1453, Sequim, 98382; Port Angeles Food Bank, P.O. Box 1885, Port Angeles, 98362.
Upper Room Daily Devotionals
— for January/February are available for you to pick up at the church Monday-Friday 9 am to 2 pm outside the main door by the office.
Trinity United Methodist Church office hours are 9 am-2 pm Monday through Friday. However, due to limited access to the building during this phase of opening, we are keeping the doors locked. There is a doorbell to the right of the main door (by the office) that you need to ring to alert the office and you will be let in. It is best to call ahead so we are aware that you are coming. Thanks so much for your patience and remember when in the building to be sure and wear your mask! The church will be closed from December 24 through January 1 for Christmas through New Years’ Day. For Pastoral emergencies during this time, please call Pastor Brad at 425-628-1250 or Kathleen Charters at 240-463-7598.