Christmas Worship Update
Dear Good Shepherd,
Merry Christmas to each of you! I will be glad to worship with you tomorrow to celebrate the gift of God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ. Tomorrow we will celebrate a miraculous gift given to us – the gift of God’s presence deep within us.
I am writing to let you know of a few changes to our services on the Windsor campus and at the Hill. We are making these changes in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and to the increasing number of people in our parish community who are being affected by COVID-19. I hope that these changes will present you with more options to participate in our Christmas celebration.
- We will continue with all of the worship services we had previously planned (you can find that schedule here).
- The 2:00p Christmas Pageant + Holy Eucharist will be outside on the Windsor campus. We will have chairs available outside, and you are welcome to bring a blanket or chairs. We will celebrate the full service outside, including the wonderful and lively Christmas pageant!
- When you are inside parish buildings, we strongly encourage you to mask regardless of vaccination status.
- We will offer socially distanced seating in a portion of our indoor worship spaces.
- We will return to distributing the bread at communion, without receiving from the chalice.
I hope that these changes will provide additional choices regarding worship on both of our campuses and will help as many people as possible to feel comfortable worshipping with us. As a reminder, if you feel sick, please worship with us online instead of in person.
In addition, as we had previously planned:
- We will offer outdoor seating for our 5:00p church building and 8:00p church building services on the Windsor campus. This will include viewing screens for those seated outside.
- We will livestream our 5:00p church building and 8:00p church building services. You can watch those services here.
- Our services on December 25 and 26 will continue as planned.
I have made these changes in consultation with the reopening committee, the wardens and the parish staff, and I appreciate their input and thoughtfulness. We all share the same goals: to offer Christmas worship that deepens our experience of the gift of Christmas, to return to the beautiful Christmas traditions at Good Shepherd, and to do this in a manner that offers a range of choices to parishioners and that takes appropriate steps to keep our community safe.
While I believe that these changes are necessary, on a personal note, I am disappointed that we have to make any changes at all. I know this is not what you or I had envisioned for this Christmas. Even in that disappointment, I know that God is present with us, and I believe that our worship tomorrow will continue to include the best of Good Shepherd’s traditions.
I do hope you will worship with us tomorrow in ways that are right for you – indoors, outdoors or online – all in the service of worshipping the miracle of God with us.
Wishing you a blessed Christmas and the best of New Years!
In gratitude and faith,
The Rev. Channing Smith, Rector