Christmas Eve Services at The Union Church

Christmas Eve Services at The Union Church

4:00 PM Outdoor Service Register HERE
6:00 PM. Lessons & Carols Online Zoom Link HERE
View or Download Lessons & Carols Bulletin HERE

Dear Friends,

Given the surge of Covid case counts, there are hard choices to make for our worship practices. Your Phase Forward team has recommended  providing limited in-person gatherings as safely as possible to offer choices that best meet your spiritual needs. As such, we are revising our plans for worship on Christmas Eve and in the coming days. Please see below for important updates and share them widely with friends and neighbors alike! 

  • We are still offering a joyful, masked candlelit, in-person worship Service on the Waban Common in front of the church at 4:00 p.m. The service will last 30 minutes. Everyone is welcome and registration will help us prepare! Bundle up, come on down, as we light, listen and jingle! Please click here to register.
  • Our 6:00 p.m. Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols is fully registered for in-person, but with new restrictions for participation. Everyone is welcome to join us—ONLINE (Zoom link here). Union Church staff, bell choir, soloists and lay readers will lead us from the Sanctuary. Please bring a candle with you to your online watching, and plan to briefly stay on Zoom after the service so we can greet and wish each other a Merry Christmas! In-person registrants will receive an email with additional parameters for participation- including NO singing, double-masking, and extra bundling up with open windows. We will sadly have to turn away unregistered guests in order to maintain the safer threshold we have set, but there is a lot of room at the inn on Zoom.
  • Our December 26 and all January Sunday services will be on Zoom only. All church gatherings beyond worship will also be Zoom only. We will be back in touch in late January about future worship plans once we learn more about the local public health situation.

These changes have been put in place after consultation with our Phase Forward Covid team. With case counts rising exponentially, and hospitals once again flooded, our staff and leaders have discerned that this is the safest course and the best way to love and care for our neighbors while offering individual choices for spiritual needs.   We’ve been advised that the decisions we and other congregations make now will affect the severity of January’s wave of cases and hospitalizations.

We realize this shift may cause stress and pain to some in our community who rely on these services for much-needed solace and connection. Members of our pastoral staff will be available to talk with and pray with you after our 4:00 p.m. service, as well as by phone and email. If you need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to reach out. In this season, we celebrate that God is with us, that God is with you and here for you, and that we are too!  

Union Church, we’ve done this before and by God’s grace, we can do it again. For now, we join our hearts in prayer[1]:

Spirit of Light and Life,
here we are again,
at the cusp of another wave,
anxious, unsure,  
exhausted, afraid.
After so many months, 
our endurance is flagging. 
We need you, God! 
We need your strength.
We need your courage
We need your wisdom and grace.
In this Christmas week,
let your presence and light
meet us wherever we are,
and guide our weary hearts to the power of your Love.
We pray for all who are grieving, lonely and afraid,
for all who can no longer keep it together.
Catch us when we fall apart, God.
Let your angels say it to every heart:
Be not afraid!  
For there is good news, too!  
There is great joy, too!
There is glory and majesty and beauty, too! 
For You are God, 
and You are good! 
All the time.

Amen.

Christmas peace,

Pastors Wendy and Amy

for the Phase Forward team- Frank Laski, Alison McCarty, Sandy Nelson, Judy Nagle, Susan Hunt Stevens, Jenny Weisz 

 

[1] With gratitude for this prayer from First Church in Cambridge, UCC