Dear First Church Family,
Given the surge of case counts, 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, luminaria-lit, in-person Carol Sing Service on the Lawn at 4:00 p.m. The service will last 30 minutes. Everyone is welcome! Bundle up, come on down, and sing out your favorite carols!
- Our 6:00 p.m. Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols will now be a livestream only service, broadcast from the Sanctuary. Everyone is welcome to join us—online. First Church staff and choir will lead us from the chancel. Please bring a candle with you to your online watching, and plan to jump on a quick Zoom call after the service so we can greet and wish each other a Merry Christmas! You can also watch the service later in the evening on our YouTube channel.
- Our December 26 and January 2 Sunday services will also be livestream only. We will be back in touch in the new year about future worship plans once we learn more about the local public health situation.
These changes have been put in place after consultation with healthcare and public health professionals. 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, especially the most vulnerable in our midst. 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 carol sing on the lawn, as well as by phone and email. If you need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate. Reach out to our on-call line 617-684-5130 or via email to connect with someone. In this season, we celebrate that God is with us, that God is with you and here for you, and that we are too!
First Church, we’ve done this before and by God’s grace, we can do it again. We hope to see many of you at 4:00 p.m., or online at 6:00 p.m.! In case you missed it, please continue to join us in the prayer that we sent out yesterday:
Spirit of Light and Life,
here we are again,
at the cusp of another wave,
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.
Dan Smith and First Church Staff