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  • Writer's pictureRev. Susan Cartmell

Merry Christmas! Worship Schedule Inside

A Christmas Message from Rev Susan . . .

Last night about 30 of us gathered at Red River Beach. Two of you brought telescopes. Two others had apps to view the sky and identify the stars. One of you, healing from a broken shoulder, came out last night. Some stayed in cars and others stood together in the cold gazing at that vast evening sky for a sighting of the Star of Bethlehem. This Star of Bethlehem is believed to be what the Wise Men saw so long ago. The two planets Jupiter and Saturn cycle past each other in a way that makes them converge in earth’s sky every 400 years and it has not been so close to us for 800 years -- since the 1200’s.

As we waited on Red River Beach we saw a beautiful sunset. We wished one another Merry Christmas. We huddled at safe distances in the breeze. We all think we spotted the Star of Bethlehem.

Maybe it’s the pandemic or the disruption in our normal holiday activities. Maybe it's the worry and the loss but somehow this year it seemed important to see this star with our own eyes. People everywhere have looked up this week.

But that star was really just the excuse for our gathering. It brought us together on that breezy beach but it was not the reason we lingered looking to the Southwest sky long after the sun had set. What kept us there was something else. That impulse to stay a while came from our desire to enjoy each other, to huddle together as best we could at the end of a cold and confusing year.

It’s not the first time you impressed me this year in the way you have responded to invitations to be the church community, despite all the challenges and constraints. It is the way you have turned out for yard sales, and pod singing, for Black Lives Matter demonstrations, for a funeral and confirmation on the lawn, for Advent workshops and Zoom meetings month after month. You have showed up for coffee hours and joined PODS. You have sent cards, made calls and walked other people’s dogs and prayed for each other all year. Again and again you have demonstrated your courage, your kindness and your robust determination.

Writing in the New York Times last weekend, hospice physician B.J. Miller wrote, "Beyond fear and isolation, maybe this is what the pandemic holds for us, the understanding that living in the face of death can set off a cascade of realization and appreciation. Death is the force that shows you what you love and urges you to revel in that love while the clock ticks."

In the face of so many losses and a sense of palpable danger, we have come to cherish one another and the hope we have for this beloved community we participate in and create anew whenever we gather.

This comes with my prayer that you will find the true blessings of Christmas this year and that together we can anticipate a happier New Year.


Rev. Susan



There will be no evening prayer service on Wednesday, December 23rd. However, there are two ways to worship on Christmas Eve . . .

Wednesday, December 24:

4 pm, on the lawn

live with Rev. Susan,

featuring Fred Drifmeyer on keyboard,

and opera singer Kristen Howard.

Live nativity.


6 pm, online

with Rev. Susan,

children reading scripture,


Charles Overton on harp.

Live at 6 pm or any time on, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram

Sunday December 27th @ 10:00 AM

(no coffee hour)

Sermon: "The Hope of the Shepherds"

(Luke 2:8-20)

The Shepherds were overwhelmed by a choir that brought them the news that God’s gift had been given to the world. How in the world did these humble folks see the signs of God’s grace first? What was it about these unlikely messengers that made them perfect for this?

View on Facebook live,,

Instagram, or YouTube

More about online worship at


Wednesday, December 30th, 6 pm

Evening Prayer service resumes

-- a replay of Christmas Eve's 6 pm worship service



(There will be a musical format for worship

on Sunday, January 3rd & Wednesday, January 6th)

Sunday, January 3rd @ 10 AM:

Listen to 30 minutes of Fred Drifmeyer's new Christmas CD and look at pictures from our Christmas services. (No coffee hour)

Purchase or download CDs online,

or call Val at 203-464-4470


Epiphany Concert, Wednesday, January 6th @ 6 PM:

Listen to the remaining 30 minutes of Fred's CD.

VIEW all taped services live or any time at, Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube

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