". . . to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord." Luke 2:11
While the pandemic has put a damper on our traditional celebrations this year, it has not dampened our desire to celebrate the birth of our Savior. We’ve balanced safety concerns with our desire to celebrate Christmas in the planning of the upcoming services. We hope you’ll join us in whatever way you feel most comfortable and safe. We will follow CDC guidelines for the two in-person events. Please be sure to wear a secure mask and maintain social distancing at all times during these events.
December 20th – Christmas Sunday
10AM in the Sanctuary and on YouTube
Because Christmas is such a special time of year, we’re opening the sanctuary for a short time on the Sunday before Christmas, so members can worship in the midst of the traditional poinsettias, manger scene, Advent wreath, and Christmas tree. We will gather at 10 AM. Please follow all safety precautions and sit only in designated seats. Use hand sanitizer before and after the service. Do not stop to socialize in the aisles. If you wish to greet one another, please do so outside. We will have windows open in the balcony to allow fresh air to circulate during the service. We’ll exit the sanctuary by 10:30 AM. Neil Dokurno will play instrumental Christmas music. Corrine Sternberg will be our liturgist. Al Baron and Nate Chapin will act as welcoming deacons.
If you are in a high-risk group, have any concerns, or are feeling unwell, please stay safe and stay home. An online service Christmas Sunday service will be available on YouTube at 10am on December 20.
Sunday, December 20th – Virtual Christmas Pageant
Our annual Christmas Pageant will be offered virtually this year. Johanna Tessman is organizing a safe online version of this traditional event. She will be sending instructions on how to view the Pageant online.
Bring a Christmas Memory to Fellowship Time on Zoom
Christmas Eve Bonfire at 7PM
This Sunday, Fellowship Time on Zoom will be held from 11 - 11:25AM. If you plan to attend, think about a Christmas memory you'd like to share. The login information will be emailed on Saturday at 10am.
AND Candlelight Service on YouTube at 11PM
Our Christmas Eve services of Lessons and Carols will also be available in person or on YouTube. The 7PM service will take place outside around a bonfire with Neil Dokurno leading the socially distanced and masked caroling. The 11PM service, taped from inside the sanctuary, will be available for you to enjoy on YouTube from the safety and comfort of your home. Look for the emailed link to this service on Christmas Eve, or launch the service from the "Worship" page of our newly designed website.
Poinsettia Donations 2020
Many thanks to all who donated poinsettias this year, adding to the beauty of our sanctuary. Below are the names of those who donated in memory of loved ones who have passed, or in honor of important people in their lives. Donors may take their poinsettia(s) home anytime after our Christmas Sunday service on 12/20.
Poinsettias in Memory of:
Robert Peterson by wife Gayle
Freeman & Helen Danforth by daughter Sue
Robert Hodge by wife Virginia
Bruce & Helen Chapin by Mary Ellen, Nate & Chris Chapin
Bob & Joan Garofalo by Mary Ellen, Nate & Chris Chapin
Parents & Grandparents by Mary Ellen Schildwaster
Our Parents by Fred & Michelle Shiffer
“B” and Clayton Mantie and Robert Paul by Susan Paul
Minnie Jarkovsky, Gramma, and Frances & William Dixey by Lina Dixey Vior
Richard LaPlante by Ruth & Tom Law
Roberta & Vieana Hale and Edward B. Riccio by the Hale and Riccio families
Raymond & Eleanor Palochka, and in honor of Rita Buchowiecki by Peg, Randy & Michelle Root
Angie & John Deegan, Bill & Mary Yeager and Stevie Yeager by Louis & Martha Deegan
Harold & Lois Laumbach by Rev. Nancy Lois
Deceased Members by Ladies Aid
Poinsettias in Honor of:
Pastor Nancy Lois, Bettye Nosenzo, and Betty Behn by Ladies Aid
The Third Church Family by Corrine Sternberg
Our Children & Grandchildren by Jeff & Martha Yardis
Fellowship Time on Zoom -- Sunday 12/27
On Sunday, 12/27, Fellowship Time will be held from 11 - 11:45 AM. It will be hosted by Kim Kennedy as Pastor Nancy will be on vacation. The email containing login information will go out the preceding Saturday morning at 10 am.
Pastor Nancy on Vacation / Holiday Office Hours
Pastor Nancy will be on vacation December 21 – 23, and Christmas Day through New Years Day. The church office will be closed on Thursday, December 24. Please note News & Notes will not be sent on the 24th. The office will be open on Tuesday, 12/29 and Thursday, 12/31.
Visit ChurchTrac via Our New Website
In the bottom right corner of each page on our new website, you'll find a link to ChurchTrac. When the holiday busyness is over, please take a few minutes to visit ChurchTrac to be sure your information is up-to-date. We use the names, addresses, emails and phone numbers in ChurchTrac to communicate with members and want to ensure we're reaching you. To view or edit your information, click the three-line Menu icon in the upper left corner and choose " My Profile." You can edit your own information, or if you encounter any problems, send your changes or additions to Chris Foley: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bible Study on Hiatus
Bible Study will be a holiday break for the next two weeks (12/23 and 12/30). It will resume on Wednesday, January 6.
As Seen in The Congregationalist December Issue
Into the Darkest Hour
It was a time like this,
War and tumult of war,
a horror in the air.
Hungry yawned the abyss-
and yet there came the star
and the child most wonderfully there.
It was a time like this
of fear & lust for power,
license & greed and blight-
and yet the Prince of bliss
came into the darkest hour
in quiet and silent light.
And in a time like this
how celebrate his birth
when all things fall apart?
Ah! Wonderful it is
with no room on the earth
the stable is our heart.
By Madeleine L'Engle
LAST CALL: Annual Pastor Evaluation Closes on 12/19
As Pastor Lois is nearing her first full year as our minister, it is time to provide her with a performance review, including a summary of her areas of responsibilities, with appropriate comments to further expand on 5 categories: Worship, Sermons, Pastoral Care, Christian Education, and Leadership.
This has been a most unusual year with the Coronavirus shutting doors and limiting access to individuals. Rev. Lois has spent the year, not only acclimating herself to her a new community, but also adjusting to a ministry where personal contact is impaired and organizations are unable to meet in familiar surroundings. Your feedback is most important as we plan for future worship services and activities here at Third Church.
Please visit Survey Monday to complete the survey by December 19th.
Support Our Church through Amazon Smile
If you purchase items through Amazon.com, please consider making Third Church the charity of your choice. If you do, Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase price to Third Church, whenever you order through smile.amazon.com. To choose us:
1. Visit smile.amazon.com.
2. Sign in with your Amazon.com credentials.
3. Search for "Third Congregational Church."
4. Select the one in Middletown, CT as the charity of your choice.
Current Office Hours
Rev. Nancy Lois, and our administrative assistant, Chris Foley, have office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-3PM. Our pastor is available to meet with you or visit you at your convenience at other times during the week. She also checks church voicemail and email daily Tuesday through Sunday. Monday is her day off.
Sunday Christmas Service 12/20 10 AM
Fellowship Time 12/20 11:00 - 11:25 AM
Deacons Meeting 12/20 11:30 - 12:30
Christmas Eve Bonfire 12/24 7 PM
*Please pray for Joy Cummings who is having extreme pain from a back abrasion (12/17)
*Please pray for the families of those who have been lost to COVID-19 (12/17)
*Please pray for all healthcare workers (12/17)
Prayer requests are listed for 4 weeks. Please let Chris Foley know if you would like to keep them on longer.
Pray for Our Shut Ins
Betty Behn, Sally Parker, Bettye Nosenzo and Evelyn Macensky, Karen Keathley