Christmas and Epiphany Update

Greetings, all! The peace of our soon-to-arrive Saviour Jesus Christ be with you all.

This is the letter that many of you don’t want to receive. Along with many of you, I have been watching the rising Covid numbers across the province and in our communities. There have been outbreaks at some of our nearby schools and workplaces. This latest variant is far more transmissible than expected, meaning that we have had to pivot more quickly than we had hoped. While we find hope in the arrival of booster shots and continued caution by many in our communities, the situation is far different than we had at the beginning of Advent.

With all this in mind, we have decided to move our Christmas Eve service and other activities online for the time being. Details are at the bottom of this letter. Myself and the worship leaders are making this decision out of an abundance of caution, for the sake of the health of the most vulnerable in our communities, and out of respect for the health-care and public health heroes that are begging us to reduce our contacts and event sizes.

We have been very fortunate to have many in-person Advent activities. Sunday services, decoration services, Santa Claus parades, craft times and coffee times, pie-making and Blue Christmas services… a lot of things that we couldn’t have done last year. Hold on to the memories of these events in the times to come, and the joy and love that we felt in them.

We are also fortunate to have the technological abilities to offer worship from the safety and warmth of our own homes. While it would have been nice to celebrate the birth of Christ in the church buildings we cherish, the message and impact of Christmas is most fully felt in our homes, among our families and neighbours. We want to see the manger, but we are reminded that Jesus was born in the manger due to capacity issues. God breaks into our lives in the bleakest and most unexpected places. Christmas isn’t cancelled. Christ is still with us, and we are still with our siblings in Christ, even if we are not standing next to each other, physically.

Please know that this was not an easy decision. I’ve been daydreaming for a while about my first Christmas in the sanctuaries with you all. This might be even more difficult as other churches will be still trying to have their services in-sanctuary. But the message from those who know its impact the worst is clear – we need to prevent and prepare where we can. We need to live out God’s love for those on the margins, the lowly and vulnerable, by not adding to the burden on our healthcare system and communities.

As you celebrate the holidays safely and faithfully with your families, we hope that you will join us in our online worship services. If you know of any in our congregation or community who don’t have the tech access or skills, see if you or someone who does have the tech access can connect them to our services. Or you can always reach out to me directly for assistance.

Christmas and Epiphany Worship Plans:

Sunday, December 19th – “Christmas in the Barn” Live Nativity Service (10:30 a.m.)

  • Joint outdoor service at the Brussels Conservation Area (where our August outdoor service was held)
  • Will move indoors to Brussels United Church if inclement weather, but we will try as hard as possible to have it outdoors.
  • There will be some straw bales for seating, but you are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets as you like.
  • The service will last approximately half an hour.

Friday, December 24th – Zoom Christmas Eve Service (7:30 p.m.)

  • Joint service hosted out of the Blyth United Church sanctuary.
  • Join us for a worship of song and prayer, followed by a selection of carols offered by the talented musicians of Blyth.
  • Watch for a separate email with the Zoom link and further instructions. All are welcome to attend virtually!

Sunday, December 26th – Lessons and Carols Service (available any time on Youtube)

  • Enjoy a pre-recorded lessons and carols service offered by the Brussels Ministerial.
  • Look on the “Brussels and Blyth United Churches” Youtube page for the service.

Sunday, January 2nd, 2022 – Zoom Epiphany Sunday Communion Service (10:30 a.m.)

  • Joint service hosted out of the Brussels United Church sanctuary.
  • Join us for a time of worship and communion. Have your own bread and drink ready.
  • Watch for a separate email with the Zoom link and further instructions. All are welcome to attend virtually!

Following these services, the Spiritual Growth Team will meet and evaluate how things are looking post-holidays, and when we will be returning to in-sanctuary worship. There are unknowns in the times to come, but what is known is the love and presence that God has for us, and our call and ability to care for one another in tough times. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Christmas blessings to you all!

Alex Jebson

Student Minister – Blyth and Brussels United Churches


Blyth Office Number: 519-523-4224

Brussels Office Number: 519-887-6259

Emergency Pastoral Number: call/text 705-344-3385

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