Trinity Tidings December 2020 / January 2021
Dear Members and Friends of Trinity,
Greetings in the Holy Name of our Advent King! Be of good cheer! Advent is here and Christmas is coming! Micah 5:2 reads, “You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for Me one who will be ruler over Israel.” In 1868 Phillips Brooks wrote “O Little Town of Bethlehem” for a Sunday School Christmas festival. Three years before, he had stood on the Judean hills and viewed the Bethlehem below. That’s what set him off to write the song.
The day after Thanksgiving after the sunset, it quickly got dark. I walked down the long road that leads up to our church in order to take the sandwich board sign down on Route 7 and bring it back up the hill on the dolly. But when I was on the top of the hill, I could see all of the lights from the houses in the valley of New Milford and on the small mountain on the far side of the Housatonic River. It looked so serene and peaceful and I thought of the hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and I sang it. I was by myself so no one heard!! What peaceful moments God gives to us when we least expect them. If you were ever in a pageant or attended one, you no doubt heard the children singing the song. Living in New York City and The Bronx didn’t make me think of a little town. But living here makes it “hit home.”
Perhaps you were born in a little town or you have relatives or friends living in a small town. Jesus the Messiah was born in a small town. There are shepherds in the Christmas event and Jesus later became known as the Good Shepherd. Jesus came to bring peace to us, in many different ways. I found peace that night when I brought the Thanksgiving signboard back up the hill. That’s only one very short time but I can’t replay it again. It just happens. There will be moments for you during this Advent and Christmas when God will speak to you during a peaceful meditative moment. Watch for those times this season. If you get too busy with the secular rush of the “holidays” you will not notice those moments. They are truly spiritual and they give you peace. They can strengthen your faith as well.
Jesus came to give us a much greater peace. Saint Paul wrote, “He came and preached peace to you.” The peace He proclaimed was our reconciliation with God, which He accomplished on the cross.
The name Bethlehem means “house of bread.” It is the birthplace of Jesus, who is Himself the Bread of Life. We receive Jesus every time we attend the Holy Eucharist, when we receive Him in this Blessed Sacrament. I pray that sometime soon in the New Year we will once again be in church and be receiving Jesus with each other regularly in this community of Trinity Lutheran Church. In the meantime, watch for the peaceful moments God has in store for you!
Have a Blessed Advent and Christmas!
Pastor Christian Bunzel
Our Christmas schedule has been modified this year. We will not have the Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve. Even with a small crowd, we can be taking a gamble. It is difficult to social distance in our sanctuary with a large attendance and I do not like the recent rules of turning people away in order to have proper social distance. Besides, this service is mostly singing which is not recommended at this time. Pastor
However, we will continue to celebrate the birth of Christ at the
CHRISTMAS DAY EUCHARIST: 10:00 a.m. December 25th
Please wear a mask, sit far apart and do not converse with each other before or after the service inside of the church for health reasons. Conversations are disruptive to other worshippers during the organ prelude. Before the service is a time of prayer and meditation on your gift of the New Born King. “SILENCE IS GOLDEN.” Greet one another in the parking lot afterwards if you wish. Thank you for your cooperation.
POINSETTIA PLANTS – Thank you for placing Christmas plants in the Chancel during this beautiful season. Please TAKE YOUR POINSETTIA with you following the service and beautify your home. Plants will not be delivered to nursing homes or other members.
THE ADVENT WREATH – A smaller wreath is placed on a pedestal in the Chancel this year. It was a gift to Pastor Bunzel and is hand-made of pinecones by his cousin Louise Koepchen years ago. It is filled with evergreens and holly. The white center candle is lit on Christmas Day representing the birth of our Savior!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY – to Mary Joyce who turns 100 years young on Sunday, December 6th. Wow!!! Congratulations to you, Mary. May you have a future filled with good health, restful moments, peace and serenity!! May our Lord Jesus continue to guide you in all your ways!
PASSED INTO LIFE
Elizabeth Krizan, the sister of Danny this past month. Our deepest sympathy to Danny and the Family. Betty was 95 years old.
Laurie Kooney, the niece of Chris Wharton. The Service of Christian Burial was at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Newtown, CT on October 31, 2020. Interment at Saint Rose Cemetery. Laurie was 47 years old. Our deepest sympathy to Chris and the Family.
- TO OUR GENEROUS MEMBERSHIP for faithfully mailing in their weekly offerings and special donations to Trinity Church during the year of 2020 since March when we discontinued church services due to the coronavirus. This is so very important. You know that the work of the church goes on, no matter what we are going through! God bless you and keep you!
- To Chris Wharton for clearing out the main entrance garden for winter and for decorating the entrance pedestal with fall flowers.
- To Roger Arguello, our treasurer for so faithfully taking care of the weekly offerings, paying the bills, keeping track of bank statements, sending out the congregations financial statements, and all of the “extras” involved in this job that we don’t know about! What a fantastic job he does! We appreciate Roger’s time and dedication to Trinity Church.
- To Randy Weimar and his son Ben for putting in storm windows and going about keeping the church in good shape. Also for mowing the lawns for those months. Now Randy and Ben can take a reprieve from the lawn mower!
- To Elder Michael Gold for taking care of the business of renters at Trinity. During the pandemic, Michael dealt with different ways to accommodate the groups so that they could resume meeting in the Fellowship Hall under the new guidelines of the State of Connecticut. Chairs are set apart now for social distancing, large fans to move air around and fresh air from the outside. Cleaning chairs, doorknobs, etc. are all taken care of by individuals who attend the meetings. We thank him for his time and support of Trinity Lutheran Church.
- To Cathy McGrath, our Parish Secretary for her work all year typing bulletins, newsletters, and many other tasks that only she knows about and does without complaint. She also set up the website for Trinity Church and types Pastor’s sermons weekly, puts in theme pictures, and sends them out to our “e-mail” families. She also picks up all of the Easter and Christmas plants and decorates the Chancel for these major Holy Days. We appreciate Cathy’s love and dedication to Trinity Lutheran Church.
MARCH FOR LIFE – The next March for Life will be FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2021 in Washington D.C. Missouri Synod Lutherans, Roman Catholics, and many other Evangelicals will march for the rights of the un-born and the elderly. More information may be found at “marchforlife.org.”
HOW TO PROTECT OUR SENIORS – by Michael Gold, GeronNursing and Respite Care, Inc. – Remember when Mom would tell you to wash your hands before dinner? When we were kids, we would play outside all day with our neighbors. There were no video games except for “Pong” in the mid to late 70’s. Life was certainly simpler without all the tech devices.
So now, we are in the middle of a pandemic. As history repeats itself, we are right on time for the 100-year illness. As the world races for a vaccine, technology now keeps us informed of that progress. So, the question is: how do I help protect my aging parents? With the graying of America and folks living longer, we realize the fragility of life.
My mom lives next door and has watched my children grow up. Mom taught me the nursing business and sold it to me in 1994. She retired just last year as our Geriatric Care Manager and Registered Nurse. I watch as she becomes a bit more unsteady on her feet and her gait has become more sideways. She certainly has nothing wrong with her brain and she is as sharp as ever. We discuss business and the impact of the virus on our clients and caregivers. We are proud to report we have had no incidents of COVID-19 among our clients and staff.
Mom believed in caring for others in their homes. For over 30 years, this idea has become our mantra: it is our responsibility to care for our fragile seniors at the level of care needed and wanted. Home is the best place to care for them. Not only for their comfort level, but for the susceptibility of disease in a facility setting. I’m not saying that nursing homes and rehabilitation centers do not have their role in the aging continuum of care. However, especially during a pandemic, we need to help limit their exposure to others. We can shop, run errands, and transport our seniors to doctor appointments. Help to limit large groups visiting all at once and dissuade them from attending big gatherings. Do not be shy to ask visitors to wear masks when around older people. Ask visitors to wash their hands upon entering their home and remain six feet away. We live in Litchfield County, a true bubble of fewer cases of COVID-19 than some of our neighboring counties in Connecticut. Perhaps the second spike of cases may or may not come to the Northwest Hills. It is best to remind our elders, friends, and family of these protecting places.
Handwashing is paramount just like Mom said when we were growing up!
This article is from the October 2020 issue of New Milford Living.