Churches think creatively to keep holiday traditions alive through the pandemic
Some churches will hold online or drive-by services. Others may hold outdoor nativity scenes or send home advent kits.
FARGO, N.D. — One of the most the difficult things people have had to miss out on during the pandemic is attending church; a practice that many hold close to their hearts.
“A lot of people have had trouble adjusting to the fact that they would not be in a house of worship,” said Pastor Bob Ona.
At Northview Church in Fargo, they have made adjustments to help their congregation get through this hard time.
In addition to live-streaming their services online, they have also made the best use of their large space.
“We have had services that give priority to the senior citizens who do want to come and we have had simultaneous services in three or four different parts of our facility,” said Ona. “We have simply live-streamed from the sanctuary into these different groups and that way we have kept the numbers where they need to be.”
The church’s effort have kept people safe and allowed them to hold onto their faith.
As the holiday season approaches, however, the church knows the fear of missing out on their usual religious traditions may worsen.
“During the holidays, people traditionally flock to church,” Ona said. “It is really tough this year because maybe Grandma and Grandpa aren’t going to be having the grandkids over, so the families are really feeling it.”
Even if their parishioners can’t visit in person on the holidays, many churches are trying to think outside of the box to keep the holiday spirit and the faith alive.
“What are creative ways of gathering? Maybe it isn’t a pew. Maybe it is an outdoor live nativity,” said Bishop Tessa Moon Leiseth of ELCA Eastern N.D. Synod. “I think other places are thinking of drive-by options. Other places are prerecording and also thinking about ways we can send things into people’s homes. Some churches are making advent kits for those four weeks that lead up to Christmas so that families can celebrate together.”
Families may have to do without some of their normal traditions this holiday, but through these efforts, the churches are trying to make sure holiday services won’t be one of them.