Christmas church services will be different this year | Bemidji Pioneer

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The BEMIDJI-Christmas Eve service usually brings a large crowd of people to the local church, but it will not happen this year. You can blame it on the coronavirus pandemic.

However, according to some local pastors, there is a silver lining. Although face-to-face worship will be restricted by 2020, in many cases, the ability of live broadcast services has expanded the reach of the church.

"Overall, we are able to do something meaningful and we are very encouraged," said Jerry Johnson, the chief pastor of Bemidji's Evangelical Free Church, which is scheduled to be held at 6:30 pm and 5 pm on Wednesday. Live and live broadcast Christmas service Thursday afternoon. “For these Christmas Eve services, we may attract people from 8 to 10 different states to participate. Maybe people from the other side of the world usually don’t even think of inviting or joining. From our perspective, the church is more than just Local churches around the world."

The Evangelical Freedom Church filled its shelter with about 500 believers during its Christmas Eve service last year. This year, it will space the chairs apart so that the family can be separated by an appropriate distance. There will be about 180 chairs in the shelter, and 280 chairs in the other three rooms of the whole church to provide both services.

Johnson said: "At these times, our real goal is safety." "We will use big screens to set up three overflow spaces, and the pastor will greet people. They will watch live broadcasts from other spaces in the building, but they will interact with It’s of course very meaningful to watch with others."

Johnson said that what he missed most was the time he provided complete face-to-face service, the time he spent with congregations and visitors.

He said: “It’s amazing how much time you spend 15 minutes before and after the service visiting people.” “I’ve always loved doing this. I only realized how valuable this is and how valuable it is until this year. Meaning. This has always been a priority, but you don’t know what you have until it disappears. We feel it."

Bemidji Covenant is another church that is used to welcoming more than 500 believers to its Christmas Eve service. It will hold services at 4pm and 6pm on Thursdays and can accommodate up to 210 people per person. You need to register through the church's website, and the early service as of Monday is full. There are still some locations for future use on Tuesday. Both services will be broadcast live.

Chief Pastor Todd Ertsgaard said: “We set a ceiling so that we can keep our distance from others and follow the guidelines.” “This has been a crazy year. But (live) is for us. It’s a positive thing. Not only can we obey the needs of our congregation, but we may not be able to connect with others.”

Smaller churches will also be adjusted this Christmas. The Shimi Church plans to conduct two Thursday services at 4:30 and 6:00 pm on Thursdays.

Pastor Chris Hess said: "We are absolutely fighting for it, because for us, our Christmas Eve service is actually one of the biggest services of the year." "It is usually packaged. ."

The service usually features the children of the congregation dressed as a manger scene. But this year, Hess said that asking members to submit videos of their children and share what Christmas means to them, the results are both fun and poignant. These videos will be displayed in both services.

Hess said: "I'm very excited about this." "I think we finally got a dozen videos that we compiled together. We have a family that recorded a manger scene, and a family did a little bit of singing. But they Most of them are just children answering this question, and it's obviously very interesting. The children can say all kinds of things."

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