Churches plan safe Christmas Eve services

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For the first time in many years, St. Luke’s United Christian Church in 1403 South Road will not hold a German concert at 5 pm on Christmas Eve. 

It is innovating with churches in other regions to celebrate Christmas safely during the pandemic.

The 80-member church that was built in 1877 has been closed and restarted since Palm Sunday in response to prices in the COVID-19 area, but it is still planning for in-person service on Christmas Eve, but proceed with caution and reduce some Tradition. 

The secretary of the church, Deloris Blaufuss, said: "We will keep our distance and masks from society. We will only play organ music, not singing."

"We usually sing'Silent Night, Holy Night' in German and English. Since we were a German congregation, it has always been a tradition to sing in German first. This year we will hear its words on the organ as the only announcement. , But we don't sing loudly." Brouvers said.

The candles traditionally lit during maintenance will be battery powered. There is no Chrismon (shelter) tree and no church decorations.

Brouvers said: "We will miss this too, but if we can celebrate Christmas together and treat the party as a party, it will be enough for this year. We will be lucky to be able to do this." 

She said that if the COVID rate worsens, St. Luke will cancel its Christmas Eve service. 

The First Christian Church at 1221 Park Ave. has found a new safe way to adapt and connect. 

Since May 31, the church began to provide parking services.

The pastor of the church, David Yonker, said: "Even if the weather is clear, even if people are sitting in cars, sometimes even on lawn chairs, we still gather in a safe way."

For churches that already publish services online, the transition to the new method of worship is seamless.

This includes Christmas Eve service, which will be available at 7pm and 9pm. The parking lot service will be at 5 pm and 7 pm with a special edition candlelight "Silent Night". The message will be "This is my little light", verse John 1:1-14. There are no plans to provide on-site service. 

Yanke said: "We will use glow sticks instead of candles on Christmas Eve. Instead of spending extra money to print announcements for the usual 600 people on Christmas Eve, we upgraded the sound system and FM radio transmitter," Yonker said. . 

In the past few years, people from the Catholic Diocese of Holy Mercy have gathered in the Burlington Memorial Hall or Church to celebrate the birth of the Savior. 

This year, to go to Mass on Christmas Eve and Christmas, you need to plan ahead and keep your distance from society. 

The father of the parish priest Marty Goetz (Marty Goetz) has arranged six mass masses on Christmas Eve. The number of seats is limited and there should be a check-in on Monday. Mass is at 4 pm and 7 pm in Notre Dame de Paris, at 5, 8 and 11 pm in St. John’s Church, and at 6 o’clock in St. Mary in Dodgeville. Need a mask. 

The crowd of St. John’s Church can also participate in the parking lot, and will be broadcast live on the Divine Mercy Facebook page at 4pm on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Mass at 8 am and 10 am at St. John’s Church.

Goetz said in a letter to the residents of the parish: "In this year of COVID-19 that is full of changes, we need more than ever to celebrate Christmas and its impact on a pandemic and uncertainty. The hope of people in the dark." 

During these terrible times, he said: "One thing will remain the same." He quoted Luke 2:8-10 as saying: "Now there are shepherds living in the fields in this area, watching their flocks at night. The Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, filling them with fear. 

"The angel said to them:'Don't be afraid; I want to proclaim to you the good news that will bring joy to all people. Today in the City of David, there is a Savior born for you, and Christ is the Lord..."

Traditionally, many United Methodist churches light each other’s Christmas candles and sing "Silent Night" on Christmas Eve.

However, “at least until Sunday, January 17, our United Methodist bishop instructed all United Methodist churches in Iowa not to meet in person in the building and will then reassess the virus situation,” Tamara Pastor Witt said, the pastor of Burlington Grace and West Hill United Methodist Church. 

Witte will broadcast live or post her pre-recorded Christmas message on the church's Facebook page. 

She believes that in the pandemic, people can still find hope for this season.

She said: "The Lord did not leave the world to leave his existence, but sent his Holy Spirit to be our eternal companion, which is really great." 

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