Knoxville churches find ways to celebrate Christmas despite pandemic | WATE 6 On Your Side

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Knoxville, Tennessee (Washington State)-With the Christmas holidays approaching, many East Tennessees will no longer participate in their normal traditions, such as attending church services in person. 

With the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country, many clergy are working to make holiday church services safe for their congregations. 

Dr. Phil Nordstrom, he is 

 Said that he did not want to force his people to come to church, but wanted to give them choices. 

Nordstrom said: "For example, we have chairs in our auditorium, we pull out the middle row to keep our distance, and we also require everyone working here or volunteers working here to wear masks." 

Nordstrom said that this year he also strengthened his social media influence by posting sermons online. 

For Pastor Palmer Cantler

, Online is the only way she can connect with the congregation. 

Canteler said: "We decided some time ago that we will no longer provide in-person church services by 2020." 

She said it was not an easy decision, but it was the best. 

Canteler said: "I commend those who have struggled and discovered in the past year on how to best love each other while still loving God." 

Nordstrom says his job is not to make medical decisions for his own people. 

"If I want people to listen to me on mental issues, I'd better listen to their (doctor) medical advice," Nordstrom said. 

Nordstrom and his family both contracted the virus in July and recovered from it. He said that this gave him personal experience and helped him understand the dangers of this virus. 

Both churches provide online messages on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Both churches added that they will continue to worship online for at least the next few weeks. 

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