Pandemic forces churches to reimagine Christmas services, pageants -

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"Please come faithfully," but bringing lawn chairs and masks may be an invitation to the Roosevelt Church's Christmas Eve service, which is adapted to the No.19 limit of Roosevelt Church.

Faithful believers will follow the luminous body, the lights that are isolated from the society on the lawn of St. Michael Lutheran Church, put down their chairs, enjoy the brisk evening service, and take "silent night" as a high-profile, not hum Sing to prevent the spread of infection.

Its children’s beauty contest went online this weekend, with Mary, Joseph and others performing in front of their home computers. Their youth minister mixed scenes and added the background of Bethlehem, giving people an illusion of unity.

Churches in Minnesota have been closed due to the coronavirus since March, and many churches are busy offering ideas to celebrate this unusual holiday. Christmas religious activities are usually the most attended activities of the year. Faith leaders say how to maintain precious family traditions within the pandemic has always been a challenge and an opportunity for growth.

"This frees you from the old patterns and allows new things to emerge." said Brad Froslee, the pastor of St. Michael's Church. "This produces a kind of energy, but it is also very exhausting."

Last spring, many churches launched online services, but they never imagined that they would have to fabricate a new world of virtual holiday choirs, children’s beauty contests, Advent wreath lights and so on.

Although Catholic churches and non-denominational churches have reopened their doors with limited seats, most mainstream Protestant churches remain closed. These include one of the largest Lutheran churches in the United States, Olived Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the pastor and fellow initiates have only met a few times.

Usually in the week before Christmas, Mount Olivet will prepare 17 services, 14,000 visitors and dozens of traffic directors to let people in and out of Minneapolis and Victoria.

This year, the beautiful 1,000-seat Minneapolis Church will be empty and the hall will be silent. Instead, members can watch the recorded Christmas service at any time, and end the live broadcast by "Silent Night" before 11pm on Christmas Eve in a live broadcast.

Recognizing the need for connection in real life, Mount Olivet hosted a Sunday outdoor party this month. The staff hung flashing lights in the parking lot, built a towering Christmas tree in the center, and added some golden angels. Last week, cars lined up on the street waiting to enter the station.

They walked to the door of the church one by one, and the masked priest and staff greeted them. They dropped food for Oliver's Hill’s free meal plan, picked up candles and communion elements to take home.

Highlights: Stick your head out of the car window and exchange greetings with church leaders.

"Hello, nice to meet you!" Senior Pastor David Lose said, bending over to talk to the window.

For Bob Rustvold (Bob Rustvold) and his daughter Lori (Lori) arrived together, the event was really bittersweet. The 97-year-old from Edina has been a member of Mount Olivet for nearly 70 years. This will be his first Christmas Eve away from the beloved church.

But Rustvolds, like hundreds of other people passing by, was in high spirits. Lori Rustvold, who drove from Savage, said: "This is a good idea."

Church leaders are obviously also happy to see familiar faces. But earlier this week, Lose admitted that this off-social holiday is very difficult for staff and church members.

Lowe said: "When people no longer need faith, you are balancing the absolute need for safety." "This is a year of loss and dream shattered.... This has taken us beyond our imagination."

The children’s beauty pageant depicting Mary and Joseph’s arrival in Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus is a highlight of religious groups and is often a hot topic among them. Despite some twists and turns, the church this year has found a way to maintain this tradition.

Most beauty pageants have become virtual, and many scripts have been redesigned. At the Lutheran Peace Church in Maplewood, Mary and Joseph (just quarantined) are looking for a place to stay. Check hotels, Airbnbs and Mary talked about the bad Airbnb where her friend lived, and Joseph replied: "At least this is not a stable room."

St. Mary’s Cathedral has reshaped its annual “Light of Christmas Music for Children in the World” with COVID-19 prevention measures by allowing individual families to perform musical works in masks in the huge cathedral. The little bean pods of several friends who have spent time also performed in the virtual concert, which was edited by the staff.

The St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi did not participate in the beauty pageant at the "Through Christmas" event held on December 6, but it also included live broadcasts and donkeys, as well as carols, poems and works of art.

Fifth grader Jonny LeRoux plays the Virgin Mary in a virtual pageant of St. Michael. Last weekend, her parents used adhesive tape to put a screen on the wall behind the kitchen island. Jonnie sat in front of the computer and did her duty without focusing on Joseph. They will be edited together later.

After participating in other children’s beauty pageants, Jonny himself thought it was better. But she likes to redo the scene if she makes a mistake. In addition, this year, "I have more lines," she said. "This is good."

Minnesota churches are providing on-site service for Christmas, and they are also changing. Many people, including large evangelical churches, such as the River Valley Church in Apple Valley, require pre-registration. Some, such as the cathedral, have allocated seats. All need masks. All need to be alienated.

Everyone is trying to accommodate as many people as possible.

Pastor Mike Carlson stated that St. Andrew’s Church will begin service one day earlier on December 23, and that its main 1,000 church buildings have a maximum attendance of 200 people. Services between the church and the auditorium will alternate for cleaning. , The chief pastor.

Carlson said: "People miss their communities." Carlson and employees check with every church member this season. "We will create this in any way."

Keeping the people of the people in touch with the church is the top priority this season. Some churches that have been closed in the past 10 months were open for a few hours a day last week for quiet contemplation.

The Lutheran Peace Church is among them. However, realizing that many people are worried about health risks, an alternative church was created next to the parking lot. In front of the lit nativity scene, a sandwich board announced "Drive to the church, open 24/7".

Pastor Liz Ed said: "This is an opportunity to keep the church open 24/7. It is an opportunity to give people a place to stop and know that they are not alone."

Ed thought of a woman who had only been to two places since the pandemic: her house and her car. She said that the humble church "is the destination," knowing that someone is nearby.

On Christmas Eve, Ed and many of her congregations will gather under the tree outside the church, which is the most unusual Christmas ever. Wearing masks, they will hold light sticks and sing "Silent Night" softly instead of on-site service. People can watch online and worship at home.

This impromptu Christmas tradition will unfold across the country this week to celebrate a story full of hope-faith leaders say it is very much needed today.

Frosley said: "The story of the birth of Jesus is about people of all ages coming from all directions and ending in a miracle." "In this pandemic, it seems that it is almost done now." 612-673-4511

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