Churches get creative to keep worshippers safe during COVID-19

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work, shop, and even worship.

With Christmas masses and services quickly approaching, Stateline churches are adapting operations to keep parishioners safe while celebrating the season.

“December is obviously a very important time for our church. Typically, we open our doors, and tons and tons of people from the community enter through and take part in services. This year’s gonna look a little bit different,” said Spiritual Growth Pastor Adam Seaton at CityFirst Church.

Local churches are making changes to try and keep parishioners healthy this holiday season.

In addition to putting limits on capacity and offering masses online, CityFirst Church in Rockford has started providing congregants wristbands they can wear to indicate their comfort level with social distancing while attending church in-person.

“If you feel comfortable talking to people, you can grab a green one. If you’re yellow, you’re being a little more cautious. Or maybe red, you’re going I really want to keep my distance, just want to come in, slip out, don’t really want to engage in a whole lot of conversation,” Pastor Seaton said.

Across the street at First Free Church, a community Christmas event–which normally includes a live nativity and a reindeer petting zoo–has been canceled. Christmas Even Mass, which has welcomed more than 1,000 people in years past, has been split into three separate services and requires pre-registration.

“We limit the number of people in our sanctuary, that’s something that we’ve never done before for Christmas,” said Executive Minister Steve Ralph.

Ralph hopes people will continue to attend church this holiday season, whether they choose to do so virtually or in person.

“It’s just an opportunity to help us take time out of all the anxiety, and all the frustration and focus once again on family and being together and what Christmas is all about,” he added.

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