When the first coronavirus wave hit in the spring, most churches shut down live worship at the peak of the Christian calendar, with Lent leading into Holy Week and Easter.
While many churches reopened to at least some in-person worship in the ensuing months, some are now scaling back those in-person activities with the recent resurgence in COVID-19. And that happens just as churches today usher in another season that normally draws some of the biggest worship attendance of the year — the start of the Advent season, the four-week period leading to Christmas.
That means that more worshipers will be listening at home to “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” rather than singing out the traditional opening hymn of the first Sunday of Advent in church. And other services marking the season also are going on line. Services like “the hanging of the green, that’s not happening,” said the Rev. Sheldon Sorge, general minister for the Pittsburgh Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), referring to ritual decorating of churches with Christmas symbols.
Several churches that had resumed live worship have gone back to online-only.
“Almost none of our churches are going to have a live Christmas Eve program,” he added. “Christmas Eve is typically a crowded service. It’s going to be difficult to do socially distancing.”
He added: “This is a hard decision. People don’t want to stop meeting.”
Some churches scale back in-person worship amid COVID-19 surge https://t.co/Xt4KVh2w6a
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (@PittsburghPG) November 29, 2020