Local churches use caution as they gather on Christmas Eve amid pandemic

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Instead of just holding Christmas Eve services online, First Presbyterian Church in New Haven came up with a creative way to celebrate outside with hot drinks and flickering lights.

Christmas carols echoed from the church once again Friday night. It was a special moment for church member Nancy Carrington, who like many, spent the holidays virtually last year.

“The luminaries look lovely and it’s just a wonderful time to gather with our church members and with friends and family visiting,” Carrington said. “It’s certainly great to be with people but I have a lot of hesitation about doing so.”

As COVID-19 continues to impact the community, the pastor of the church, Reverend J.C. Cadwallader, decided it would be best to celebrate in the fresh air.

“We have tools at our disposal now and we have a lot more knowledge to know how to deal with this and how to stay as safe as possible,” Rev. Cadwallader said.

In Hartford, mass took place indoors at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph.

“My brothers and sisters, how good it is for us to be together on this Christmas Eve, something that perhaps we have taken for granted in the past that we can no longer take for granted,” said Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair, Archbishop of Hartford.

Churches also provided options for parishioners to watch services online, but for First Presbyterian, being outdoors gave them the chance to sing carols together for the first time in two years.

“The Christmas story, it’s a story of joy, it’s a story of love and hope and peace, and it is good to share those things together and in the community,” Rev. Cadwallader said.

While many thought the holidays would be back to normal this year, those News 8 spoke with were grateful to celebrate with others and remain hopeful for next year.

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