State church services adjust to COVID-19 restrictions during holiday season

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Attending church services for the Christmas holiday will look a bit different this year. Many faith leaders are using Zoom or Facebook to celebrate the holiday. However, if you do plan to show up for in-person service, many churches are asking for an RSVP in advance.

While some Connecticut churches will only offer those virtual services, others are hoping to offer that in-person experience so many look forward to while still minimizing the risk of COVID-19 exposure and adhering to state guidelines.

This comes as cases continue to surge around our state and across the country. Local faith leaders say it is about keeping parishioners safe during these uncertain times.

“A lot of our parishioners are older and more vulnerable to the virus and on top of that, a lot of church buildings are not properly ventilated so throughout this whole process, we’ve had to show discernment for what is safe and what is necessary,” Reverend Heidi Thorsen, Trinity on the Green.

Churches have been turning to virtual means for mass and services through Facebook and Zoom throughout the pandemic — and some plan to continue doing so for service on Friday.

“There’s always a balance of risk and what is necessary and I think what we have found is being in church physically in person, there is no substitutes for it, but if there is not an absolute need to be in person, we need it to shift to other things. It is still church even if it’s online.”

The Archdiocese of Hartford says services for many parishes will happen in-person while still minimizing the risk of covid-19 exposure.

Archbishop Leonard Blair says you should RSVP for in-person mass. “One thing we don’t want to do is on Christmas have all kinds of people showing up and presume that they can come in which will propose a great challenge.”

A challenge many faith leaders across our state face as they look for healthy ways to celebrate the reason for the season.

While some Connecticut churches will only offer those virtual services, others are hoping to offer that in-person experience so many look forward to while still minimizing the risk of COVID-19 exposure and adhering to state guidelines.

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