Churches get Creative for Christmas

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St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, St. Albans Vt. Photo Credit: https://pixy.org/4732275/

Felicity Gregware, Contributer

The Christmas season is here, and area churches are not letting Covid stop them from celebrating the birth of Christ. Since COVID began to spread in Vermont, churches and other religious venues have had to make major changes in the way they conduct services.

According to the Office of Governor Phil Scott, over the past few months there has been a new limit to the number of people that you can have at a gathering, with the capacity levels for gathering changing all the time. 

Traditionally, Christmas mass brings one of the largest turnouts of the year to area churches. The biggest mass comes with the biggest crowds, which we are not allowed to have at this time. So how are local churches going to do it?  

Father Dallas St. Peter, from St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Burlington, said, “So there are certain places where you can’t sit and certain places where you can sit that keep people properly distanced within what the state requirements are given the situation.

Those who want to have a church experience in  St. Albans have lots of options for Christmas mass.  According to Pam King from St. Mary’s Parish,  “At St. Mary’s & Holy Angels, there will be plenty of options to choose from as far as Vigil, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Mass. We have opted for the old school method of sign up [with mailed in forms].”

According to its Facebook page, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church is planning a socially-distanced Christmas Eve service in Taylor Park.  The church asks those who are attending to bring their own electric candle and to wear a mask. 

Also, the Vermont Catholic community is thinking the same and trying to make it work this year. The Diocese of Burlington states, “Take your 25% capacity required for physical distancing and divide the number in half; half the slots are available to be filled online, and the other half of the slots are put on a paper sign up at the door of the church. You may want to leave a number of available spots off the sign-up list to allow for those who show up, but do not sign up – however, do not advertise that extra seating will be available for those who do not sign up.”

Melissa Gregware, a member of the St. Louis Parish in Highgate, states that “people that are going to attend Christmas mass need to sign up as early as possible so that setting is available for all that want to attend.” 

Even though Covid has changed how Christmas is celebrated, it has not kept Christmas from being celebrated. Area churches are adapting and giving people a chance to have a meaningful Christmas experience.