LUBBOCK, Texas — As folks begin trimming their trees and decking their halls, local churches are trying to figure out new ways to hold their Christmas services.
“What I’ve figured out, as a pastor, is that I have two churches. I have an online congregation we are pastoring and reaching out to and I have an in-person congregation,” said Ed Aisnworth, Pastor of Generations Church.
Ainsworth says this Christmas they’ll be offering service for both of their congregations, in-person and online.
“Right now people are lonely people are isolated and that’s another reason we just decided to figure out we have two churches is for those people that feel isolated and feel lonely. We want to welcome them,” he said.
Ainsworth said they don’t want to make people feel ashamed for not attending an in-person service.
“We don’t want to make them feel ashamed of, ‘oh they aren’t coming to the building, what’s wrong with you?’ We want them to know that they can be a part of our online congregation,” he said. “And if you are comfortable coming in, then you can.”
Over at Oakwood United Methodist Church, Pastor Rob Lindley is planning to live stream their Christmas services for those who feel safer at home.
“Although covid has taken a lot from us it’s also helped up to be creative in ministry,” said Lindley
But both churches hope to make their in-person services as safe as possible, with social distancing between chairs and a new way to take communion.
“If you come we will have individual cups that are sealed,” said Lindley. “And then at a particular time in the service we will ask you to take the seal off and take the communion elements.”
And though it’s been a challenging year for most, churches are hoping to make the holiday season a little bit brighter for those headed to church on Christmas.
“But I’m hoping that what we can do as a church is to say we are here we are here for you we are here with you and we are here to celebrate,” said Lindley
And spread one message this season.
“Hope is here,” said Ainsworth. “That’s just the message that hope is here.”