First United Methodist Church Plans for Safe Christmas Services
Christmas Eve is exactly one week away, and First United Methodist Church in Cloverdale is getting ready to make the largest day of worship happen as safely as possible. The church has more than doubled its Christmas Eve worship services this year to ensure that as many people who want to come out and celebrate, can.
The past nine months have been a time of learning and adapting for the First United Methodist Church congregation. March 8th was the last in-person service before the church closed its doors until Labor Day. Even still, only about 1/4 of the number people are allowed to attend services, and church-goers must preregister each week.
Pastor Jay Cooper said the church has actually grown during the pandemic– on a virtual platform. People have been joining in from at least 26 states and 12 countries. “We have one young lady in Rwanda who worships with us just about every week through Facebook or our YouTube platform,” Pastor Jay said. “She even wants to join the church.”
Of course, the church is implementing temperature checks, social distancing and masks for all in-person services. That’s why the usual four Christmas Eve worship events has expanded this year.
F.U.M.C. is hosting its first Christmas worship service at 5:00 PM on December 23rd. Then the next day, Christmas Eve, you have several options: a communion service at noon, then at 2:00 PM, a candlelight service. At 3:00 PM, there’s an outdoor-family service featuring the nativity scene. Next at 4:00 PM, another candlelight service, and for the first time ever, at 5:00 PM, a live service will be streamed on Alabama News Network’s CBS 8. Lastly, on the night before Christmas, a final candlelight service outside in Cloverdale Park at 6:00 PM.
“We’re going to hold up a candle and light a candle, and we’re going to sing Silent Night,” Pastor Jay said. “This year, of all years, it’s so important to remember there’s no degree or depth of darkness that the light of one candle can’t overcome.”
We’re told registration for the inside worship services has filled up so far, but there is a waiting list. The entire community is invited to come out to the two different outdoor services which do not require registration.
You can stream all of these events online.
Don’t forget to tune into CBS 8 at 5:00 Christmas Eve to watch the very first televised Christmas service from First United Methodist Church.