Marquette Churches adjust to rising COVID-19 cases
Decisions include hosting “completely virtual” services for worship.
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Local parishes have responded to the growing COVID-19 infection rate either by ramping up safety measures for their in-person services -- or suspending them indefinitely.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church has begun the process to move worship services online and suspending in-person ceremonies until further notice.
For Senior Warden Dan Rydholm, it’s not an easy decision as they had just reopened to the faith community earlier in the fall after being closed during the summer.
“Numbers have spiked to such a great extent that we really feel that this is actually a gesture in support of the community and in protection of the community -- because not only our own membership worships here but also members of the community and many tourists stop by," Rydholm said.
For St. Peter Cathedral, in-person services continue under strict safety measures, allowing only about a sixth of its maximum capacity (about 100 attendees or less) inside to keep everyone distanced.
Music Director Sam Holmberg said there is no congregational singing allowed currently (a measure towards preventing spread), designated only by the choir of four high above the pews.
“We are spread across the loft. They’re using special singing masks (which) gives them increased resonance," Holmberg said.
A challenge to sacred traditions, which is something the church is actually familiar with in its history.
“That Scripture passage where ‘two or three are gathered’, I think Jesus would have expanded that word ‘gather’ to include online although two thousand years ago the internet couldn’t be imagined,” said Rydholm.
“The Eucharist is described as the source and summit of our lives. So it’s important that we still have the practice of faith," said Holmberg.
Continuing the practice of safety but always the practice of faith.
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