Moncton church among those moving Christmas Eve service online

·2 min read
Some churches in New Brunswick are moving online for Christmas Eve services. (Zach Goudie/CBC - image credit)
Some churches in New Brunswick are moving online for Christmas Eve services. (Zach Goudie/CBC - image credit)

Worshippers at a church in Moncton will be attending their Christmas Eve service online today.

St. John's United Church moved both its services Friday online because of the rising number of COVID cases in the province.

The church would normally have a family service in the afternoon and a carol service in the evening.

"We're still having Christmas Eve, it's online now," said Rev. Aaron Billard. "And I had to make the mental shift in my head that we actually are celebrating Christmas still — just in a very different way."

Billard said there are some mixed emotions about not getting to gather on an important night.

"There's a sense of relief in the congregation that we are moving online and that we've made that decision, there's a tremendous amount of support for it. However, there's also some sadness over it and grief as well, a sense that something's been lost."

Several churches in the province have opted to move at least some of their Christmas Eve service online or to restrict numbers.

"With the gathering of a group of people, there's that energy in the room, that you all experience, of the excitement of the season," Billard said. "And then when you're not together like that, you don't have the interaction and therefore you don't have the sense of how people are doing."

But Billard said the transition to online at this time in the pandemic was an easy one.

"Normally on a Sunday, we would have social distancing, mask wearing and we require proof of full vaccination," he said.

"So we've been worshiping as safely as it is, and we hadn't had congregational singing. … But even given that situation with the spread of on the ground, we just weren't sure what the dynamics would be, especially with children and present worship."

The service was recorded earlier in the week and posted on Youtube.

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