Area churches vary in reopening plans

Yukon-area churches are taking various approaches to reopening, ranging from having in-person services last Sunday to not specifying when they’ll return to their sanctuaries.
Regardless of their specific plans, pastors said they’re taking precautions against the spread of COVID-19.

Families were spread apart while the Rev. Brian Mills preached at Trinity Hills Baptist Church. Photo / Chris Eversole

TRINITY BAPTIST
Starting Sunday, Trinity Baptist Church added a third service live and online, the Rev. Brian Mills said.
The services were at 8:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m.
“We added the third service so that we are able to practice social distancing and still provide a great experience online,” he said.
“We’re taking extreme precautions in making sure our facility is clean and we practice social distancing followed guideline that Gov. Kevin Still issued,” he said.
Total in-person attendance Sunday was 336, and online views totaled 6,600, Mills said.
Normally, 450 people attend activities for various ages each of the two regular Sunday times, making total weekly attendance 900, he said.
Trinity did not hold its preschool, kids or student ministry, so kids joined their parents in the sanctuary.
“Our services now are literally family worship,” Mills said.
Families exited by side doors so they could limit contact with other families.
The church asked people to wear masks and use hand sanitizer that it provided at the entrance and throughout the building.

FIRST UNITED METHODIST
First United Methodist Church is streaming one service – at 11 a.m., said Senior Pastor Kirt Moelling.
Normally, it has an 8:30 a.m. traditional service and an 11:30 a.m. modern service, and it streams both of them.
“To minimize exposure, we are streaming just one service, which is a blended service with both modern and traditional music,” Moelling said.
“We plan to phase back into the two services, but it could be as late as July 5. It’s all up in the air.”
The service is streamed from the sanctuary and involves a team of ministers, musicians and technicians that is kept at 10 or less, he said.
“The health and well-being of our members and guests is of paramount importance to us, and we do not want to jeopardize the more vulnerable among us by being rash or premature in our actions,” he said.
“We all want to get back together, but we know the seriousness of this pandemic as a sister church has lost at least one person to COVID-19.”
Oklahoma United Methodist Bishop Jimmy Nunn advised all United Methodist churches in the state to not gather for now and said he would announce future plans after May 17.
“We didn’t let the pandemic affect our missional heart,” Moelling said.
“We had a team of dedicated members make and deliver hundreds of cloth masks to Integris and other hospitals and clinics in the metro as well as for members and friends who needed them.”

ST. JOHN NEPOMUK
St. John Nepomuk Catholic Church posted on its website that all public Masses have been suspended until further notice.
The church is streaming daily and Sunday Masses on Facebook Live, and it is posting recordings on of Masses on its website.

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