DES MOINES, Iowa — The coronavirus has changed many facets of everyday life, and going to church during the holidays is no different.
Some churches have canceled in-person services while others, like DSM First in Des Moines, are adjusting how they operate to still hold Christmas Eve celebrations.
The lead pastor at DSM First, Cullen Allen, said this year's celebrations will look different than previous ones.
Allen said to safely put on their production and follow CDC guidelines, they put limits on how many people would be allowed in the building.
Every other pew in the church is taped off and they are only operating at 25% capacity.
Initially, this was a slight problem, but Allen said a solution was quickly thought of.
"We've increased the amount of services," Allen said. "We usually have two Christmas Eve services. This year we're having four Christmas Eve services...to give people options and more capability to attend in person."
Another safety measure the church is taking to make sure the space does not become overcrowded is requiring tickets. You can click here to reserve some.
Allen also noted this year the Christmas Eve celebration will not include a traditional candlelight vigil, where members of the congregation blow out a candle.
"Instead of people having the actual flame and having to blow out that flame, which wouldn't be so COVID friendly, this year we're providing individuals battery-operated candles," Allen said. "People can turn them on and turn them off.
And the lead pastor said he even though we are in the middle of a pandemic, the church is still hosting this service to inspire their congregation.
"Many people have experienced a very very difficult year and if we can give them the hope of Jesus, the love of Jesus, to close out this year and start a brand new year, we believe it can be life-changing," Allen said.
The church will also be live-streaming all four Christmas Eve services here. The celebration will be held on December 23 and 24, at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on both days.