MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – Churches have been able to worship in person since the end of May. Several churches in the area are already meeting again in person while some continue to only stream their services.
Crossbridge Church in Ishpeming is holding in-person services but is still providing a streamed service as well. Pastor Kevin McIlhany, says they ask members who are displaying symptoms to stay home. He says they’ve had people continuing to stream their worship services, some people are even tuning in from outside of Michigan.
“We asked anybody who was more susceptible to serious illness to stay at home as well,” said McIlhany. “We’ve streamed services online for them just to make it available to them and we’ve tried to continue on with that.”
The church has their chairs spaced at least 6 feet apart and is allowing its congregation to enter through 7 different doors to allow for more space when entering and leaving. Crossbridge also switched to individually packaged communion. They are also collecting their offerings at the door.
Northiron church has been worshiping together physically since the beginning of June. Assistant Pastor Travis Ryan says they are only holding services in Ishpeming at this time but are providing two services to their congregation.
“We’re closely monitoring our attendance so that as that grows we’re going to add as many services as we need to be able to accomodate people there safely,” said Ryan.
They are also still streaming their worship services and are looking to add speakers outside so that congregants have options to worship in a way they feel the most safe. Ryan says they hope to also finish with renovations at a new additional location so they can accommodate more people with more space.
First Presbyterian church in Marquette has not yet held an in-person worship service. Pastor Nicholas Cammarata says they are taking things month by month and are streaming daily worship opportunities to stay connected to their members.
“Sunday we have our virtual service and that’s here to stay, digital church is here to stay,” said Cammarata. “We’re going to continue to try to nurture that and improve that during this time as opposed to opening the doors.”
Cammarata also added that it’s important to take into consideration the different sizes of congregations and church buildings that churches must work with when opening their doors. He says that for some churches it may be easier to integrate social distancing while for others due to space it would be a significant challenge.