By Anna Phillips | December 24, 2020 at 3:27 PM EST – Updated December 24 at 5:16 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Church leaders nationwide faced tough decisions in planning Christmas services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and in southeastern North Carolina many planned for outdoor services until the threat of severe weather forced even further changes.
At Port City Community Church, or PC3, limited in-person services resumed in July.
Four services were planned for Christmas Eve with registration required in advance, temperature checks at the door and COVID-19 screenings.
The church also live-streams services online and is offering new programming on-demand for families this Christmas.
“We’ve also created this year, basically a complete in-home family experience for kids,” said Pastor Mike Ashcraft. “It’s really designed for [kids]. It’s like 45 minutes. It’s got interactive activities… We’re helping people to zoom in with grandparents or people who can’t be with them so the whole thing is designed to go ‘hey, look we know this is all different so let’s just plan for it to be different and see if we can experience something different.”
Pastor Mike Ashcraft says his message continues to be one of hope, perseverance and finding the joy in the small things this year and all that we have to be grateful for, while not diminishing the hardships many people are and have faced.
“This Christmas we’re actually going to kind of press into the fact that we know the world is broken and that we what we want kind of us humans as we want relief,” he said. “We want to get out from under this circumstance, but what I think is really going to satisfy and help us process things is what we want is redemption. We want for things to be made right and that’s really what the good news of Christmas is.”
He also encourages people to find the joy in the small things.
“It’s been really encouraging to see how many people will step up and step in and just help each other out. Again, I don’t want to diminish how hard it’s been on a lot of people but there have been some really beautiful things in the season as well,” he said.
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