KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Thousands of families across the Kansas City subway will come together for in-person Christmas services this year.
As the metro experiences a further rise in COVID-19 cases, religious leaders are calling on worshipers to take all possible measures to avoid epidemics.
For many families, Christmas is not complete without the Christmas Eve candlelight service at The Resurrection United Methodist Church.
Pastor Adam Hamilton said last year the church has only performed virtually. This year, Hamilton said it was difficult to guess an exact number, but he expects tens of thousands of people to attend in-person services at several locations on the subway.
“We want people to have great service and a great Christmas and not give someone an unexpected gift that they don’t really want to find five days after Christmas,” Hamilton said.
In response to the increase in COVID-19 cases, Hamilton said the church does not require but strongly encourages everyone to wear masks.
“Our staff, our pastors, my family and I will all be masked,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton said crews were working to clean the building and the candles people touch between services. The building also has an ultraviolet filtration system.
Hamilton is eager to share his message which will combine the meaning of Christmas with the challenges of the world.
“In the story of Jesus’ coming, we find light and hope in life amid our weariness and darkness, and we’re going to talk a little bit about how he calls us to love our neighbors.” Hamilton said.
It’s a similar message on the Kansas City, Kansas subway.
Reverend Tony Carter of the Salem Baptist Church has said he will focus on faith and facts during his Christmas service on Sunday.
“I’m sharing the relevant information, where we are at with regard to the virus and the impact it’s having in Wyandotte County, you know they just found the first two cases of omicron here,” a Carter said.
Carter said anyone who visits in-person services is required to wear a mask, take their temperature and sign their name on a form. He also asks people to socially distance themselves from their households in the benches.
He said that people should take all possible measures to protect themselves and others, and after that, faith steps in.
“I just want everyone to have a merry Christmas, and please be careful do what you can – not just for yourself but for others as well,” Carter said.