Last year, churches were not allowed to hold any in-person services as COVID-19 spiked, Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield reports (2:19). WCCO 4 News At 6 - April 2, 2021
- As things begin to return to normal, more people are returning to church.
- Churches usually see high attendance on Easter weekend in Minnesota and around the world. Last year, though, churches were not allowed to hold any in-person services as COVID spiked. One year later, Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield revisits those churches to see how some things, like church technology, have changed forever.
SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: As vaccines are rolling out in Minnesota, restrictions are loosening. This Golden Valley church is gradually getting back to normal.
JOSH HOABY: It's been a slow grow here at Calvary, and I think a lot of churches have felt that same way as people are getting more and more comfortable going out.
SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Their online audience has grown their congregation to larger than it ever was before. In person attendance, though, is still at about 40%.
JOSH HOABY: We definitely expect our highest in-person attendance on Easter, but I think us and every church really has no idea what that's going to look like.
SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: They've kept things together with virtual music and Bible study lessons. The lead pastor says this week is symbolic.
- It kind of feels like we've been in an extended Good Friday. You know? There's been a lot of loss, a lot of mourning, but the good news of Easter is that after Good Friday, there's a resurrection.
SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: And on the east side of St. Paul, there's hope for healing, too, amidst a year of pain.
RUNNEY PATTERSON: This really has put me on an emotional roller coaster. I've described to someone one time that I was physically tired, I was emotionally drained.
SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Reverend Patterson has been focused on helping heal others and himself.
RUNNEY PATTERSON: You know, I came down with COVID in July. I almost died myself.
SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: He says he's gotten his strength back and seen the church strengthened too, with a wider online reach and an expanding food ministry. And even though it may be a while before they have a full house again, this church is going full steam ahead.
RUNNEY PATTERSON: What I shared with our church was, though the building may be shut down, though the sanctuaries may be shut down, the ministry should not be shut down.
SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield, WCCO 4 News.
- Archbishop Hebda of the Archdiocese of St. Paul in Minneapolis sent us a statement saying he's excited parishes are open this Easter and grateful for the creative ways that they have learned to reach more people this past year.