If the ‘houses of sin’ in Las Vegas (aka the Casinos) are open, then our houses or worship should be too. (Don’t get me wrong, I like them both!)
As gatherings of up to 50 are now allowed, that gives room for fellowship for many different organizations to have it’s members gather together again – and we must say that while yes there are risks – we as humans do need to be together very much. We are in fact, very social creatures, and it’s something that the isolation created by the pandemic has brought home in a big way.
We could not get to all of our local houses of worship in time for this article, so by no means is this a complete listing. But I spoke to several of our pastors in town to ask what they have been doing, and what safety measures they have put in place:
Pastor, Adam Stetson of Christ Lutheran Church in Boulder City, tells us that he has been checking in by phone regularly with all of his members, and that this has ultimately been a very helpful process, as he has gotten to know them even better during these past months of quarantine.
He recently started doing a Saturday evening service in the park across the street, and says they will keep this for now. Sunday morning services are resuming with safe distancing between groups, masks are encouraged but not required, and he says they have taken precautions for those who wish to take Communion. In the past, refreshments had been available after the service, but to reduce the exposure opportunity, that will be waived. Pastor Adam said to us, “I liken [the shutdown] to when I was on active duty, there wasn’t always a Chaplin available, but that doesn’t really change the truth of what we believe. It’s actually been good in many ways. While we celebrate being able to come together and celebrate everything we receive in worship, we worship God even without the service.”
We also spoke to Pastor, Jason King of Calvary Chapel in Boulder City. One advantage this congregation has is that they have always been live streaming their service, so in that respect he says, the congregation still could view their weekly services. He tells us that they opened immediately again on May 31st, with seating in chairs in various family sized clusters, spaced apart between groups.
They have two Sunday morning services and are giving more time between each of them for cleaning. They have also forgone any ‘after service’ beverage service to reduce the risks. Pastor King says, “We took advantage of the time to upgrade our technology and improved the audio and video, and now have an overflow room. We’ve done everything that we can to make people feel comfortable coming again.” He also tells us that members have sewn over 1000 masks, and they have them available if someone needs one when they walk in.
I reached out to a few members of our local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and they have no word yet on when this larger congregation will begin services again in Boulder City.
Another one of the larger churches in town, St. Andrews Catholic Community church in Boulder City put out an extensive email to their members and is requesting that those who wish to attend live services make reservations in advance, in order to limit the attendance and be in compliance with all guidelines.
We know that all who worship locally are no doubt happy to come together again as a community, and to see one another again! May we all remain healthy so that these places stay open and available to all, and may we be blessed.