Helena churches reopening amid eased guidelines

BY NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

HELENA – Over the past few months many churches have had to find creative ways to continue having services, due to distancing guidelines not allowing for indoor meetings. Some churches used livestreams, and others had drive-in services in the parking lots of their buildings.

Since Gov. Kay Ivey amended the distancing guidelines through the safer at home order many churches have been formulating plans on how to get their congregations back in the building for more traditional services.

Helena’s Christ Community Church and Crossbridge Community Church are two such examples of groups going through this transition.

Pastors Phil Chambers and David Cunningham from Christ Community said that they had mostly been doing live-streams, which a surprising number of members were participating in. However, now they are talking with their leadership council about how to have in person services again.

“We are taking two weeks to do trial and error with our leader ship crew. We started that this past Sunday and will do it again this Sunday,” said Cunningham.  “This past Sunday was just the leaders themselves and the council members. We’re inviting that same crew plus their families to this next service.”

According to Chambers, their building can hold 250 people, and on a normal Sunday they would have had 200 in attendance.  Now with these restrictions they are looking at sitting about half of that, once they have done a few trial runs.

They plan to implement measures such as sanitization, marked seating and keeping people posted at the doors so that no one has to touch the door handles.

At Crossbridge Community Church, members have actually been able to see each other through the pandemic. According to Dawn Cabrera the church has safely continued its services every week by having drive-in meetings at the facility’s parking lot, where guests will stay in their cars to hear the service.

Now the church is developing plans to move towards traditional services in the coming weeks.

“We are still going ahead for the next two weeks and have our parking lot services,” Cabrera explained. “Then our leadership team is going to debate how things are going, and what to do moving forward.”

Cabrera explained that their leadership team has 14 of the members from the church that come together to make these decisions. That way they can consider the needs of everyone in the church before making any decisions, especially for those who are at a higher risk.

Through the epidemic Cabrera said that the church has been visited by many people who sought their more personal services, as opposed to livestream services from other churches.

For other churches in Helena, check with the church to see their plans.