Some Valley churches ask that you stay home Sunday

FRESNO, Calif.

Preparations for the upcoming Christmas weekend are already underway at Holy Spirit Catholic church in Northeast Fresno. But, this year, instead of having three services on Sunday, there will only be one.

Bill Heisdorf said, "Because on Christmas day, we don't expect nearly as many people as we do on Christmas Eve."

Bill Heisdorf is the music director at Holy Spirit. He says, the Church will celebrate three masses on Christmas Eve. Whereas, typically they'd host just one.

New Hope Community Church in Clovis is among several Valley churches making similar changes. Pastor Tim Rolen says, it takes dozens of volunteers to coordinate the typical three services Sunday. He chose to hold one, especially after looking at attendance numbers from 2005, the last time Christmas fell on a Sunday.

Pastor Tim Rolen said, "And we discovered the last few times that we could find where it actually fell on a Sunday, that we ran about sixty percent of what a regular Sunday service would be."

While several Valley Churches have reduced the number of services this Christmas Sunday, some, like the well have eliminated them all together. Pastor Brad Bell posted a video online encouraging people to celebrate church at home.

Pastor Brad Bell said, "We're gonna already have people imbedded in homes all across our city, so why not why not show them how to take the opportunity to make it a redemptive holiday where they already are instead of pulling them out of that context to come to church?"

Religious leaders we spoke to, say the decision on whether or not to hold a Christmas day service has been a difficult one.

Their advice: check with your church to see if any changes were made. And no matter where you are this Sunday, remember what the holiday is all about.

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