Local church leaders making adjustments as busy holiday services nears

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With sermons and songs online, parishioners of Praise Church will be worshipping at home for the holidays.

Coronavirus cases are surging statewide, forcing Governor Gavin Newsom to order new restrictions, including bringing religious services back outdoors.

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Pastor Kevin Person and his wife, Bridgette, say they've been holding service online since March and will continue to do so a while longer.

"As badly as we want to see each other, we have to keep each other safe," he said. "We've been trying to keep our members safe but worship God freely."

The holidays are the busiest time of the year for most places of worship.

Pastor Kevin Foster with Lifebridge Church recently purchased a more than one-acre property in Madera County to serve as the church's north campus, and a place to preach outdoors.

People's Church Pastor Larry Powell, however, says they provide an essential service and will continue to meet inside.

He says they're fogging and sanitizing between services to keep their members safe.

"We want to be available during the holidays," he said. "We're not trying to do it in an in your face to the leadership. Our auditorium is 1,800 and we're averaging about 11 percent."

But whether the service is in person or through a computer screen, pastors across Fresno say their doors are virtually open.

"Even tho the building is closed, the church is not closed," Person said.
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