Peoples Church holds outdoor Christmas Eve service and event

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- They might be wearing masks but you can see the joy in the faces of the faithful as they walk through Peoples Church in northeast Fresno.

"It's just a really great community thing, especially in times like this when we are stuck at home and traditions aren't what they are," says parishioner Joni Heckman.

The pandemic might be changing the way we live but it isn't changing the celebration of Christmas.

"We still want to give them the experience of Christmas and all of the joy the hope and the peace it brings," says lead pastor Dale Oquist.

The idea this year is to keep safe while still attending church.

As people, they walk through several stations.

At one, you can sing songs. At another, children can get treats such as hot chocolate and cookies, and at yet another, you can get your picture with Santa - all at an appropriate social distance.

"This is something we can do as a church family and just enjoy being together....and it does bring normalcy back to Christmas," says parishioner Chuck Trogden.

Pastor Brad Liebe says: "How do we make it through Christmas where we embrace things that are meaningful and at the same time are sensitive to our frontline workers and the beds in the ICU and all the different, you know, things that come in? So we landed on doing this and an external activity."

The church says if people want to participate in a midnight mass, there will be special gatherings every hour online so that anyone that wasn't able to come in person can still celebrate the season.
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