Some churches are issuing tickets for admission.
Many are limiting seating.
At least one is offering drive-in services, and many places of worship plan to conduct candlelight services.
And, based on internet searches, it appears the vast majority have some sort of safety protocols in place, in light of COVID-19.
Some churches have already had their Christmas services, opting to celebrate the weekend before Christmas.
And, at least one — First United Methodist Church of Dade City — has decided to drop its traditional Christmas Eve service and its Sunday service Dec. 27 because of uncertainty of crowd size, according to a posting on the church’s Facebook page.
Still, those who are seeking to attend a religious service to celebrate Christmas will have plenty of options across The Laker/Lutz News coverage area.
Beyond traditional scriptural readings, some churches will offer special music and will feature festive decorations.
Some will have services indoors and out. Many will offer remote streaming options.
Chances are, you’ve already made your plans to celebrate — after all Christmas Eve is this coming Thursday and Christmas Day, on Friday.
But, if you’re still considering your options, be sure to visit your preferred church’s website to be certain you have current information. Also, you’ll need to check ahead to guarantee you can still get tickets if you need them, and can become familiar with any precautions you’ll need to take, to comply with the church’s COVID-19 protocols.
There are literally hundreds of churches across the newspaper’s coverage area. So, here’s a sampling of some churches in our coverage area, and their Christmas plans — based on Facebook and website postings — for this year.
- Christmas at Idlewild, 18333 Exciting Idlewild Blvd.: Dec. 22 at 7 p.m., face coverings recommended; Dec. 23 at 7 p.m., masks optional; Dec. 24 at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., masks optional. Tickets are available through the church’s website.
- First United Methodist Church of Lutz, 960 W. Lutz Lake Fern Road: Dec. 24 at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., following guidelines for sanitizing and social distancing. The website notes: “We respectfully request everyone wear a mask while at church.”
- First Baptist Church of Lutz, 18116 U.S. 41: Online and in-person candlelight service on Dec. 24 at 6 p.m. According to the website: Balcony is mask only; auditorium is mask optional.
- Bay Hope Lakeshore Campus, 17030 Lakeshore Road: Dec. 23, at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.; Dec. 24 at 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Streaming on Bay Hope TV on Dec. 23 at 4 p.m., 6 p.m. 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.
- St. Timothy Catholic Church, 17512 Lakeshore Road: Dec. 24 at 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; Dec. 25 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. The service will be held in the main church sanctuary, with livestreaming to the parish hall and an outside courtyard. Eucharistic ministers will distribute communion in livestream areas.
- Crosspointe Family Church, 919 DeBuel Road: Christmas Eve services on Dec. 24, at 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.
- All Saints Lutheran Church, 5315 Van Dyke Road: Family candlelight service on Dec. 24 at 6 p.m., candlelight worship on Dec. 24 at 9 p.m.
- Unity North Tampa, 19530 Holly Lane: Burning Bowl Service, Dec. 27 at 11 a.m. A ceremony to release what is unwanted in your life and affirm new blessings for the New Year.
LAND O’ LAKES
- Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, 2348 Collier Parkway: The church is following guidelines for sanitizing, social distancing and masks. There’s an outdoor mass on Dec. 24 at 4 p.m., no signup is required. Other Christmas Eve masses are: 6 p.m., signup and livestream; 10 p.m., signup; midnight, signup and Life Team. On Christmas Day, the mass times are 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., which are both signup; and 11:30 a.m., which is signup and livestream.
- Harvester United Methodist Church, 2432 Collier Parkway: Dec. 24 at 4 p.m., candlelight worship service with communion.
- Atonement Lutheran Church, 29617 State Road 54: Christmas Eve in-car service on Dec. 24 at noon, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., and on Dec. 25 at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. RSVP, first come, first served. Those signing up on the church’s website are asked to indicate if they are driving a car, an SUV, a truck or a van. They also are asked to indicate how many people will be receiving communion. RSVP by calling 813-973-2211.
- Bridgeway Church, 30660 Wells Road: Service on Dec. 23 at 5 p.m., and on Dec. 24 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Faith Lutheran Church, 27221 Foamflower Blvd., Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, Dec. 24 at 6 p.m.
- Cypress Creek Church (meets at North Tampa Christian Academy, 5585 County Line Road): Christmas with the Family Christmas Eve service on Dec. 24 at 5 p.m. The church’s website notes: “We have the restaurant rule. You are required to wear a mask as you step on and off the church campus, but once you are at your seat you may take off your mask.” Church staff and its Dream Team will wear masks as they serve. Also, temperatures will be taken, before each person enters the building.
- First Baptist Church of Wesley Chapel, 29716 State Road 54: Christmas service on Dec. 24 at 6 p.m.
- Grace Community Church, 7107 Boyette Road: Candlelight service on Dec. 24 at 6 p.m.
- St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (Previously known as Wesley Chapel Episcopal), 38356 Flatiron Loop, Suite 101: Dec. 24 at 10:30 p.m., with a musical prelude at 10 p.m. Masks and reservations required. Incense will be used during the service.
- St. Joseph Catholic Church, 38710 Fifth Ave.: Dec. 24 services at 4 p.m. and 10 p.m.; Dec. 25 services at 7 a.m., 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Its website notes that masks are required for every person at every service and social distancing is required, too.
- ZFA Church, 36322 State Road 52: Dec. 24 at 6 p.m., Christmas Eve candlelight service.
- First Presbyterian Church of Dade City, 37412 Church Ave.: Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service, Dec. 24 at 5 p.m. Services also available via Facebook and YouTube.
- St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, 32885 Rhode Island Ave.: Services on Dec. 24 at 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. On Dec. 25, the service will be at 10 a.m., and it will be livestreamed on Facebook.
Published December 23, 2020
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