402 Days

People gather for first in-person worship service at Holy Trinity in 402 days.

It has been 402 days since the congregation of Holy Trinity has worshiped together in person. That’s 57 weeks of online worship. Not that we’re counting. (Actually I’m not. It’s an app.)

Last Wednesday, April 14, we began our Wednesday Night Outdoor Worship Services. From our estimates, 143 people joined us from inside their cars, seated on folding chairs outside their cars, or within one of the 50 circles chalked into the parking lot. The weather was a balmy 42 degrees and the rain managed to wait until the electrical equipment was put away.

Council member Mary Hanson Busch was happy with the outcome. “This was a great idea. People came! They embraced the weather and the parking rules. We had a few technical difficulties, but each week it’s going to improve.

Michael Busch nodded and smiled. “I was so buoyed by this! It was great! It’s been fun to recognize faces through the masks. It’s just so good to see these faces again!”

Sue Gilles articulated what so many felt. “I’m so excited to be here,” she said. “It’s easy to get out of the habit of ‘attending church’ when it’s online. It can feel like watching a YouTube video at times. So I’m happy to be back, especially for my kids.”   

The service also provided an opportunity for the church to welcome in person our Youth Director Casey Fremstad, who started last summer. An abundance of honking and clapping followed Pastor Alicia’s recognition of Casey who began in May 2020. Casey also joined vocalist Toby Thietje and guitarist Tim Price for the closing song,“The Blessing.”

“It was so wonderful to see everyone and respond in worship together,” said Fremstad. “It was good to be back with people and singing live again,” said Thietje. Price agreed. “It was a great night!” Other hymns included “Precious Lord,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Graves into Gardens.” 

HTLC was happy to welcome 17 new families who joined during the past year. Derrick Hongerholt and his family joined last November. I asked him how it feels to worship in person after viewing the services online. “It was odd to join while online,” he said. “We visited Holy Trinity several times before the pandemic, so I’m glad to be back. I like that we’re trying to do this. It’s that sense of community we all need.”

Katie Holets and her family also joined last year. “It’s so nice to hear the singing and to see the actual feedback of people… Even if someone is smiling through the mask, their eyes light up. We need that. We need to see each other to acknowledge we’re all in this together. There’s a sense of camaraderie that we’ve been missing.”

Wednesday Night Outdoor services will continue weekly at 6 pm in the church parking lot. Follow this link to register each week. Masks, sanitizer, communion bread/juice, uplifting music, and messages of hope will be provided.

Written by Rose M. Fife, HTLC Communications Specialist   

Photos by Gina Fadden, HTLC Graphic Designer

April 15, 2021

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