SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — For the first time since the pandemic began, the Christ Church Cathedral in Springfield opened up its doors for in-person services again.
After months and months of services being celebrated remotely, the Christ Church Cathedral welcomed worshipers back inside Sunday morning.
“Today is the first time in over a year that we are open to people being here at our worship, so we’re really excited about that,” Dean Tom Callard said.
Sunday marked the first day of in-person services for the Christ Church Cathedral in Springfield.
Over the past year, the Episcopal Diocese of western Mass. has been operating fully remote.
Dean Tom Callard said they were using live streams on Facebook and YouTube to virtually gather together while in-person services were on pause due to the pandemic.
While they’ll still live stream for those who aren’t quite ready to return in person, Dean Callard said being able to come together again is what they have long been waiting for.
“But it’s nothing like actually being present in the church, sitting there worshipping, hearing the music. It’s a totally different experience,” Dean Callard said.
The church is only allowing 30 spots to be reserved for each mass as of now, but they plan to gradually increase that number with time while continuing to follow the state’s COVID guidelines.
“But there is a growing sense that people can go out and resume some of the activities they’ve done. We’ve tried to make it as safe as possible, roping off pews, and making sure people have masks, no singing, which is really hard for people, and doing all that we can to make sure that your experience at Christ Church Cathedral is healthy and it feeds you spiritually and physically keeps you protected,” Dean Callard explained.
One member of the congregation said this church is like her family, and she is excited to be back.
“When that was taken away, it didn’t feel the same, and then communicating through a social media obviously helped, but it just wasn’t the same to have them face to face, and it’s just different,” Stephanie Rangel said.
Dean Callard said they are keeping an eye on COVID cases in the community. If they start to rise, then in-person services will be moved outdoors. But for now, he is happy with what he is seeing.