Inside Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Christ Church Cathedral will livestream its Solemn Evensong on 4 p.m., Dec. 24, and Service of the Word and Worship, 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Day, through its website. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Inside Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff) Christ Church Cathedral will livestream its Solemn Evensong on 4 p.m., Dec. 24, and Service of the Word and Worship, 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Day, through its website. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Greater Victoria churches expect empty pews for busiest night of the year

Places of worship deliver Christmas by livestream for 2020

There will be empty pews at churches across the province this Christmas.

For a segment of the population, Christmas Eve is the only night of the year they step inside a church and most houses of worship are happy for it.

“We normally do a big church Christmas party which we were not able to do this year,” said Wes Morrison, worship pastor at the Gateway Baptist Church in Royal Oak. “Christmas Eve service is usually a big night, we encourage people to bring family and friends, including non-Christians, to sing and partake and hear the Christmas story.”

Churches could hold small, socially distanced services under 50 people until the province imposed the most recent restrictions on Nov. 19. But even before then, Gateway anticipated how it would manage the Christmas Eve service, knowing hundreds make their annual visit.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay’s Gratitude Tree a holiday hit

“We realized we wouldn’t be able to fit everyone so we filmed it ahead of time, starting way back in September,” Morrison said. “We pre-filmed it with a lot of production, with things like our pastor sitting in front of a fireplace for a cozy feeling, instead of standing in an empty church.”

Many south Island churches have live-streamed their services since even before the Nov. 19 restrictions, such as the catholic trio of St. Patrick’s Parish, Holy Cross and St. Andrew’s Cathedral.

For those Oak Bay Catholics who haven’t booked their year-end confession, at least at St. Patrick’s Parish, they’ll have to wait until the new year, said administration assistant Deborah MacKay.

“We have everything online this year, except for the confessions, but all spots for that are booked for 2020,” MacKay said. “Everyone is masked and the area is cleaned after each visit.”

READ ALSO: Famous Saanich ‘Christmas House’ returns with encore display amid pandemic

The St. Patrick’s Parish on Haultain Street will live stream its nativity sermon at 4 p.m. on Dec. 24.

Saturday, Dec. 26, the church is open for prayer and visitation between noon and 3 p.m., to see the nativity scene.

Oak Bay United is also going live from its Facebook page, Facebook.com/OakBayUnitedChurch/live, starting at 4 p.m. on Dec. 24 with its Virtual Christmas Pageant, 7 p.m. for its Carols and Christmas Reflections, and on Dec. 27 with its 10 a.m. Sunday worship, Hopes for the New Year.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Food trucks will be allowed to operate in several Sooke parks beginning May 1. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke’s food truck pilot project under scrutiny

Councillor questions impact food trucks will have on nearby restaurants

A walk for autism awareness. (Black Press Media file photo)
COLUMN: Autism acceptance, not autism awareness

Elizabeth Sparling is the mother of a 24-year-old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Claremont Secondary’s year-long drama class will perform TRAP, a thrilling play by Stephen Gregg, virtually from April 14-17 at 7 p.m. (Image courtesy Colin Plant)
Claremont’s drama students to ‘TRAP’ audience’s attention with thrilling virtual performances

Grade 9-12 drama class will perform via livestream from April 14-17

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Most Read