Church on Christmas

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The chairs may be empty right now, but those at Summit Christian Church in Sparks say they will be filled during the days preceding Christmas day.
But, Steve Bond, the pastor at Summit Christian, says they will be empty again this Sunday because they aren't offering any service on Christmas day.

"Our experience has shown that Christmas Eve is really a huge time of celebration of the Christmas events for our church families, and this way we can give our families and staff time off on Christmas day to be with their family."

As in 1994, when Christmas fell on a Sunday, the choice to cancel Sunday services sparks national debate among different congregations and denominations.

Father George Wolf the pastor at Holy cross Catholic Community, says the Catholic church considers Christmas a holy day of obligation... no matter the day on which it falls.
"I know it's a great time for families, but I also think it's extremely important that we, as a parrish family, and as individual families come and worship the Lord on his birthday."

But, when it comes to attendence, these two churchs differ.

Among the protestant churches, Pastor Bond says Christmas Eve tends to be the most attended services, not Christmas Day.
"On any given Sunday morning, we probably have about 110 volunteers just to put together our services and if we're only going to have a handful of poeple show up, that's not going to make a whole lot of sense."

Father George says the Catholic churches could see their attendance double on this holiday weekend... thus, giving each one a reason to offer different options for worship.
"We'll probably have 2,000 people at our services over the weekend where on a normal Sunday, we have maybe about 1,000 people. We certainly won't have to worry about the crowds, we'll have the crowds."

Summit Christian, like many protestant churches, is starting it's Christmas Eve services Thursday through Saturday.
Holy Cross Catholic Community is having two Christmas Eve and two Christmas Day services.