Our Redeemer Lutheran Church welcomes people for parking lot service in Moorhead

Adam Harvala, the pastor at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, gives a sermon to about 60 cars full of families in the church's parking lot on Sunday, May 24. Tanner Robinson / WDAY

MOORHEAD — For the past two months, the only way Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Moorhead could reach its members was through streams on YouTube.

On Sunday, May 24, the church still didn't open its doors for its worship service, but it did open its parking lot.

Gary Euren, the president of the church's council, said he was happy to see people back, even though they had to stay distanced.

"If (people) weren't in the cars, they wouldn't be able to talk to somebody next to them, and it's probably people they hadn't seen for, whatever it is, two or three months," he said.

The parking lot service was scheduled around Gov. Tim Walz's executive order, which only allowed 10 people in a church, and 10 people outside.


Saturday, May 23, he allowed them to have services at 25 percent capacity, with one thing for faith leaders to keep in mind.

"(That the openings are) done with a common goal of the safety and security of not only the congregants, but of the community at large," Walz said during his press conference Saturday.

The new guidelines bring the idea of opening while distancing to the table, and pastors are offering up prayers in hopes they won't see another shutdown, specifically to health care and emergency workers.

As people left the service, with some taking drive-thru communion, church members and staff said they looked at today as a practice run.

"To have the corporate worship with other people, other Christians, and to be able to celebrate Holy Communion was just wonderful," Euren said.

Our Redeemer has a capacity of about 400 people, so under the new guidelines, the church can only hold about 100.

Because churches can't have in-person services until Wednesday, May 27, Euren and the council will meet this Tuesday to talk about how they want to handle future services.

Tanner Robinson is a producer for First News on WDAY-TV.
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