In the last 13 months, COVID-19 didn’t just turn this county upside down – it also impacted the dozens of various houses of worship in the Gallatin Valley.
In the midst of library closures, government offices only doing business by e-mail, and everything else we’ve learned to live with in the past year, what’s going on worship-wise in the Gallatin Valley?
The Belgrade News called a handful of worship centers and learned that they mostly have traveled the same path – closing down last March, then streaming worship services, and now, finally, slowly opening back up to in-person worship.
- Bethel Christian Reform Church in Churchill closed down for a few months last spring, then went to livestreaming services. It just recently went back to regular, in-person worship. It is still using pre-packaged communion, and hopes to be back to its “normal” schedule by early summer.
- Manhattan Christian Reformed Church closed down for a few months last year, with livestreamed sermons from the pastor’s office. (Only he and a soundman were in the church building.) In the last month, it has opened for live worship. Masks are not mandated; communion elements are still pre-packaged.
- Congregation Beth Shalom in Bozeman has not yet resumed in-person worship. Services are livestreamed; the congregation held a virtual Seder for Passover. It is hoping to hold outdoor services this summer.
- Dry Creek Bible Church stopped in-person worship for a few months last spring, then segued into socially distanced seating. It is now fully open for worship with no mask mandate. Dry Creek is still hosting “parking lot church,” with Sunday sermons broadcast on 92.7 FM so worshippers can sit in their cars and listen to the sermon.
- Living Waters United Methodist in Belgrade has been open for in-person worship for the last few months. Due to the small size of the congregation, it also livestreams services from Bozeman United Methodist Church.
- Bozeman United Methodist has the “goal of being open for in-person worship May 2.” It is currently live-streaming services.
- St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Belgrade is holding Mass in person, with masks and social distancing required. The parish is following the Bishop of the Western Diocese of Montana’s directives regarding COVID precautions.
- Manhattan Presbyterian Church in Manhattan is holding both in-person worship and live-streamed services.
- Peace Lutheran in Belgrade has met in person since May 2020, after Gov. Steve Bullock lifted his mandatory shutdown. It has two services, employs social distancing and livestreams its 9 a.m. worship service. Masks are now encouraged but not mandatory.
- Springhill Presbyterian – both the congregation in Bozeman and the legacy church in Springhill – has been holding in-person worship services for about a month. Masks are recommended; the churches follow all county health mandates. The Bozeman service is live-streamed.