Syracuse Church Adapts to Loosening of COVID-19 Restrictions Syracuse church adapts to the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions

United University Methodist Church has been cautious with COVID-19 restrictions.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — In the past six months, University United Methodist Church in Syracuse  has been cautious to react to the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic. In March, it gradually put into place its plan when restrictions were first came into effect.

Now in September, the church is taking a cautious approach to the relaxed restrictions in New York state.

“We actually were able to have in-person worship in July,” Pastor Alicia Wood said. “But our congregation, I chose not to have worship back until September 13th.”

The church made this decision not only because there were general concerns from members of the church but also because of the church’s proximity to Syracuse University.

“We also wanted to wait and see what happened when Syracuse University students came back,”  Wood said. “And see what happened with Syracuse University just because we are so close and so many new people come into our county.”

When the church opened back up for in person worship, they limited attendance to 33 % for Sunday service. Attendants can sit in every other row and pews are limited to one family. University United Methodist Church gives each person a squirt of hand sanitizer before they walk in, and on their way out and Pastor Wood now greets churchgoers outside. Masks are also mandatory and instead of passing a basket  through the pews for donations, the church now recommends donating online.

Weekly events such as”Coffee with the Pastor” on Tuesdays, the “Children’s Message” on Wednesdays and  “Thought of the Day” on Thursdays have continued online through Facebook Live. One program that has remained in-person through the pandemic is the food pantry, which still occurs every week on Fridays.

“We do everything outside like a drive thru,” said Pastor Wood of the modified Food Pantry.  “So we have a line of cars line up outside along the side walk and we have a line for our walkers as well.”

Before the pandemic, it was normal to see around 60 families come to the food pantry, but the demand expanded exponentially since March. For the upcoming food pantry, University United Methodist Church expects over 300 families to come through.


Reported by

Mateo Estling

Mateo Estling is a Sophomore at Syracuse University, and currently studying Broadcast and Digital Journalism at the S.I Newhouse School of Public Communications. Mateo is a staff writer for the Daily Orange and has done work with Citrus TV,

Other stories by Mateo Estling

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