Online Christmas services are plentiful across Episcopal Church as virus concerns linger

By ENS staff
Posted Dec 20, 2022

[Episcopal News Service] Nearly three years into the pandemic, congregations continue to face challenges in fully resuming traditional Christmas celebrations. In 2020, many refrained from in-person worship, and they scrambled again in 2021 to adjust Christmas plans during the omicron variant outbreak. This year, pandemic concerns have eased, though COVID-19 case counts are rising again along with outbreaks of influenza and the respiratory virus known as RSV.

Throughout all this uncertainty, there has been at least one reassuring constant at Christmas: Online options have never been more plentiful.

Episcopalians all over the world can view livestreamed and pre-recorded Christmas services and celebrations from congregations of all sizes, from Washington National Cathedral in the United States capital to Trinity Episcopal Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The following is a selection of some notable offerings. Be sure to check online for additional virtual services hosted by local congregations.

Washington National Cathedral – The cathedral is offering livestreams of all its Advent and Christmas services. The services this weekend start with Christmas Lessons and Carols at 6 p.m. Eastern Dec. 22 and a family Christmas service at 11 a.m. Dec. 23. Christmas Eve Eucharist is at 10 p.m. Dec. 24 and Christmas Day Eucharist begins at 11:15 a.m. Dec. 25.

Bishop's pageant

California Bishop Marc Andrus participates in a past Bishop’s Christmas Pageant at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Photo: Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral – The cathedral in San Francisco will livestream its Bishop’s Christmas Pageant at 11 a.m. Pacific Dec. 24, featuring children dressed as magi, angels and shepherds. Other online offerings include the Christmas Day Choral Eucharist at 1 p.m. Pacific Dec. 25.

Cathedral of St. John the DivineChristmas Eve Lessons and Carols will be held at the New York cathedral at 3:45 p.m. Eastern Dec. 24, followed by a Christmas Eve Festal Eucharist at 10 p.m. Both will be livestreamed, as will the Christmas Day service at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 25.

Trinity Church Wall Street – Also in New York, Trinity Wall Street will livestream its Christmas Eve service at 9 p.m. Dec. 24 and its Christmas Day service at 11:15 a.m. Dec. 25. Video of each service will be posted online for later viewing.

St. Martin’s Episcopal Church – You can celebrate Christmas with The Episcopal Church’s largest congregation from anywhere in the world when the Houston, Texas, church holds its worship services this weekend. Its four Christmas Eve services will all be livestreamed, at 11 a.m. and 1, 3:30 and 6 p.m. Central Dec. 24.

American Cathedral – Or celebrate Christmas virtually with Episcopalians in Paris. The cathedral, part of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, will livestream its Christmas Day service at 11 a.m. local (5 a.m. Eastern) Dec. 25.

Canterbury Cathedral – Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will celebrate Holy Eucharist at England’s Canterbury Cathedral at 11 a.m. local (6 a.m. Eastern) Dec. 25. A livestream will be available on the cathedral’s website.

Other online observances, celebrations and resources for Christmas: