VAIL, Colo. — Over the summer and into the fall, as his congregation has worshipped in the open air at 4 Eagle Ranch near Wolcott, the Rev. Craig Smith said he has preached to a number of visiting pastors vacationing in Eagle County.
A lot of them have been in tears at the end of the service, he said.
“I just check to make sure it wasn’t that the sermon was that bad,” joked Smith, who is the lead pastor at the non-denominational Vail Church on U.S. Highway 6 in Avon, one of the largest parishes in the valley. “But they say, ‘This is like the first time we’ve worshipped in person. Our own church can’t even gather right now.’ And, you can tell, there’s something moving about it. We’re grateful for technology, no question, but I think being in person with people of faith is a special thing.”
Just like restaurants or music venues, navigating the COVID-19 crisis has been a moving target for parishes big and small throughout Eagle County. Stay-at-home orders in the spring forced parishes to go to virtual services before the easing of restrictions allowed for limited in-person gatherings. The warmer months allowed for larger in-person services in outdoor settings.
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