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Downtown Phoenix church offers outdoor services for Christmas

The setup includes chairs outside, spaced out, a mask mandate and reservations for church as if you’re going to a restaurant.

Christmas Day is a day of worship for many families and this year makes it tougher to gather with concerns of COVID-19.

"When the pandemic first started we did online only and we were not able to worship in person," explains Troy Mendez, Dean at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Phoenix.

But 10 months later, after figuring out what works and what doesn't, his church has been able to offer outdoor in-person services for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

"What I love is the absolute abundance of creativity," he says.

The setup includes chairs outside, spaced out, a mask mandate, and reservations for church as if you’re going to a restaurant.

"It’s not to keep anybody out," Mendez explains. "It’s simply for contract tracing purposes. We have to know who is here."

Two of those in attendance Friday morning were Kyle Boston and her pup Toby.

"It means everything," Kyle says. "I have not been on a Christmas morning without church in many, many, many years."

She's grateful for a chance to pray in person after a rough year for her and many families. Toby wasn't always her pup.

"His real mother was a dear friend she passed away from cancer on Oct. 2 and she asked us to take him," Kyle explains.

Toby considered a gift.  A reminder to look for the light, even when times are dark.

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