Despite cold, snow, churches get ready for Christmas Eve - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Despite cold, snow, churches get ready for Christmas Eve

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - On Tuesday afternoon, the sanctuary was silent at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids. Less than five hours later, it would be filled with carolers celebrating Christmas Eve.

"We're always excited about Christmas Eve," said Harlan Gillepsie, senior pastor. 

Outside the church sidewalks were slippery due to extremely low temperatures overnight.

"There's been three of us out there through the morning getting everything ready to go for this evening," said Donald Goedken, maintenance supervisor.

The church's maintenance crew made several trips outside, clearing snow and hoping that the weather would warm up enough for the salt they laid down to work.

"It's warming up enough out there right now that it's starting to work already, so I think we'll be in good shape for tonight," said Goedken.

Crews planned to be on hand throughout the night to keep the sidewalks clear. The church even has parking lot greeters to welcome worshipers and keep eyes on the potentially slick lot.

"They keep track of how the conditions are out there, and they also keep track of making sure people are safe," said Gillepsie.

More than 1,000 people are expected to attend a Christmas Eve service at this church, and while some may stay home due to weather, pastors expect each service to be packed.

"This day is about coming to church, and it's an important time for family and friends to get together and hopefully newcomers -- people that are looking for family and friends, or other connections they might have in their lives," said Gillepsie. "This is a very important day for that."

They'll make sure paths are clear for anyone who wants to worship.
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