GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As road conditions continue to worsen during a powerful winter storm hitting West Michigan, religious groups have had to make some tough decisions during one of the most important times of the year for them. 

But religious groups have the same message: worship can happen anywhere. 

“Our worship doesn’t stop just because of a blizzard,” said Beverly Williams, the pastor for Mears and Shelby United Methodist Churches. “As we found in 2020, it’s definitely not about the buildings but it’s what it’s in our hearts in our spirits. So that’s what we share.” 

Williams said instead of filling the pews, her congregations will gather on Facebook Live on Christmas Eve.

“The side roads don’t always get plowed right away,” Williams said. “So we felt it would be best to cancel our Christmas Eve service and to go online instead.” 

She’ll be leading the service from her house. 

“I’m going to dust off my fingers at the piano a little bit to see if I can at least do the ones that everybody knows, at least a verse in each one,” Williams said. 

That church’s plan for Christmas Day is still up in the air. 

Meanwhile, in Grand Rapids, Fountain Street Church is playing it by ear. 

“We don’t want to put our members at risk or the public at risk, and we also don’t want to put the road cleanup crews at risk or the first responders who would actually have to respond to those people,” said Rev. Christopher Roe. 

They’ll decide whether their Christmas Eve service will be in-person or virtual by noon Saturday. 

“We’re hoping to still have some kind of presence here,” Roe said. “I live by the church, so do many of the participants. We have a lot of people who live in this neighborhood. The goal is I’d still be able to come down here. It’s a wonderful space, the community loves this space, we’d love to worship somehow giving honor to this history.” 

The Christmas Eve service would be around 9 p.m., Roe said. 

“I think if we could make it through COVID and we can honor a tradition about love becoming incarnate in the wildest of places we can practice that in Fountain Street and in Grand Rapids this year,” Roe said. 

For the Grand Rapids Catholic Diocese, mass will happen in-person no matter how much snow builds up outside. 

“It’s a time of hope because no matter where we are in life we always need more hope,” said Father Dat Tran. 

But for those who don’t want to drive, they’ll stream the services online at grdiocese.org as well as on their Facebook page.

“We want people to be safe and use their prudent judgement whether it’s safe to drive to church or not,” Tran said. “But mass goes on no matter what.” 

Tran said it’s “always nice” to have their “beautiful space” filled with people. 

“Christmas is a time to be with family and friends and church community,” Tran said. “Since we’ve been off the last few years with the pandemic, this is the first time we can come together as a community to celebrate together.” 

Meanwhile, as Hanukkah continues through Monday night, the Chabad House of Western Michigan have in-person services every day, and it’s up to their members whether they feel it’s safe enough to come. 

“In general, we are going to continue our services as planned,” said Saadia Weingarten, the assistant rabbi at the Chabad House. “But we encourage everybody to take the right precautions. Safety comes first way before any services.” 

He said that Rabbi Yosef Weingarten will be there but won’t expect everyone to come. 

“Everybody has to make that right decision to see if it’s safe for them to come,” he said. 

“Services and Hanukkah exist at home as well,” Weingarten added. “We could still pray at home and have Hanukkah party at home, light the menorah at home.”