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Church holds outdoor service during negative temperatures, congregants say it’s worth it

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Neither cold temperatures nor COVID-19 could cancel outdoor Sunday church service at the North Presbyterian Church parking lot.

"Loneliness is a really difficult thing that people are struggling with so for us to gather together like this is just so important," Member Debbie Harmening said.

Harmening prefers attending church in-person from her car, windows closed, while watching Pastor Scott Skogen give the sermon and listening to him via the radio.

"It's better because I can look next to the person that I sit with in church and I feel their presence and their love," she said. "When I see him up there and we honk at the end of the sermon you feel warm all over.

"Change creates a sense of grief over what was and yet excitement over what is to come," Pastor Skogen said during his sermon.

"I didn't learn how to preach at 20 below at seminary but I realized I can," he said. "There's a lot of lonely people and if we can do something safely that connects people I think that's really helpful."

The church offers an in-person and indoor service at 8 a.m. with mask and social distancing requirements. They also release a recorded version to stream at 8 a.m. Sunday mornings, with the parking lot "Drive-Thru" service at 10 a.m.

"It has been great to have these different opportunities where we can meet people's needs from where they're at and connect with them," Pastor Skogen said.

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