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Bronzeville, Near South Side

Bright Star Church Cancels New Year’s Eve Celebration Amid Omicron Rise, Moves Services Online

The church is also expanding its coronavirus helpline to help congregants and others in need.

Pastor Chris Harris
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BRONZEVILLE — With positive COVID-19 cases skyrocketing across the city, Bright Star Church is postponing its New Year’s Eve party, Pastor Chris Harris announced via You Tube Tuesday.

The church at 735 E. 44th St. had been gearing up for the event, selling “hundreds of tickets” to its downtown New Year’s Eve watch party at 300 S. Riverside Plaza, said Harris, who announced the event’s cancellation.

“Over the last 20 months, 98 people I know and care about have died either from COVID or during COVID. I’m tired of preaching and attending funerals,” said Harris. “It’s incumbent upon me as a leader in two churches and as someone who loves his friends and family. … We all have to make wise decisions right now.”

Sunday services will return to a virtual-only format as well. Many area churches that went virtual at the beginning of the pandemic have continued to livestream their services while returning to in-person worship once the city reopened. Neighboring churches like New Life Covenant are choosing to stick with the hybrid option for now while assisting state officials with vaccination efforts, hosting several events through the beginning of the new year.

Bright Star Community Outreach, the nonprofit arm of the church, has extended its Coronavirus trauma helpline, 833-TURN123, to 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

“I’m not telling anyone what to do, but as a fully vaccinated person who has also had the booster, I still believe I have a responsibility to continue wearing my mask, continue social distancing and protect other people,” said Harris, who pleaded with those battling the virus to inform friends and family of their status for support.

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