Preparing for Super Bowl Sunday, some Tacoma-area churches are canceling evening services, throwing big-screen viewing parties and adapting schedules in other ways.
Pray first, then watch the Seahawks play: That’s the game plan for some congregations.
Two large Catholic parishes in the area — St. Charles Borromeo in Tacoma and St. Andrew in Sumner — are canceling their Masses at 5:30 p.m. Sunday to avoid conflicting with the Seahawks taking on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
In her 31 years as a parishioner at St. Andrew, administrative assistant Tracy Lentz says she knows of only one other occasion when a Mass was canceled: the same Sunday evening Mass when the Seahawks played in the Super Bowl in 2006.
Both parishes will hold their usual Saturday night and Sunday morning Masses.
“Because no one will attend the Mass at 5:30 p.m., Father (Jack Shrum) canceled it and told people to go to other Masses,” said Monica Rodrigues, pastoral assistant for faith formation at St. Andrew.
Instead of meeting at its normal time Sunday evening, the high school youth group at St. Andrew will have a viewing party at the church at 2:30 p.m., Rodrigues said.
“I’m not necessarily a football fanatic,” she said. “It’s the opportunity to get involved in something they enjoy and do it together.”
After its two morning services, Sound Life Church between Spanaway and South Hill will have its Championship Sunday Party at 3:15 p.m. in its gymnasium. It will show the game — which starts at 3:30 p.m. — in high definition on a 16-by-9-foot screen.
“It’s to provide a great opportunity for families in our community to come together and enjoy something that we’re all passionate about,” said the Rev. Edwin Comstock, associate pastor for communication and development.
That passion is for the Seahawks and the 12th Man. Comstock will wear a Seahawks jersey with the number 12.
“We’re just offering the game as our way of saying, ‘Let’s do this together,’ ” he said.
There will be chips, dips and, of course, Skittles in honor of running back Marshawn Lynch.
Instead of watching the halftime show, the group will play family games and activities, Comstock said. Sound Life Church is at 3425 176th St. E.
At some other congregations, it’s worship as usual on Sunday.
Morning services at Life Center in Tacoma will include a video greeting via Skype from a church member at the Super Bowl. The church will offer Seahawks face-painting and Skittles between services.
And it will still have its 6 p.m. service Sunday, said the Rev. Dean Curry, pastor.
“It’s important that we’re open no matter what,” Curry said. “We see ourselves as essential in the same way as a hospital or a post office is.”
Life Center isn’t holding a huge Super Bowl viewing party like it did in 2006 at the Landmark Convention Center. Instead, hundreds of small fellowship groups that normally meet in homes during the week are being encouraged to watch the game together Sunday, Curry said.
Mars Hill Church in Tacoma will have its usual five services Sunday, including those at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. that will conflict with the Super Bowl. The Rev. Bubba Jennings, lead pastor, said he expects attendance will be down for evening services.
Many of Mars Hill’s community groups that meet in homes across the area will host Super Bowl parties, he said.
“We are super-excited for the Seahawks and see the Super Bowl as a great opportunity to cheer for our team,” Jennings said.