Pandemic changes Easter services for local churches
With the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent stay at home order from Gov. Kay Ivey, many churches are taking advantage of technology to continue to celebrate Easter this year. Although unable to gather for a traditional Easter service, many local churches have come up with creative solutions to keep the congregation engaged.
Greg Lee is the senior pastor at West Hartselle Baptist Church and said the staff and congregation have used Zoom and social media to continue to meet together while observing social distancing.
“We, like most churches, have recorded a service video and it will be broadcast over our churches Facebook page on Sunday morning. It’s a little bit of a modified, simplified version of what we would normally do,” Lee said. “Easter is normally the service where you pull all the stops and really try to do it up big, but we recorded in the youth area of our church with just a small number of musicians. We didn’t try to involve a choir or anything, but we recorded some music and I stepped up and recorded the sermon. We got a couple of guys that are really good with the technical aspect of video and they are going to edit it polish and package it and it’ll go out on Easter on Sunday morning,”
Lee said they have also created manuscripts for individuals that do not have access to social media or to use to follow along with the sermon. Individuals can call the church office to gain access to the files. He says social media and technology has been an asset by allowing the congregation to be able to continue to meet with one another from a distance.
“Our people get on and can see each other. I think that has been a great source of encouragement, that even though we are spread out all across Morgan County we are all there watching the same broadcast. We have contemplated doing the drive up church for Easter, but decided with the Governor’s request we didn’t want to jeopardize anything and wanted to be good citizens of the state of Alabama. This is our best option. When you get on, everyone can listen and they have been responding and sending messages to each other,” Lee said.
The live-streamed service has been the approach from many of Hartselle’s churches including the First United Methodist Church, Hartselle Church of Christ, First Baptist Church Hartselle, Life Church, Daystar Church and more.
Lee said that although the Easter service may look different for many this year, the church as a whole will still be celebrating the same thing – the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He recently shared a photo from last year’s service on social media to share his thoughts on the unprecedented time as a church leader.
“Last year when the service ended I had taken a picture from my cell phone. The building is full and it’s an exciting time when the room is full and there is a lot of energy. I posted a picture and said ‘I am sad that the room is not going to be full this year but I rejoice that the tomb is empty.’ That’s what everyone’s mind set is, this is not ideal. We would love to be together, but the important thing is that Christ is risen and that’s what we are celebrating,” Lee said.