Easter Sunday, the hallmark holiday for those of the Christian faith, celebrated for centuries. The COVID-19 outbreak has forced a change in the way churches are celebrating this special day of resurrection and new life.
Westminster Presbyterian Pastor Will Shurley never set out to be a televangelist, much less an online one, but like many of us, he’s learning to adapt, even working his own camera phone to livestream church sermons. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had to think about ways for us to continue to proclaim the gospel from our church. Lo and behold, technology, like Facebook Live, has made it possible for us to do that. It has, in a way, I feel like I am answering a new calling to preach through technology.”
Although the means of sharing the gospel has changed, the message has not. “It’s always relevant to every generation. This Easter is up against the backdrop of the COVID 19 pandemic, so this year when we celebrate the resurrection and new life, it may take on a new meaning for folks.”
Preparations are also underway for Easter services in Ocean Springs at Center Pointe Church where they’re also ramping up their online reach to spread the gospel. Senior Pastor Ted Pagel said, “It’s where we are right now during this pandemic, so it makes it very difficult to do it any other way. I am at least thankful and grateful that we have the technology of online communication, the internet, Facebook Live, to be able to get the message to our people, to keep us connected.”
Connected and comforted. Center Pointe Church Worship Pastor Crystal Westmoreland is in tune with the struggles many are facing now as she has some struggles of her own.
She says being a Christian doesn’t make you immune to the hardships of life, but better equipped to handle them and that’s something to sing about. “Our worship is to God, and while it’s different not having people in the room, we can still worship and we can still praise. I know the people at home right now that are joining us online, they are able to worship God at home because we can worship God anywhere.”
This weekend as many Easter sunrise services give way to online services, the message of hope and redemption remains the same this Easter holiday, a story of old reflective of this present day era, as the whole world awaits a resurrection and victory over death and COVID-19.
You can catch Westminster Presbyterian church services for the Easter holiday weekend this Saturday at 4 p.m. and on Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m. and then at 10:30 a.m. on the Westminster Presbyterian church’s Facebook page and on their website at Gulfportchurch.org.
To catch Center Pointe Church’s Easter Sunday services, you can head on over to their Center Pointe Church Facebook page Sunday morning at 9 a.m. or watch the service later on their website at gotocpc.org.