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Easter Sunday online: Churches move to internet platforms to get their messages out

BUCKHANNON – This Easter Sunday may have to be spent indoors, but there are still opportunities to an Easter Sunday service in quarantine.

Jim Minutelli, pastor of the West Buckhannon United Methodist Church and the Mount Lebanon United Methodist Church, said both churches enjoy getting together, but learned quickly they would have to adapt to the COVID-19-related quarantine.

“Our congregations have really stepped up; folks have even joined Facebook and look for certain things they could do better to connect themselves,” Minutelli said. “We have some live Facebook groups, and we do our live streaming on Sunday mornings. We’ve been getting phone calls and cards to the folks that don’t have internet because there’s also a few that have internet, but don’t have Facebook.”

Minutelli said their Easter service will be a Facebook watch party starting at 10 a.m. The service will feature a prerecorded video with submitted scripture verses and other recordings from the congregation.

“Easter is one of the most important, or the most important holiday in the Christian year and people come out to Easter services that maybe we don’t see all this time,” Minutelli said. “Being able to connect with folks, especially in the midst of the coronavirus is important. There’s a lot of people starting to feel a little down over the situation in the world, and I think this can help pull a lot of people out of that.”

Justin Bowers, pastor of New Community Church, said his congregation has tried to transition as much to an online platform as possible.

“Everything we’ve done has moved to gathering online as much as we can, so our Sunday morning services are streaming on Facebook, and we’ve moved our weekly Bible studies meetings and things like that online as well,” Bowers said.

Bowers said the New Community Church will be live streaming their Easter service at 10:30 a.m. on its Facebook page and also on newcomwvbu.online.church for those who do not have Facebook. The service will be a combination of a livestream of the teachings, video their creative team has put together and different stories to create a multimedia storytelling experience.

“We’ve actually seen this really as an opportunity to connect with some folks that maybe wouldn’t feel comfortable walking into a church building, but you feel comfortable accessing spiritual conversations online,” Bowers said. “For the Christian Church, the Easter story is central to our story. it’s really the story I think culturally that we need right now, it’s a story of hope in the midst of death.”

Minutelli agreed, saying while the quarantine has been challenging, it’s important to remember it’s the people that make up a congregation and not a building.

“We have a saying that, ‘it’s not the building.’ The church are the people in it, so even though we’re not physically in the building, the people that make up that church make it what it is and we can still do that online,” Minutelli said.

Here is a list of other churches also doing online services for Easter. If there is a service not listed here, please reach out.

  • Cornerstone Community Church will host a service at 10:15 a.m. Sunday on its Facebook page and YouTube channel with Pastor John Darnall.
  • New Life Tabernacle Church will be doing a drive-in church beginning at noon where everyone stays in their vehicles with weather permitting.
  • Christian Fellowship Church will have a Good Friday service at 7 p.m. Friday, April 10 and Easter service at 11 a.m. Sunday on its Facebook page.
  • Chapel Hill United Methodist will have a Good Friday service at 7 p.m. Friday, April 10. They will also have an Easter sunrise service at 7 a.m. and Easter Sunday service at 10:30 a.m. via livestream on its Facebook page and its YouTube channel. They will also have drive-in church in both the upper and lower parking lots for all of their services. There will also be a low frequency broadcast on 91.3 FM for the sunrise service.
  • South Buckhannon Mission Church will post their Easter sermon online Sunday morning on their YouTube channel and the church’s website.
  • Calvary Chapel Mountain Highlands will go live at 10 a.m. on its Facebook page on Sunday.
  • First United Methodist Church will livestream its Easter Sunday service at 10:45 a.m. on its Facebook page.

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