LORAIN COUNTY, Ohio — Although they’re exempt form Ohio’s stay at home order, churches across Northeast Ohio are finding alternative ways to celebrate Easter services this weekend.
NOTE: For closed captioning in the video above, CLICK HERE.
From strictly virtual services to drive-in style worship in parking lots, it’s forced leaders to think outside of the box.
“This is also a great time of creativity and really is challenging us to truly trust and still remain hopeful that God’s going to see us all through this,” says Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Administrator, Father Don Oleksiak.
“There is no playbook right now to deal with this pandemic, I am inspired and impressed by the creativity as well as the patience and the ability to adapt in these unrealistic and certainly unimagined times that we’re facing.”
Father Oleksiak says for parishioners who aren’t computer savvy or don’t have access to the internet, clergy members are calling them by phone.
“To make sure that they’re okay, to ask if they need anything, to make available any resources that might be available to them,” he says.
First Baptist Church of Elyria’s Associate Pastor of Outreach and Discipleship, Jonathan Casbohm plans to expand its online worship with more singing and worship on Sunday.
“Just to share hope in what seems to be a pretty hopeless situation we want to be able to just celebrate Easter together with joy and excitement like we normally do,” he says. “We’ve been blessed to be able to minister to our own people and this has really given us an opportunity to reach other people, other Christians, other unbelievers, all around the world.”
In a letter sent to faith leaders Lorain County Public Health says it does not recommend hosting events or gatherings of any kind until the governor’s order is lifted.
Here are some tips for churches:
Get creative to continue ministering to your faith community…
- Broadcast services live on Facebook Live or YouTube Live.
- Record services or other video messages to share on your website or social media outlets.
- Host small groups with online services like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Hangouts.
- Create a temporary ministry to call and check on community members, especially those who don’t have internet access.
- Ask other faith community leaders what innovations they’ve tried
Here are ideas from LCPH to encourage the faith community to stay home:
- Schedule a phone call with your extended family to pray together before eating at your separate homes.
- Record a holiday message or story and share with your loved ones by email, through social media, or in a video chat.