Local Easter Sunday services leaning on live stream
Pews will be empty at most local churches Easter Sunday. While they’ve always faced a full congregation from the pulpit on Resurrection Sunday, some local pastors are leaning on the internet to get God’s Good News delivered to their congregations.
Most Bedford County churches will be holding Easter Sunday services online - the first for many. Jeff Smith, minister of South Side Church of Christ, said Thursday his church congregation will worship through live video stream at 10 a.m. on Facebook and at http://www.cofcsouthside.com.
“I have been amazed at the amount of communication we have had over the last few weeks. We meet "virtually,” but not in person. I think we will come out of this thing better than we went in. For sure, all of us will appreciate the joy of coming together live and in person.”
Smith said the South Side service is 40 minutes or less, including lead-in music, announcements and this week’s lesson titled is titled “Resurrection Realities.”
“We will have the Lord's Supper. We are doing this every week. One of our Elders will preside and members are encouraged to obtain the elements from the grocery store or stop by our building on Thursday or Friday afternoon. With gloved hands, we have placed individualized communion servings on the big table in our foyer. Families can celebrate communion in their own time, or with the group virtually through the live stream.”
Also, beginning this Sunday, several of South Side’s Bible class teachers are going to have brief Bible classes on Zoom, a media conferencing company, with their students. These times are scattered throughout the morning before and after live stream.
“During this shelter in place time, we are live video streaming each Sunday morning at 10 a.m. and Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. Our Youth minister, Chris Bobo, is doing youth gatherings via Zoom during the week.”
For South Side members without internet, the church is making calls and writing letters, and each week they receive a hard copy of the church bulletin. The bulletin is also placed on the church website for all others.
“Our deacons and others stand ready to assist our members who may need grocery runs, or any other need.”
One of those needs while people are self-isolating at home and waiting for the downward curve of COVID-19 is the use of technology.
Some local pastors believe this Easter Sunday may be the greatest yet in the history of Bedford County churches, simply because of the change that is possible through faith.
Pastor Ron DeWitt of First Church of the Nazarene said Thursday, “I have felt from day one that out of what the enemy of our soul has meant for harm, God will use for Good!”
The veteran pastor said Easter will be the church’s fourth Sunday to do a live streamed service only. First Church of the Nazarene been live streaming services for around two years but it's never been any more important than today, said DeWitt. Tune in to the church’s worship hour at 10 a.m. Sunday at http://www.shelbyvillefirstnaz.com.
The pastor said, “While it has been very difficult for our congregation to be separated for these three weeks, our folks have really stepped up to the plate in faithfulness! They are watching as well as giving. I actually believe that more people are hearing the gospel now than at any time since the tragedy of 9/11.”
DeWitt said he’s aware that in almost every way, this will not seem like Easter, but still, he’s excited to see how God will use church live streaming in powerful ways - those up until now, the church could possibly not even imagine.
“Coronavirus has changed our world and life as we know it but it has NOT changed GOD or His purposes! His love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace are just as abundant and free as they have
ever been, but maybe, just maybe, it has caused our world to slow down enough to look to and find God is still there!”