Historic virtual Easter Sunday services due to COVID-19 crisis

It will be an Easter like we have never experienced in history. This Sunday, it’s church via Zoom, live-stream or YouTube. “This Easter is going to be something we’ll remember for generations and generations,” says Diocese of Orange Auxiliary Bishop Tim Freyer.

“I think we probably should’ve been moving into the technological age in some way and this has just kind of forced us into it in a matter of a couple of weeks. I think there are going to be a lot of blessings from this as well.” Church leaders say a lot of good is already coming out of the virtual church.

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“The amazing thing is since we’ve gone exclusively online, we’ve had people tuning in literally from all around the world, and that’s not an exaggeration,” says Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside Pastor Greg Laurie.

Pastor Greg says 1.3 million people, including President Trump, tuned-in last Sunday, enabling him to reach people he wouldn’t normally be able to reach. Easter Sunday, Pastor Greg is hosting 10 services online from 4 am to 10 pm. “We have a little chat room there and people are chatting from all over the world saying, ‘I need help here.’ ‘Pray for me for this.’ ‘Hey, I’m filled with anxiety.’

People are encouraging one another. It’s a virtual Christian community and I think it’s fantastic.” Diocese of Orange Auxiliary Bishop Tim Freyer spent Saturday at St. Jude Medical Center where he prayed for and thanked the nurses and doctors. “I could just see on their faces a lot of stress and anxiety, especially when I prayed for their family members who were nervous,” says Bishop Freyer.

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“It’s a time when I think people are putting aside the petty things that they used to worry about. They are helping each other a lot more. There’s a lot more kindness.” These church leaders say that goodness emulates God’s grace, at a time when many need it most. “When we come to church we can get a sense of peace that’s an interior peace,” says Bishop Freyer.

“We may have chaos around us, but the chaos won’t be as harming to our soul or as dangerous as it otherwise might be to us.” Pastors say because of what many are dealing with right now during the pandemic – depression, isolation, unemployment – now can be a helpful time to go to church – and this Easter, you don’t have to go far – just the comfort of your couch.   

You can listen to Harvest Church on Easter Sunday by going to Harvest.org.

Bishop Tim will be on Facebook Live from St. Boniface in Anaheim Sunday at 9:30 am.

Happy Easter!