Local Churches Celebrate Palm Sunday Differently Due to Coronavirus
Sunday was the start of Holy Week, the beginning of a celebration to remember Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem leading up to his death and resurrection.
With Coronavirus numbers on the rise and the statewide stay at home health order in place, churches are finding ways to celebrate Palm Sunday and Easter differently this year.
“Even though we may feel isolated or quarantined, we’re not isolated from God and we’re really not isolated from each other,” Heritage Baptist Church pastor Dr. Temen Knight said.
Church parking lots were empty Sunday morning, and people were having to rely on the internet and social media to view church services.
“We can’t gather publicly, and so I guess in a sense, the Coronavirus has stopped our public gathering. But the Coronavirus cannot stop the Resurrection. And so the Gospel is not going to be stopped,” Pastor Daniel Atkins at Taylor Road Baptist Church said.
Governor Kay Ivey’s stay at home order includes an exemption for drive up prayer services as long as people stay inside their cars or services with less than 10 people.
Since most public gatherings are not allowed, church leaders are having to think outside the box to recognize Holy Week.
“We’re going to try to stay connected by having our ministry staff every morning to talk about this last week of Jesus’ life. On Thursday night, we’re going to gather together via Zoom and Facebook live to observe the Lord’s Supper. Of course, each family will be in their home. But we’ll be together as a church family through the internet,” Knight said.
At Taylor Road Baptist Church, Atkins has announced a challenge to church members for Easter.
“All of the members of our church are being challenged to record their testimony of how they came to know Christ in a two-three minute video and to just flood social media with it. Because it’s all scary news right now, and so we want to break the internet with the Gospel for the the week of Easter,” Atkins said.
Churches are having to stream services online during an important time for Christians across the world, but Atkins said he is looking at the positive side.
“People are more receptive to hearing the story of Jesus and the hope that he gives us through his death and resurrection right now than ever before, I think,” Atkins said.