Churches forced to bring Holy Week online

MISHAWAKA, Ind. - As Holy Week is underway, several churches in the Michiana area have been forced to adapt, moving services online.

Holy Week is the most important holiday for Christians as the week is used to take them through the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It usually consists of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.

However, pastors, I have had to change up their practices by putting their worship services all online.

“Easter week vigil and Easter, I’ve sent around holy boxes to everyone. Easter vigil candles for the vigil part of the service, bells for the Easter acclamation and holy water, because part of the service is remembering our baptisms,” Reverand Heather Ghormley at Tree of Life Anglican Church said.

This year they aren’t doing a Maundy service on Thursday because it is just hard to do over Zoom, but they are sending around instructions and a little meditation.

On Good Friday they will still have a service, but there will be a PowerPoint that has the liturgy in it, art and hopefully music.

As for communion, reverend Ghormley said they’re using a prayer to connect the congregation.

“There’s a real sadness to not being able to gather together for Easter and celebrate this but everyone feels like Jesus wouldn’t want us to, get each other sick. So to be able to continue doing something that's important,” she said.

Ghormley said she thought her parishioners wouldn’t want to be on Zoom through these long services, but she’s gotten a positive response and many are glad they are making this option available.

Other churches in our area like First Baptist Church in Mishawaka have also had to adapt.

“We decided to do a daily video through Facebook, through our Facebook page that highlights what happened on that particular day of holy week,” Peter Jones, the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Mishawaka said.

Jones said it’s important to have these daily educational and devotional videos to show people what happened the week before Good Friday and Easter.

The videos are posted on their Facebook to bring not only their local church-goers together but the faith community nationwide.

They will also have an entire recorded service for Sunday posted online.

“It’s been really neat to connect as a church that way,” he said. “You know, people are leaving comments saying ‘loved it,’ ‘appreciated it,’ ‘good to see you,’ and even though I’m not seeing them it still allows us as a church to connect and so it allows them to still participate in what we’re trying to do.”

Jones said there is still a sense of community even though they are not in the same room, just showing you that we can all still celebrate these major holidays even if it’s all virtually.

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