Coronavirus forces churches to seek virtual alternatives for Easter services

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What’s normally a special time of religious celebration for many families to come together is much different this year as the coronavirus pandemic continues to touch all areas of life.

“There are a lot of people who are really hurting, and this isolation thing is really affecting them and it’s creating anxiety,” said the Rev. Neal Rich, a pastor at Cedar Valley Church.

Local places of worship offering online Easter services

At Cedar Valley Church in Bloomington, which normally hosts more than 1,500 worshippers during Sunday services, Rich is finding ways to fill the empty space.

“We’re still figuring out the best way to give them a feeling like in some way they’re still in community,” Rich said.

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Like many churches, they’ve moved many of their religious services online, but it isn’t the same. Weddings, funerals, and church services look more different than ever.

“We’ve had people even at the church who said, ‘God’s greater than the coronavirus; we’re not afraid of the coronavirus,’ and I think, ‘Well, being people of faith doesn’t mean we don’t utilize wisdom.’ So I’d say first, let’s practice wisdom, and just to be patient.”

KSTP’s 1-on-1 with Archbishop Hebda

Earlier this week Archbishop Bernard Hebda of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis explained how faith is important in these trying times, even as social distancing is keeping so many apart.

“It’s not unusual that in human experience we feel that kind of abandonment or feel that distance from our loving God, but if we’re able to persevere, if we’re able to continue to love in our weakness, that our God never stops loving us,” said Hebda.