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A Fort St. John guide to a virtual Easter

Churches across Fort St. John have closed their doors and have cancelled all public gatherings. But their role in society and message of hope feel more necessary than ever.
Easter Sunday
North Peace MB Church Pastor Andrew Eby delivers a sermon via livestream on March 29, 2020. He will be delivering the church's Easter Sunday service the same way on April 12 at 10 a.m.

Churches across Fort St. John have closed their doors and have cancelled all public gatherings. But their role in society and message of hope feel more necessary than ever.

With Easter less than a week away — Good Friday is April 10, Easter Sunday is April 12 — Fort St. John churches have adapted on the fly to ensure they can still deliver Easter services. 

Many of the churches in town will be broadcasting live through their Facebook pages, while some are using Vimeo to stream their sermons. Some services will take place live, while others have been pre-recorded and edited together.

The Fort St. John Alliance Church has livestreamed three Sunday services so far. Pastor Andrew McGregor has noticed the COVID-19 pandemic has actually allowed more people to take in a service, as they might otherwise be busy on the weekends. 

"The livestream has actually seen higher numbers than we get in person. We're really thankful that we're able to care for people in this season," McGregor said. "We always want to be there for people who need it, and this is no different, but it's definitely a different process. As a strong extrovert, I prefer the personal connection but it's been encouraging to see how smoothly this transition has gone."

St. Luke's United Church held its first livestream service this past Sunday. Reverend Rick Marsh said it's taken him and his congregation a bit to get used to the idea, but that it's necessary to adapt.

"Lots of people in the world and our congregation don't use this technology, but we have to do what we can to be there for people," Marsh said. 

Marsh said this is something nobody's experienced before, and he sees it as a bit of a wake-up call. "Some of us think in certain parts of the world we're untouchable. Now, it's important that we're taking care of ourselves, and relating to people and being there for each other."

Ministers have noticed the pandemic has brought out goodwill in each other and in the community. 

"It's been great seeing people from the church helping each other out, getting groceries for one another, and leaving positive messages on their houses,” said Reverend Christopher Samsom of St. Martin's Anglican Church in Fort St. John, as well as the St. Matthias and Good Shepherd Anglican churches in Cecil Lake and Taylor. 

No matter the church or denomination, churches have been getting great feedback on both the livestream services and other ways they are ministering to people.

"The feedback has been really positive, people think it's been really nice to see our songs being played and seeing our faces. To find hope and encouragement in Jesus is the main thing, and this brings a sense of normalcy to things and it's been really well received," McGregor said. 

Easter Service Plans

Here are the details and links to plans for Easter weekend. If your church's service isn't listed, email reporter Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca to have the details and link added to the list. 

Fort St. Alliance ChurchClick here for stream.

- Good Friday, April 10, 10 a.m.
- Easter Sunday, April 12, 10 to 11 a.m.

Anglican Parishes of the North Peace (St. Martin's, St. Matthias' and Good Shepherd)Click here for stream.

- Maundy Thursday, April 9, 7 p.m.
- Good Friday, April 10, 10 a.m.
- Easter Sunday, April 12, 10 a.m.

North Peace MB ChurchClick here for stream.

- Good Friday, April 10, 10 a.m.
- Easter Sunday, April 12, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

St. Luke's United Church Click here for stream.

- Good Friday, April 10, 10 a.m.
- Easter Sunday, April 12, 10 a.m.

Evangel DowntownClick here for stream.

- Easter Sunday, April 12, 10 to 11 a.m.

Charlie Lake Community ChurchClick here for stream.

- Good Friday, April 10, 10 a.m.
- Easter Sunday, April 12, 10:40 a.m.