Fort St. John churches celebrated Easter weekend as they normally would, but with a virtual twist.
Most churches still had services on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but they were either livestreamed or prerecorded. Watching the services online provided a sense of peace and calm, even if the usual celebratory feeling felt different without the company of a-hundred person congregation.
Each church had its own take — some chose to put on a traditional service and Easter message, while others tied their message to the current realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Would you take the place of someone so they wouldn’t have to suffer from COVID-19?” Caleb Salmond, pastor of connections at Fort St. John Alliance Church, asked his congregation during the church’s Good Friday virtual sermon.
Salmond used that question to explain the sacrifice Christians believe Jesus made when he was crucified.
Evangel Downtown Associate Pastor Jimmy Noble focused his message on the opportunities that can arrive from collectively dealing with such a hard time. while stress can often bring out the worst it us, it can also bring out the best in us, and being selfless to help one another, he said.
“With quarantine and self-isolation, you’re being pushed up in a hard place and being pressed down upon, but it’s an exciting place for something to flourish in your life,” Noble said during Evangel’s Easter Sunday service.
Noble compared the pandemic to the Apostle Paul, who said that when in prison his hardship was the best thing that could have happened, as it forced him to trust God completely.
“God will rescue you as many times as you need. He’s the God that raised Jesus from the dead," Nobel said. "No matter the frustration that you feel, no matter how much you feel pressed, God wants to rescue you."
Churches presented their worship music in different ways as well. The Alliance Church had a man and woman lead the service from home on their couch: he played the djembe, she played the guitar. The North Peace MB Church had a full band playing for those at home.
Some pastors mentioned how surreal life feels right now, and how it can feel absurd to celebrate and feel like everything will be OK.
“You might ask, ‘What is there to celebrate when we are angry at the world, and when we’re dealing with this in some degree?’” said Reverend Ricky Marsh of St. Luke’s United Church in his Easter Sunday service. “Can you believe I have the nerve to tell you all will be OK?” he joked.
Marsh ended with a soft-spoken assurance that “there is no darkness that will keep us, with God’s love he’ll see us through.”
His parting words felt the most relatable when he concluded his service by saying, “My friends, have a blessed Easter Sunday as we continue in uncharted waters. Amen.”
Email reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.