Churches Celebrate Good Friday in a Unique Way

St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Duluth typically has around 350 people at the main Easter service, but this year, the pews will be empty.

DULUTH, Minn. – St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Duluth typically has around 350 people at the main Easter service, but this year, the pews will be empty.

It’s what Rector Bill Van Oss calls loving your neighbor.

“Most of the time that has to do with being together with our neighbor and interacting with them,” said Van Oss. “During this pandemic, loving our neighbor is staying apart from each other to protect them, to protect our elders, to protect healthcare workers and first responders and those folks that have to be stocking grocery store shelves and doing the things that are absolutely necessary.”

The church has recorded services in the past but never has there been a case where no one is gathered together to celebrate those services.

To honor the governor’s orders, a small group now gets together to record church services to stream online, while also staying a safe distance apart from each other.

“You know the message was that Easter happens whether we’re together or apart,” said Van Oss. “The love of God comes to us where we are, that’s going to be in our homes this year but the love of God comes to us when we’re all gathered together again and we certainly look forward to that day when we can all be together again in this beautiful space.”

The church is also helping with other things too, like delivering or necessary items from drug stores to those needing help. There are also people wearing masks, and the church is providing phone pals who regularly check in with members.

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