Churches Prepare for Easter Weekend During the Pandemic

Churches throughout the Northland are preparing for the upcoming Easter weekend. We talked to church leaders about how they’ve adjusted during the pandemic.

DULUTH, Minn. – Churches throughout the Northland are preparing for the upcoming Easter weekend and church leaders talk about how they’ve adjusted during the pandemic.

With Easter approaching, churches in the area are doing their best to get ready as the pandemic continues.

Minnesota churches are now allowed to be open without capacity limits but Northland churches continue using a hybrid model of meeting in-person and doing virtual livestreams. Others have been sticking to online-only services.

At Eastridge Community Church in Duluth, the church is planning to host five Easter services this weekend. The goal is to give people more room because Easter tends to be one of the more crowded services of the year.

“So holy week for the Christian church is the biggest week of the year,” said Tom Asbury, the senior pastor of the Eastridge Community Church. “We wouldn’t exist without Easter Sunday. So it is so vitally important to me and to Eastridge and to his congregation that we host and have Easter. Last year we didn’t get to do that and that was a big hit.”

Before COVID, the church had 350 to 400 people coming to services.

Now, the church usually has about 50 to 60% of its congregants attending in-person. About one thousand people watch services online through platforms like Facebook and YouTube.

At Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, congregants are still not meeting in-person.

The church has been doing pre-recorded services but will livestream starting this Good Friday.

In total, Pilgrim Congregational has about 50 to 70 Facebook and 40 to 60 YouTube views each week.

They keep learning new technology, making sure the sound is balanced and the cameras are capturing the different angles of the service.

“I think some of this virtual closeness has helped people get to know each other on a deeper level that will, I’m looking forward to when we’re all back together because I think there’s going to be a sense of profound community in a different way,” said Rev. Judith Youngman, the interim pastor at Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ.

Both churches have also incorporated digital offerings into their services to make it easy for members to continue giving support from home.

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