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In preparation for Easter, local churches holding virtual services

One of the biggest holiest days of the year is this Sunday - Easter. But with the stay at home order in place, how are churches celebrating without mass gatherings?

Posted: Apr 10, 2020 12:01 PM

CHICO, Calif. - One of the biggest holiest days of the year is this Sunday - Easter. But with the stay at home order in place, how are churches celebrating without mass gatherings?

Action News Now visited two churches to find out.

The sound of worship.

Echos in an empty East Avenue Church.

"It's been an interesting transition for sure," said Father Ron Zimmer, the pastor for East Avenue Church.

Zimmer has had to adjust services since the stay at home order.

"We normally have three services a weekend but right now we are just live webcasting the 11 am service on Sundays," Zimmer said.

On those days - Father Zimmer is playing music and reading sermon just like any other service.

"We just keep that going and easter is no different although we do have some new plans," Zimmer said.

Part of that plan is to hand out Easter boxes in preparation for the holiday.

At St. John's Episcopal Church.

Typically on Easter Sunday, the churches' seats are filled with hundreds of people. Come Sunday the church doesn't want you to physically come there, rather they want you to connect with them virtually.

"I've been doing the services from my home," said Father Richard Yale, the pastor for St. John's Episcopal Church.

Using Facebook live - Father Richard Yale has found a way to stay connected to his congregation.

"I've been seeing people reaching out and connecting with one another, not just with me but with my whole congregation," Yale said.

It's not the usual way to celebrate easter but these churches are finding a way to serve their communities.

"It is just a loss not being with them in the same way," Yale said.

"I think this has been a nice sabbatical in some ways for people to return to things that are important instead of the things that keep them busy," Zimmer said.

Father Zimmer says his congregation usually breaks bread, but since they can't do that at the moment, he is asking his followers to supply their own bread and they can eat it all together - online.

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Sunny skies and warming temperatures are ahead through Saturday. Temperatures will cool down on Sunday, and the potential for rain and snow showers will return to northern California Sunday afternoon. We'll stay cool with more showers looking likely next week!
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