SALT LAKE CITY — During the COVID-19 pandemic, churches around the country and globe have shifted online in order to continue services. For the churches and their members, Easter Sunday in 2020 will look a lot different than ones in the past.
"This is a different year for us. We have never experienced anything like this," said Lukus Counterman, Lead Pastor at Gospel Grace Church. "We aren’t able to gather as a church, and the church is uniquely a 'church' because it best pictures the body of Christ when we can assemble… so this has been different for us."
Church members say that shifting to online services can sometimes appeal to a broader audience.
"It does open up an entire population that still, I think, are looking for spiritual food, and they can find it online, Facebook Live or YouTube," Counterman said.
On Easter Sunday, many people will bring the church to the comfort of their own homes, which members say is a sign of the times, but at the end of the day, still brings the community together.
“People can experience some of the same things that they experience every Christmas and Easter — and perhaps in a more powerful way, just because we are all going through this together, and in some ways it's a thing that's drawing us together," said Eric Bloomquist, Director of Connection and Volunteer Development at Capital Church. “Maybe especially in a time like this, people will be drawn to God, and the fact that we have the hopes of something bigger than the things of this world."
Local churches say that interaction on social media has been paramount to keeping connected with the religious community, something that many say they make more time for in the future.
“I think there's new opportunities in this actually… to connect. Text messaging has increased, video counseling and connection through Zoom and FaceTime and Hangout, that's increased," Counterman said. "I think that people are trying to maintain a sense of community even though we are distant from each other geographically."