By Caleb Hennington

Digital Content Editor

“Will we be able to hold Easter Worship in our sanctuary and, if we can’t, what can we do?” This is a question laity and pastors are asking all over Arkansas. Bishop Mueller and the Cabinet believe it is important to recognize that it is highly likely that no congregations will be able to gather together for in-person worship before the beginning of May at the earliest.

Since Easter is coming up quickly — Sunday, April 12 — it’s important to be proactive about the creative ways in which we can celebrate Easter this season rather than be reactive to all the unknowns we face.

So here are a few ways that you can remain together during Easter and celebrate the resurrection of Christ with the ones you love.

Livestream/Video Your Message

We have been talking a lot about livestreaming recently, and many of you had your first experience with a live-streamed worship service this past Sunday. And we keep talking about it because it’s such a great tool, especially with our current limits on worshiping together in-person. For Easter this year, consider livestreaming your service in the same way that you’ve been livestreaming your Sunday services. And if you can’t livestream, pre-record your sermon and post it online (YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, etc.) For more on livestreaming, check out our Communications webinar from Tuesday, which will be uploaded here very soon.

Connect with Local Media

Despite our current social distancing rules, your local media is still hard at work bringing you the news each day. That means radio stations and TV networks are still available to reach out to and ask about broadcasting your Easter service in your local area. Find out which stations broadcast in your area, and reach out to them to see if they would be willing to work with you and send out an Easter message to your community.

Record an Audio-Only Sermon/Podcast

If you don’t have a way to video your sermons, but you have a microphone and a recording device available, then consider recording your Easter sermon in an audio-only format. There are lots of free websites where you can upload your audio files for your congregation to hear, such as SoundCloud, Anchor, and even YouTube. You can also consider starting a podcast for your church, and uploading your audio sermons to one of the many podcast hosting services available online.

Hold Your Easter Service at a Later Date

In The United Methodist Church, we recognize Easter as the day where we celebrate the risen Christ at the end of the 40-day Lenten season. But have you ever wondered why the date for Easter changes from year to year? According to Ask the UMC, “In 325 AD, the Council of Nicea set the date for the celebration of Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. For this reason, the date will change each year and can fall anywhere from March 22 to April 25.” Although this has been the traditional understanding of Easter for hundreds of years, there are no rules that say you can’t hold your Easter service days, weeks, or even months later. Consider postponing your Easter service until the current regulations of social distancing have eased.

For all information regarding the Arkansas Conference’s response to COVID-19, visit our resource page below.