Churches preparing for safe Easter services

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Like many churches, Greater Friendship Baptist Church is planning a sunrise service and a later service, which will be available online.
DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

Easter church service will be a little different at many local churches. The holiday will be celebrated with the COVID-19 safety precautions in place, including limited attendance and virtual services.

“We do have services in place for Easter Sunday, but we’ll continue with the COVID safety measures. We’ve done the best that we could to stay in accordance with the CDC and state’s guidelines. We won’t have a large gathering and we will have live streaming,’’ said the Rev. Craig Robinson, pastor of New St. James Missionary Baptist Church at 418 Laura St. in Daytona Beach.

The Rev. Nathan Mugala, pastor of Allen Chapel AME Church in Daytona, noted, “We still expect to have large participation but more so virtually via online. We are still doing that. We are trying to make sure that we don’t put anybody at risk.”

Allen Chapel is located at 580 George W. Engram Blvd.

On Zoom and outside

Both churches have two services planned for the holiday.

Allen Chapel will have a virtual joint Easter sunrise service with Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church at 6:30 a.m. online via Zoom. It will be followed by a Park & Praise Resurrection Service at 11 a.m. in Allen Chapel’s parking area. The church will also stream services on Facebook Live and YouTube.

“Once again, we have to do what we must to keep everyone safe,” noted Mugala.

New St. James has a sunrise service scheduled from 7 a.m. until 8 a.m. followed by a regular service from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m.

Robinson added, “We keep services short to stay in accordance with social distancing during the pandemic.”

More online services

The coronavirus pandemic has forced churches to adapt. It’s been a challenge for churches during the pandemic, but they’ve persevered.

They are using more online platforms via social media platforms like Facebook Live, YouTube and Zoom as well as taking online donations via Cash App and Push Pay.

“I think we are still adjusting, including our church. We’ve had challenges but we’ve done quite well. People can go online, enjoy and partake in our service,” expressed Mugala.

“What is so amazing is that we are reaching more people than ever due to technology. Everyone is online; we are reaching those outside of our membership.”

Remembering those lost

Robinson noted, “We have had members who have had the virus. It wasn’t from attending services. We’ve even had members who have lost their lives.’’

“The pandemic has made us think of how to do things. I think it will lead to shorter and smaller in person services for the future. There’s nothing more important than people’s lives.”

Good Friday service

Master’s Domain Church of God in Christ will host citywide Good Friday service sat the church, 511 Freemont Ave., Daytona Beach. The Friday services will be at noon and 6:30 p.m.

The event will include area churches.

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