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Kentucky Churches Adapt Easter Services to Coronavirus Outbreak

Some Kentucky churches are having to think creatively ahead of Easter Sunday, which will be unlike any other due to the coronavirus. 

For most Christians, there will be no sunrise services, new spring dresses, large family meals, or egg hunts.  Instead, families will stay home and many churches will do what they have done for the past month by streaming their services through online platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

Stuart Jones is senior minister of First Christian Church in Elizabethtown, which typically has about 1,000 members who attend its two Sunday morning services.  He said the message will be the same this Easter, despite the unconventional circumstances.

"It’s certainly strange the way we’re doing it. We are doing a live service from the worship center, but there’s nobody in the room," Jones explained." It’s strange to speak to nobody in the room and just trust there’s a lot of people on the other side of that camera who are watching.”

Gov. Andy Beshear has urged churches to shift to virtual services and issued an executive order prohibiting faith-based mass gatherings.

Brandon Porter is the Interim Lead Pastor at Eastwood Baptist Church in Bowling Green.  Aside from the online sermon, Eastwood Baptist is hosting a drive-in service Sunday afternoon at its main campus.  There will be singing, a devotion, and communion all from people’s cars that are parked six feet apart.

"We’re looking to try to abide by what’s been asked by us, but also experience this community and celebrate the resurrection together as normally as we can in a very abnormal time," Porter said.

In one of his daily briefings this week, Beshear said he has identified more than a dozen churches who appear to be defying his order against mass gatherings.  Without going into more detail, Beshear said he’s working with local officials to prevent in-person church gatherings until there’s no longer the threat of spreading COVID-19.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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