Father Satish Joseph directs his crew before livestreaming a service on Good Friday afternoon. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Coronavirus: Churches find different ways to celebrate Easter services

The Be Hope Church-Beavercreek Campus and others have found a way to conduct Easter services in light of the COVID-19 crisis. At the Be Hope Sunday service, worshippers will get an old-fashioned drive-in movie experience.

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Be Hope Church-Beavercreek Campus, 1850 N. Fairfield Road, is hosting at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. Easter drive-in services will be complete with the big movie screen. The church did get approval from the Ohio Department of Health, Beavercreek Planning Department, Beavercreek Police Department and the city manager.

Campus Pastor, Sheila Slone, says the church has been streaming online just like everybody else has, but for Easter and with the coronavirus crisis causing so much concern, it would be great to have people that are familiar with coming to church on Easter, actually be able to that.

“We are doing a drive-in. We have a big screen coming and we will stream our service on the big-screen,” Slone told the Dayton Daily News, adding that the strict guidelines in place for social distancing will be adhered to. “People will come into our parking lot and we have signs that say, ‘welcome, stay-in-your-car please.’”

Be Hope used to be the Beavercreek Church of the Nazarene, but last year changed the name because the church is opening up campuses in different places around the area.

“We have a campus in Fairborn, there is a campus that is launching in Ironton but that opening has been slowed by the COVID-19 situation and we have a couple of other places that will open campuses too,” Slone said. “So, we needed a name that would translate to different places the Beavercreek campus is our original and then there will be different Be Hope campuses in different locations.”

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The church is viewing Easter Sunday as a way to connect with people, while also following the social distancing rules that are in place.

“We are very much encouraging everybody to come and stay in their car,” Slone said. “They can drive-in and watch on the big screen and they can wave at other people in their cars, but stay in their places. You can still wear your Easter outfits or maybe just your Easter pajamas.”

The church is reserving 100 spots for each of its four services in order to offer a bird’s eye view of the big screen.

“We think that will offer the best view for those attending,” Slone said. “We will have room for more, but if we have more we will have plenty of overflow parking and they can watch on their phones or devices as well.”

Lead Pastor, Kevin Jack, along with a scaled down worship team, will practice social distancing as the service is projected on the big screen.

Slone says the idea is to make everybody as safe as possible and conveying the message that “Easter is certainly not cancelled.

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The idea of going online with services not only on Easter, but during the week for prayer meeting and other services is something that has caught on and makes sense to people like Magdelaina Kirsch, who attends the South Dayton Presbyterian Church in Centerville.

“Our church is doing their usual special services, including a Good Friday Service,” she said. “In preparation for that, they are asking the children to draw pictures of Calvary that will be shared throughout the broadcasted service.”

Sue Jones, from Dayton, also agrees that it is a good time to use technology to worship, while keeping people safe.

“Everybody seems to be doing the services online and that’s a good thing,” she said, adding that it should be frowned upon to pack people physically into a place of worhship and risk their health.

Several area churches are going to have Easter services online, and the following is a partial list of those that are doing so.

Pennyroyal Baptist in Springboro, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Fairborn, Mosaic Church - Better Together in Beavercreek, Citygate Church in West Chester, Central Chapel AME in Yellow Springs, First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Xenia, SouthBrook Christian Church in Miamisburg, Fairmont Presbyterian Church in Kettering, the Zion Baptist Church in Xenia, Medway Church in New Carlisle, First Baptist Church in Yellow Springs, Providence Bible Fellowship in West Chester,Grace Point Fellowship in Franklin and the Hamilton Christian Center in Hamilton.

The traditional Easter Sunrise Service at Carillon Historical Park will be released on video at 6:30 a.m. Easter morning on Carillon Historical Park’s Facebook page, Dayton History’s website and YouTube channel and it can be heard on WHIO Radio AM 1290.

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