By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
This Easter season – with traditional services not available – is an important time for believers to connect, Yukon church leaders say.
“To have some sort of normalcy, especially on Easter week, makes a big difference,” said Mark Borseth, pastor of Yukon’s Resurrection Lutheran Church. “Even if it’s not live, to connect and being reminded of where we are in this season.
“The message of Passover and Resurrection is that the plagues of the Passover and the death of Good Friday are not the final Word. There’s life on the other side.”
Last weekend, Resurrection Lutheran at 675 W Vandament welcomed members to come to the portico on the west side of the church to drop off offerings, pick up Palm Sunday branches and take communion.
“The opportunity to connect – even if it was driving through the drive-through – was encouraging for people,” Borseth said.
With congregations of 10 or more people forbidden due to COVID-19, many Yukon-area churches have been showing Sunday morning services through their websites, via Facebook Live and the Zoom video conferencing app.
Although his church has no extra special Easter activities this weekend, Pastor Borseth said communion will be offered over the live stream for people to be blessed at home with their bread and wine (or grape juice). A Zoom prayer meeting will follow the service.
While church leaders would like to meet their followers in person, they are making the best of the situation.
“In many ways, I feel our communication is better because we’ve been more intentional,” Borseth said. “There are some who don’t have access to Facebook or Zoom that are probably more isolated.”
While the current situation is certainly not ideal for churches like Resurrection Lutheran, the pastor sees the positives.
“In general, I believe our day-to-day communication is actually much more intentional and much better,” Borseth said. “We call through our membership list once a week just to see how people are doing and if there’s anything we can pray for. That is something we didn’t do before.”
NEIGHBORHOOD EGG HUNT
Yukon First Church of the Nazarene, 525 E Main, is going ahead with their Easter egg hunt this weekend. It just won’t be on church property.
“We’re calling it ‘Egg-ing the Yards’,” Pastor Gary Reynolds said. “We’ve very carefully prepared candies that are sealed and placed them in plastic eggs. We’ve taken great caution to prepare those cleanly.
“We have members of our children’s ministry staff who will go through the neighborhoods we know our children are and actually throw the eggs into their yards.”
The children will pick up the eggs and bring them in their homes. They’ll be encouraged to wash their hands afterward.
“It’s a new thing,” Reynolds said. “We’re trying to figure out how to do our Easter egg hunt this year. But we don’t want to not have it. This is an important part of our celebration, because we put inside the egg not only candy but usually a scriptural message or some message about the hope of Easter.”
Congregation members stepped up this week to donate candy for the egg hunt.
“We had been low on candy,” Reynolds said. “We’ve been doing a daily email update to all of our congregation. A few days back, I sent an email saying we could use more candy.
“Goodness, gracious. We had an inundation of candies. We had to go out and buy more eggs to have enough for all the candy.”
Yukon First Church of the Nazarene will present a virtual Easter service this Sunday morning through the church website.
The church normally has two Easter services with a brunch but will only have one online service this Sunday.
Services have been online for the past several weeks since members can’t congregate at the church due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“We have been quite amazed,” Pastor Reynolds said. “We know how many people are tuning in, and by estimating how many people would be there, actually our attendance is up. We have families that are gathered, and (members) are contacting other people to let them know we’re having online service so they’ve been tuning in.
“Using this online broadcast has been a nice way to stay in touch and keep worship in front of our folks.”