Churches forced to get creative for Easter services as stay at home order is extended in Minnesota

Like most organizations, the coronavirus pandemic has had a drastic impact on how churches operate.

The extension of the governor's stay-at-home order through May 4 means families with plans to travel or attend services are finding new ways to celebrate Easter.

In Fridley, Passion Church is typically packed on Easter Sunday. That won't be the case this Sunday, but they’re doing all they can to make sure the message of Easter still gets out - and they’re not the only ones.

Services have moved online and so have all their other ministries.

"We have essentially turned one of our campuses into a video shoot location; classrooms that once held kids now hold set designs and lights and cameras," said Passion Church's Kids Ministry Director Rachel Bailey.

Passion Church is making sure their message gets to the masses, especially on Easter.

"On Sunday, we have a whole host of services," explained Bailey. "7, 9, 11, 1 and I think they go into the afternoon as well."

That includes a special treat for their youngest members: 400 Easter kits filled with candy and messages of hope.

"They simply have to drive up and we will bring their kits out to them so no one has to get out of the car, and it’s all safe," added Bailey.

They’re not the only ones getting creative. Shiloh Temple International Ministries Church in Minneapolis handed out drive-up communion kits for Sunday and there are plans for a drive up blessing at the Cathedral of St. Paul on Easter from 2 p.m. until 4.

"It certainly is surreal. Especially at this time of the year, we focus so much on getting people together to pray," said Archbishop Bernard Hebda.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda says parishes have found different ways to connect through phone calls, online and TV services as they keep the Easter message of hope alive.

"For us, certainly in the midst of the coronavirus, we realize our God never abandons us and that he’s always there to offer us his love," said Hebda.
    
The National Council of Churches is also asking people to not only watch their own worship services this Easter weekend, but services at other congregations that are different from their own.