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Coronavirus: Edmonton churches go virtual for Easter weekend services

Click to play video: 'Edmonton churches go virtual for Easter weekend services' Edmonton churches go virtual for Easter weekend services
WATCH ABOVE: After 39 years on Edmonton streets, the annual Good Friday Way of the Cross procession moved indoors and online this year. Chris Chacon has more on the ways Edmonton churches are turning to technology to share their holiday messages amid COVID-19 mass gathering restrictions – Apr 10, 2020

For the past four decades, hundreds of Edmontonians have gathered downtown to join in the Good Friday outdoor Way of the Cross procession, but with COVID-19 restrictions, worshippers are using alternate methods to take part in the holy day.

“Instead, we’ve created a video version that will be on YouTube of this year’s walk,” Jim Gurnett, a member of the event’s organizing committee, said.

While many can access the video online, Gurnett said it is no substitute for the physical gathering and the feeling of belonging that mass creates.

“We’re sorry to miss the sense of community because when [500 or 600] people gather to be together, there is a power with that,” Gurnett said.
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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Pope Francis holds Good Friday service in empty St. Peter’s Square

While that sentiment is felt in many other communities, organizers feel the message must go on. As Easter Sunday approaches, many churches are holding virtual services, including Sacred Heart Catholic Church of the First Peoples.

“We are using the systems of our world — technology, phones, Facebook, YouTube — to copy the message of God’s encouragement and presence with us,” said associate pastor Rev. Mark Blom with Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples.

There is a virtual option this ministry has been using since it had to close its doors due to physical distancing measures.

“I only wish and pray that this does not go for a long time as people really experience financial stress and mental stress, emotional stress and also physical stress,” said Rev. Susai Jesu with Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples.

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