Local church leaders say it’s been challenging to hold services remotely, and Easter Sunday is no exception.

But they also believe that their parishioners are re-evaluating what is most important in their lives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s a stronger congregation that’s growing,” said the Rev. Ed Saxman, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, Grove City.

The last service held at the church before the virus shut things was March 15, and the adjustment has been quite a learning curve for everyone.

Saxman records weekly services, and the videos are posted on the church’s website and Facebook page each Sunday.

“It’s important for people to continue to gather,” he said of families coming together in their homes.

A recorded Easter service will be available online Sunday at 7 and 10 a.m.

Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ can still be done without church members being together physically.

“There wasn’t anybody at the first Easter, either,” Saxman said.

He feels blessed to be able to continue connecting with parishioners, making phone calls every week to check on families and sharing emails and more vidoes.

One gentleman had been unable to attend services because of health issues, and he and his wife enjoy worship together at home.

Video meetings are held for church groups, and those without internet access receive printed copies of sermons, Saxman said.

Tower Presbyterian Church in Grove City has been conducting its weekly services the same way as Grace United.

The Rev. Dan Hall, pastor, records the services, which are accompanied by lyrics, scriptures and prayers – rather than a video of him giving a reading.

“We’re trying to be creative in engaging people with prayer,” he said.

The videos can be viewed online every Sunday, and the Easter service will be posted at 10 a.m.

The church also uses Zoom video conferencing and Facebook Live for group discussions, and there’s a call system for members to check on each other.

It’s been going well, and he realizes that the parishioners miss being together, but Hall sees this as an opportunity for people to reconnect with their loved ones.

“It puts the focus back on relationships,” he said.

Hall encourages everyone to check on their neighbors, and find out how they can help others during this trying time.

He hopes that when the restrictions are lifted, people will act with more compassion and have a greater sense of who they are.

He invites anyone to view the Easter Sunday service, which will examine the wonder of the resurrection.

“It’s going to be a theme of hope,” he said.

Other local churches are hosting virtual Easter Sunday services. Details can be found on social media or the church website. Some of those services include:

• Noon mass with the Church of the Beloved Disciple in Pine Township, which is also holding an abbreviated Easter vigil at 5:30 p.m. today.

• Center Church in Pine Township.

• 9:30 a.m. livestream service with Grove City Alliance Church.

• 9:30 a.m. service with Fellowship Community Church, Grove City.

• 9 a.m. service with East Main Presbyterian Church, Grove City.

• 10:30 a.m. teleconference worship with Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Grove City.

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