Only 2% say they will meet as usual April 12
More than half of pastors say they will hold Easter services online, Barna reports, amid a Coronavirus pandemic that has most of the country under a stay-at-home order. Researchers found 45% will livestream a service online, while 13% will record an Easter message to send out to churchgoers.
Other pastors say their church will hold an outdoor service (10%), find another unique way to convene (5%), or meet as usual (2%). Barna found only 5% of church leaders plan to postpone their Easter celebration.
>Related: Scott Foshie of the Illinois Baptist State Association explains how to host a Facebook Watch Party on Easter
Churches ramp up technology during Coronavirus pandemic
Last fall, LifeWay Research found 41% of Protestant pastors didn’t provide any type of video content for their churches. That percentage is way down since mid-March, when most churches went online as churchgoers were asked to stay home to stop the spread of Coronavirus. LifeWay reports only 8% of pastors did not provide any video sermons or worship services in March 2020.
Graham defends ministry amid hospital controversy
Franklin Graham said Samaritan’s Purse will not discriminate against anyone they help at a field hospital set up in New York City’s Central Park. After Graham’s ministry built the hospital to help with an overflow of Coronavirus patients, some city leaders, including Mayor Bill De Blasio, expressed concerns about the organization’s statement of faith, which includes the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Samaritan’s Purse healthcare workers are required to sign the statement, but Graham told Religion News Service, “We provide our services to everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation. We don’t discriminate. Period.”
Pray-ers gather outside hospitals to intercede for workers, patients inside
Across the U.S., Christians are driving to hospitals to pray for healthcare workers and patients affected by Coronavirus. “We know what’s going on and want to help, but there’s only so much you can do,” said one prayer organizer in Louisiana. “This is an opportunity for us. We can all do this.”
Pew Research found 55% of Americans say they have prayed for an end to the spread of Coronavirus.
Museum will return possibly looted antiquities
The Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. will return 11,500 items to the Iraqi and Egyptian governments, Christianity Today reports, because they lack complete documentation, and could have been looted or stolen. Museum chairman Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, said he made early mistakes in acquiring antiquities for the museum, including trusting unscrupulous dealers. The museum also recently found that its 16 fragments of the Dead Sea Scroll are forgeries.
Sources: Barna Research, LifeWay Research, Religion News Service, Christian Post, Pew Research Center, Christianity Today