Local churches plan Easter services online

April 10, 2020
By Marcy Shortuse

BY OLIVIA CAMERON – A majority of our island churches have plans for Holy Weekend services, albeit online, while the 30-day stay at home request stretches on.

St. Andrews Episcopal church has gotten used to creating pre-recorded videos from multiple locations in Boca Grande. Reverend Michelle Robertshaw enjoys filming from familiar spots around town.

“Just giving different outdoor reminders creates images of a happy place,” she said.

Robertshaw also coordinated a Palm Sunday golf cart parade as a way to get parishioners out of house in a safe way.

“It was so nice to give people something to mark on their calendars,” said Robertshaw. “The parade video also gave the rest of the congregation a chance to see friends and more people than they’ve been around the past few weeks. I miss having the participatory energy, the warm engagement, the smiles and the in-person connection.”

A Good Friday service will be available on their YouTube channel, just search for “St. Andrews Episcopal Boca Grande.” The church also plans to stitch together a video with familiar faces, and post it for Easter. Pre-recorded services are easy to access, no matter what time zone you’re in, either through the church’s Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Pastor Matthew Williams at the Boca Grade Lighthouse United Methodist Church has continued to live-stream his services. The church already has a good online following.

“I miss shaking their hands and laughing together. I miss our gatherings, laughing together, and even the pancake breakfast,” Williams said.

It’s worked out better than we thought” said Pastor Williams regarding their online option. The church’s Holy Week began with Holy Thursday service, followed by Good Friday Stations of the Cross at 12 p.m., and Easter Sunday service at 10:30 a.m.

“We’re glad to still be able to connect with our church family through technology and are looking forward to bringing the congregation together again,” Williams said.

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church began Holy Week with a Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, to be followed by Good Friday Liturgy of the Cross at 3 p.m., the Holy Saturday Solemn Easter Vigil at 8 p.m., and Easter Sunday Mass at 10 a.m. Holy Week services are to be celebrated on their Facebook page, Our Lady of Mercy, in Boca Grande.

Confessions on Saturday, April 11, will be held. Visitors are asked to wait in cars or golf carts before approaching the courtyard where Father Carosella will be in attendance from 11 a.m. until noon.

Local churches will continue to operate digitally until given the “go-ahead” by authorities to return to normal congregation.