Easter is Online for Reading Churches

For the first time in memory, the church buildings of Reading will not be bursting with people this Easter Sunday. The spread of the COVID-19 has radically changed how church leaders are ministering to their communities this year. All Reading churches will be live streaming Easter Services on Sunday morning and several are live streaming Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services as well. The links to those services are below.

The Church of Good Shepherd

Local churches have adapted to the “new” normal in other various ways as well. Reverend Brian Raiche of The Church of Good Shepherd shared that members have been using Zoom technology to have virtual “coffee hours” after live-streamed services to stay in contact.

Unitarian Universal Church of Reading

Reverend Hank Peirce told the Reading Post that the Unitarian Universal Church of Reading has been able to offer a meditation class on Tuesday mornings and three times a week has had a storytime (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) at 1:00 pm, where a children’s story is read to the youngest members. Each is done live on the church’s Facebook page.

First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church has been live-streaming weekly hymn sings with worship Director Kellie Tropeano each Wednesday night at 6:30 pm on the church’s Facebook page since the shutdown. There have been online prayer meetings on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week and Children’s Ministry Director Jessica Binns has been reading children’s Bible stories online as well. Small groups have been meeting virtually using Zoom and other technologies.

First Congregational Church

Reverend Amelia Attridge spoke of creating a “Holy Week To Go” packet for reflections each day with scripture, poetry, and coloring sheets designed by the artist Ricard Levins Morales, who designed prints about how wildlife can teach people how to live during a pandemic. There’s a “Church To Go” packet available as well. Individuals can download these through the First Congregational Church of Reading’s e-newsletter or request a mailed copy from the church office.

Old South United Methodist Church

At Old South United Methodist Church, Reverend Jaimie Michaels shared that the Maundy Thursday live-streamed service is a dinner service remembering Jesus’ last meal with his disciples. The service is designed to be streamed at the dinner table and will be a 30-minute, kid-friendly and interactive service. Friday’s service will be quieter and more prayerful.

St Athanasius and St Agnes parishes

Father Steve Rock, of Reading’s Catholic community, reports that for the past few weeks parishioners have been doing more online gathering using Zoom, Go to Meetings, Facebook, and many other platforms. Many are praying with each other, doing Bible study, or just sharing concerns. Rock shared that a great thing that is happening is that a number of parishioners from both parishes have been calling all parishioners just to say, “Hello” and ask if there is anything that they need.

“For Christians, Easter isn’t about chocolate bunnies and jellybeans but it’s a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ after his death on the Cross. It’s why Christians are a people of hope. In spite of the tragedies of life, we believe that God not only walks with us but triumphs over all the evil in the works.” Father Rock stated.

Reverend Michaels continued, “Easter is so important this year. Good Friday and Holy Saturday are all about grief, loss, and death – something we all know lots about right now! They are about sitting in the unknown and wondering what life will be like on the other side of a life-changing event. We are living that right now. Easter reminds us that there is more out there than this. A world full of hope, joy, and life is out there, and we get to build it.”

“Our doors are closed; our church is open.” Reverend Raiche concluded.

Online Services in Reading:

Church of the Good Shepherd – GoodShepherdReading.org

Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading – uureading.org

Old South United Methodist Church – OldSouthUMC.org

First Congregational Church of Reading United Church of Christ – churchofreading.org

Reading Catholic Churches – readingcatholic.org

  • Maundy Thursday – 7:00pm
  • Good Friday – 7:00pm
  • Easter Sunday – 9:00am

First Baptist Church – fbcreading.org

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