Easter Sunday services mixed in attendance and staging
With church services having to be restricted due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, some congregations in Jamaica had mixed results in seeking to conduct Easter Sunday services this year, as some held worship online while others could not perform online services at all.
The Emmanuel Chapel in Montego Bay, St James, held its Sunday service on the Google Meet platform, with its keynote sermon presented by host pastor, Reverend Marc Mullings, and with up to 64 members in attendance. The church’s praise team was also on hand to do a physical musical session at the church, with three singers and two musicians performing songs such as Above All, How Great is Our God, and We Have Come into His House.
Commenting on the online service’s attendance level afterwards, Mullings said that it was acceptable, given the current circumstances of the pandemic, especially with the added restrictions of limited online accessibility for some of his congregants.
“The level of attendance could always be more, especially in an online setting, but I think we got what could be expected within our context, with all factors considered. The experience was a good one, although the numbers are less than in-person,” Mullings told The Gleaner.
“Before COVID-19, the number of attendees for this service would be more than 100, but since the pandemic started it has been between 30 and 50 members. The numbers today could have been more, but the added factors of devices, Internet connectivity and the user’s knowledge [of online navigation] have to be considered,” Mullings added.
But while Mullings was at least able to hold his Easter service, Reverend Hartley Perrin, the pastor of the Petersfield-based St Peter’s Anglican Church in Westmoreland, lamented about his congregation’s inability to hold in-person Easter Sunday services for the second year in a row since last year’s onset of the pandemic. Perrin noted that there were no facilities in place to hold an online service.
“I do not have the relevant resources for an online service, except to speak only over WhatsApp and YouTube. Two consecutive years of not having our accustomed Easter service and concert has been devastating, as Easter is the highest festival on the churches’ calendar,” said Perrin, who is also the custos of Westmoreland.
“We pray that we will be able to realise herd immunity [to protect against COVID-19] in the shortest order so that normal living will become possible again. Some of us are making the sacrifice so that all of us may be safe in these challenging times, but in the meanwhile, we use the things that are at our disposal to give praise and communicate,” Perrin added.