The title of this article is not original with me. But when I saw the phrase a few days ago, it resonated with me. As the COVD-19 virus quarantine continues and increased cases are diagnosed, it is easy to become fearful for ourselves, our families and others we know. As we sanitize, watch the news, talk to family and friends, worry about lost income, sanitize and watch the news some more, it is easy to become discouraged and to lose hope. As Easter Sunday approaches, the reality has set in that people everywhere will be staying home this weekend. No traditional Easter egg hunts, no traditional Easter dinners around Grandma’s table and no traditional Holy Week services. Easter is the most important holiday on the church calendar; when believers gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ — the reason for their hope. Thankfully through the beauty of technology, nearly every church in Oceana County has been able to share some sort of direct link on their websites for weekly services. Whether you are Catholic, Reformed, Methodist, Wesleyan, Baptist, Lutheran, Congregational or non-denominational; there are more than 30 churches in Oceana County inviting you to “attend” one of their online services on this historical Easter weekend. Online searches or specific websites will provide more complete information. Just remember as this article title states, “Hope Is Not Canceled”. Below is a sampling of services available online this week and in the weeks to come.
St. Joseph’s Catholic in Weare and St. Vincent’s Catholic Church in Pentwater is inviting parishioners to watch Sunday Mass live from St. Andrew’s Cathedral at 10 a.m. on FOX 17. The weekly bulletin and other church notices can be viewed at www.StJosephWeare.org Parish Secretary Karen Alvesteffer said, “This has been a Lenten Season like we have never known. It is so difficult to not go to church physically, especially as we are coming up on Holy Week and Easter. We have been praying for everyone affected by this virus and for the doctors and scientists searching for a cure or vaccine.”
St. Gregory — Our Lady of Fatima Parish is live streaming masses from the Rectory, daily and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. Their web address is www.stgregoryathart.org Both churches remain open for personal prayer during regular office hours.
Hart Wesleyan Church is hosting services live online on the Hart Wesleyan Church Facebook book page every Sunday at 10 a.m., with the recorded version available for viewing later. Pastor Steve Gray said, “We are also planning a live Good Friday service online at 6 p.m. Please visit our church website www.HartWesleyanChurch.org.” Gray also shared, “The Bible teaches in 1 Peter 1:7 that trials like this can be a time of refining fire that purifies and strengthens our faith like gold. We will come through this and will be all the stronger and richer for it, especially as we rediscover what is truly golden: faith, family, and community.”
First Baptist Church of Hart will celebrate Good Friday with a recorded service, including worship music, a time of reflection, a Good Friday message in a first person narrative by Pastor Mark and the celebration of Holy Communion together. The church will have a livestream premier of a special Easter Service this Sunday at 10 a.m. Visit the Facebook page or gofbchart.org to access. According to Music Pastor David Moul, “Sunday’s service will feature a praise team with lots of music, a special Easter sermon and a video clip of families wishing one another a Happy Easter. The goal is to have it feel as much like a typical FBC Easter morning as possible. In the following weeks, we will continue posting pre-recorded messages and resources for worshipping at home. People are invited to follow our Facebook page and tune into impromptu live worship, hosted by Pastor Dave & his wife Krista.
New Era Reformed Church services will be posted on the New Era Reformed Church YouTube channel. Links will be available on the church website, www.newerareformedchurch.org as well as their Facebook page. Pastor Rick Essenburg shared, “We are praying daily at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. for the sick, for the world and for an end to this pandemic. We have re-lit Christmas lights to tell the world we are praying. Psalm 56 leads us in this prayer, ‘When I am afraid, I will trust in you!’ We are praying for you Oceana County! God is good and we will get through this together!”
West Golden Wesleyan will have an Outdoor Drive In Service Easter Sunday at 11 a.m. All are welcome. Pastor Sue Beckman said, “Gatherers may roll down their windows or tune in on their radios. While remaining in our cars, we will join our hearts together in worship — Proclaiming that Because He Lives, We Can Face All Our Tomorrows! I will bring a short message entitled ‘A Love Behind and Beyond’ and we will join in prayer for one another, our community, and nation.”
Rothbury Community Church can be found at www.rothburycommunitychurch.com and streams weekly messages, along with online music.
Trinity Lutheran Church in New Era will host online worship on YouTube Easter Sunday morning. The church is also offering a Bible study on the lectionary at two different times on Zoom: Trinity Haven takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesdays and TLC Coffee & Conversation takes place Thursdays at 10 a.m. More info can be found on the church’s website www.tlcnewera.org and on its Facebook page: Trinity New Era @tlcnewera.