Some Arizona Churches' Sunday Services Go Online, Drive-Through

Published: Sunday, April 5, 2020 - 6:05am
Updated: Sunday, April 5, 2020 - 9:18am

Religious organizations are being forced to adapt to social distancing guidelines. As Easter approaches, many Arizona churches are streaming their services on social media sites.

Pastor Brian Jobe says his churches in Chandler and Casa Grande will stream full services — with music — on Facebook Live and YouTube. It's not ideal, he says, but holding church in the home isn't unprecedented.

"We will be doing church at home, church online. Even though the early church met in big gatherings, they also met in homes," he said. "We’re certainly doing that in a great way right now during this time."

Easter,  the most important celebration on the Christian calendar, is next week. Services at Jobe's churches will continue online, Jobe says.

This week, most Christians observe Palm Sunday, which marks Jesus' return to Jerusalem days before his eventual crucifixion. Observers traditionally wave palm branches which are blessed with holy water.

This year, though, Catholics will need to adjust their plans, says Greg Schlarb with the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. They'll have to source their own palm branches, and get their holy water through a drive-up station.

"We're asking people if they have palm trees, to cut some palm fronds down," he said. "We’re going to get some times which they can drive through our campus and pick up a holy water bottle, and they’ll be able to bless their palms at home."

Schlarb says he welcomes digital and social media as a new means of worship. By allowing people to remain connected, the Catholic community can support its members, he says.

"If this had happened 25 years ago, we'd have no way of really being effectively communicating with our parishioners," he said. "Thank goodness for the development of the internet and social media that we're able to take advantage of that for our parishioners."

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