Warnings issued to stay home during Easter; churches offering online services
Religious services and celebrations for Good Friday, Easter and Passover are taking a much different shape for Long Island residents.
Brenda Lentsch has been a member of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Dix Hills for more than 40 years, but like many, she says it has been a challenge to not be able to attend services during the pandemic.
"We have a group chat going with what I call the church ladies, who are former preschool teachers at St. Luke, as I was," says Lentsch. "They keep me busy every day going back and forth with texts and prayers and concern for other people. It's the only way to get through this."
Whether it's wartime, an economic disaster or a health scare, many people turn to religion for guidance and solace. But this time, the crisis has made houses of worship off limits.
For Randy Sheinberg, rabbi at Temple Tikvah in New Hyde Park, Thursday night was change of pace for him too.
"Last night I led a congregational seder through Zoom for close to 100 people, little dots on the screen," says Sheinberg. "But dots that got happier and happier as they saw each other's faces. I think it's also kind of poignant that we're facing this pandemic when it's Easter and Passover. Both of those are holidays that have messages of profound hope."
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That same message of hope has been echoed by other leaders. Lutheran church bishop Derek Lecakes says while people can't go inside houses of worship, now more than ever, they need to practice in public what they've learned.
"In the midst of the grief, in the midst of the anxiety, in the midst of the despair that they're facing as we are having to physically distance from one another, we can still socialize with one another. It just has to be different for a time. That's how we keep each other safe," says Lecakes.