For Central Coast Christians, Easter 2020 will be like no other, with attendance at places of worship banned during the coronavirus pandemic and churches of all denominations offering, instead, live streams of Easter services.
Links to Anglican, Catholic, Uniting and EV Churches below.
Gosford Anglican Church’s service will be available on its website, anggos.com.au and on facebook.com/anggos, along with a “spiritual but not religious” version, and links to various parts of the service on twitter @FrBower.
Gosford Anglican Church Priest and Archdeacon for Justice Ministries in the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle, Rod Bower, said he had been tempted to cancel the celebration of Easter altogether this year.
“I feel stuck in a perpetual Good Friday of self-denial and imposed isolation,” he said.
“Better, I thought, to postpone the whole thing until churches can be opened again and we can have a great festival of ‘resurrection’.
“Then I read St John’s account of the first Easter Day, which begins: “While it was still dark’.
“No matter what your faith tradition or belief system, it’s difficult to deny that the writer of John’s Gospel is the quantum physicist of storytelling.
“The string theory of light and darkness weaves its way through the entire narrative.
“He hints at this abiding reality in the introduction … ‘The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.’
“I find it interesting that many of the post Easter Day accounts are set in the homes of the disciples.
“It is of course a stylised account of the life of the early Christians who gathered in each other’s homes, often afraid of the many dangers that lurked outside.
“This Easter the ancient story could never be more relevant.
“It will be in our homes that the faithful will welcome the risen Christ, just as his friends did almost two thousand years ago.
“But the message remains a universal one, beyond religious identification.
“It is in the darkest night that the smallest light can be perceived.
“It is a message of hope in the midst of hopelessness.
“We will still celebrate Easter this year, because as humans we are beings who survive on hope.
“We will seek the light, while it is still dark.”
Many of the Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Broken Bay have been live streaming Masses for some time, and will do so over the Easter weekend.
All parishes that are live streaming and their links can be found at https://www.bbcatholic.org.au/places/mass-on-demand
Services will be streamed at 10am on Good Friday (Stations of the Cross) and 3pm (Passion of our Lord); at 7pm on Saturday, April 11 (Easter Vigil); and at 8.30am on Easter Sunday, April 12 (Easter Mass).
The diocese has also created resources for parishioners to use at home, throughout Holy Week and specifically on Easter Sunday, which include suggestions for home worship and even instructions on how to colour eggs and make Paschal candles.
The diocese has also suggested a variety of activities which can be conducted under social isolation guidelines including: organising a video conference with family, or parishioners from your faith family, and each light a candle, take a screen shot and post on social media, call family, friends and parishioners (especially those who live alone) to wish them a Happy Easter; and deliver Easter cards, parish bulletins, Easter eggs, or other Easter items.
EV Church at Erina will livestream services at 9.30am and 6pm on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Go to https://evchurch.info/easter/
Uniting Churches on the Central Coast websites here