Updated April 9, 3:40 pm.
Faith communities around the Island are working on how to celebrate Easter and Passover in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Clergy are getting creative, planning to live stream and record video to make sure those who want to join in services can. The Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center hosts a Virtual Community Seder Thursday, April 9, at 5 pm, although registration for the event ended on Monday. The Hebrew Center’s website includes information about gathering virtually as a congregation for other events.
The Times checked in with churches to see what’s available. For many Christians, Holy Week celebrations began last Sunday, with Palm Sunday and some are celebrating Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.
The First Congregational Church in West Tisbury offers a Tenebrae service on Thursday, April 9, at 7:30 pm. The Rev. Cathlin Baker writes, “We are offering a sunrise service on Easter Sunday at 6 am. Both are live, by Zoom. All links are on our website wtcongregationalchurch.org. Our denomination has put together a prerecorded Easter service. We are planning to invite our congregation to view that together. Still working out the details.”
Father Michael Nagle at Good Shepherd Parish gives us directions on how to access live streaming celebrations.
“All services are on live stream at goodshepherdmv.com. This takes you to our web page, which shows the three churches and under each picture is an icon of a camera. Click on the icon and it takes you to the live stream,” he wrote in an email.
At St. Augustine’s, Father Edivar DaSilva will celebrate Holy Thursday in Portuguese at 5 pm, Good Friday at 7 pm, and Easter Sunday at 11 am.
Father Nagle will be live streaming from St. Elizabeth’s on Holy Thursday at 7 pm, Good Friday at 3 pm, and Easter Sunday at 9 am.
Daily Mass at 8 am is live streamed from St. Elizabeth’s until April 16, then from April 17 forward it will be from St. Augustine’s.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown is recording services and posting them on YouTube. “We are working to keep our church’s worship life as ‘normal’ as possible during these times, so at St. Andrew’s Church, we’re recording our services in the church, and putting them up on YouTube for all the world to see,” Father Chip Seadale, the church’s pastor, wrote in an email. “We invite everyone to be with us as children of God this Easter Sunday (and every Sunday thereafter to May 24), anytime beginning at 8 am (the videos will remain up indefinitely), and during this Holy Week, on Maundy Thursday (beginning at 7 pm), and the following day, Good Friday, beginning at noon, on our YouTube Channel St Andrew’s—Edgartown, Mass. Hallelujah!”
The Rev. Ernest Belisle, pastor of the Chilmark Community Church, said that worship will be available online through Zoom on Easter Sunday at 9 am. Just visit the church’s website for the directions on how to join.
Grace Espiscopal Church in Vineyard Haven will stream the Diocese of Massachusetts’ services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday through their website, graceepiscopalmv.org and through the diocese’s webpage at diomass.org/videos-holy-week-2020.
The Rev. Stephen Harding wrote that on Easter Sunday, the church offers its own online service, as well as streaming the diocesan service from St. Paul’s Cathedral in Boston. You can also watch daily brief, thoughtful messages from Rev. Harding on the church’s website.
Vineyard Assembly of God has a YouTube channel where you can watch streaming services during the coronavirus pandemic. The Rev. Matthew Splittgerber wrote that his sermon, “Christ, the Power of God,” can be found on YouTube at 10:30 am Easter morning.
Pastor Leo Christian from the Community Baptist Church of Aquinnah and First Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven is conducting a virtual service Easter Sunday at 10 am via Zoom. Anyone interested in attending this service (and subsequent Sunday services, should the current situation continue) should text their email address to 508-221-4231 and the link to the service will be forwarded to them Sunday morning. “We would love to welcome you to our worship service,” the Rev. Christian wrote.
The Federated Church is planning “a beautiful service featuring organ, piano, cello, and choir in a Maundy Thursday podcast,” writes the church’s pastor, the Rev. Richard DenUyl Jr. He explained that members of the congregation recorded the readings at home and emailed them.
“The choir music was recorded during their European tour,” he wrote. “Everyone is invited to gather in their living rooms, light a candle, and experience the passion narrative like never before.” They will also offer an Easter Sunday podcast on the church’s website.
The Times will update this post as we receive more information.