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March 31, 2020
A Virtual Easter: How to Enjoy Easter at Home

A Virtual Easter: How to Enjoy Easter at Home

With the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) saddling our nation, you might be wondering what Easter will be like for you and your loved ones this year. Everything in our lives looks a little different than it did just a few months ago, and Easter will be no exception.

Restrictions from the government such as sheltering in place and no gatherings of more than 10 people has closed the doors to worship services nationwide and may keep families from getting together to celebrate the holiday.

Most churches in America have cancelled in-person services and have instead opted for a live stream option. With President Trump extending social distancing guidelines through the end of April, most churches will be holding Easter Sunday services online.

Technology to the rescue! With the help of your television, smartphone, and computer, you can enjoy all the traditional aspects of Easter – just not in person.

Easter Sunday Virtual Church Services

Depending on your local television stations and network provider, you should be able to locate several channels that broadcast Easter Sunday services. There are also radio stations, local and national, that provide audio of church services if you prefer to listen instead of watch.

Many churches are aware that their sanctuaries will be empty on Easter Sunday and are doing what they can to provide a live stream of their service.

Many churches use Facebook, YouTube, or the Church Online Platform to live stream their services. You can typically visit the church’s website to find out how to access the service.

It’s up to you if you want to watch the service on your smartphone, television, or computer. As you know, Facebook and YouTube are easily accessible on your smartphone or computer as long as you have internet service.

Easter Services on Facebook

To watch your church’s Easter Sunday service live on Facebook, you must have your own Facebook account (it’s free). If you don’t have Facebook, the only information you need to create an account is:

  • Your name
  • Your email or mobile phone number
  • Your gender
  • Your birthdate

Once you have a Facebook account, you will “like” or subscribe to the church’s Facebook page, and you can see any posts or videos they make.

Easter Services on YouTube

Your church may live stream their Easter service on YouTube. If there’s a set time for the service, your church may choose to do a “YouTube Premiere,” which lets everyone experience the service together. The video would start the service time, unlike other YouTube videos, which are always available to watch.

If you want to watch the church service on YouTube, follow these steps:

  • Go to YouTube
  • Type in the name of your church as well as the city/state in the search bar (typing in the city and state of your church will ensure you get the correct result)
  • Click on your church’s channel (you can subscribe if you like, but it’s not necessary)

If your church is live streaming their service through another service, visit their website, which is sure to provide you with instructions or a link to watch. Most churches are prepared to help everyone watch and participate virtually in their Easter service.

Christian Movies Airing Easter Weekend

To help you get in the Easter spirit, many television networks are airing Christian movies. Here’s what you can expect on the TV guide on Easter weekend.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

  • TCM, 8pm EST: The Greatest Story Ever Told
  • National Geographic, 8pm EST: Killing Jesus
  • ABC, 8pm EST: The Ten Commandments

Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020

  • Lifetime, 8pm EST: Heaven Is for Real

While we can’t gather in large groups during Easter, you can still get into the right spirit by watching some of these faith-based movies.

Virtually Connecting With Family or Friends on Easter

Social distancing guidelines have been extended to April 30, which means sitting down to your traditional Easter meal with a table full of family, friends, food, and laughter is probably not going to happen this year.

Most Easter egg hunts have been cancelled as we are instructed to have no more than 10 people in a gathering.

So, what can you do to make this Easter enjoyable anyway?

Once again, technology to the rescue! While you might not be together in person, you can connect through some pretty fantastic technological advances.

FaceTime

FaceTime is a one-on-one video calling app developed by Apple. This is only available on Apple devices.

FaceTime calls require an internet connection and do not count toward your phone plan’s minutes – there’s no additional charge to use it. You can even FaceTime internationally, for free, as long as the call starts from the FaceTime app.

Look for the app on your device or go to settings and scroll down until you see FaceTime. It should be just below Messages. Make sure the toggles for FaceTime and FaceTime Live Photos are on, and you should be good to go.

Skype

Skype is a software that enables you to talk with anyone, anywhere. You can visit on Skype with video or just voice, one-on-one or with a group of people. 

When all parties included in the conversation have Skype downloaded on their computer, the call is entirely free, no matter where in the world you are. 

It does cost to use Skype if you are talking with someone on their mobile number or landline. The fee is typically lower than international calling with costs being less than $10 per month for unlimited calls in the United States and Canada, and just under $20 per month for unlimited calls to many other countries. 

As long as you have Skype on your computer, the whole conversation – including video – is free.

Zoom

While other video calling apps are ideal to use from your smartphone, Zoom is particularly good for video calls from your computer. Zoom, a video conferencing service, offers a free Basic package. With this free service, you can have up to 100 participants in a video call for as long as 40 minutes.

You must have a Zoom account to host a meeting, but the participants don’t need an account. 

The host sends out an invitational link to the meeting, and each participant accepts the connection and logs on through their internet.

The cool thing about Zoom is that anyone can join a meeting using the Zoom mobile apps or desktop applications for Windows and Mac.

This is a perfect way to get the whole family involved. How much fun would it be to watch all the grandkids as they hunt for Easter eggs or carry out any traditions your family has, such as a special prayer.

This is a great tool for one-on-one or group meetings. Everyone will appear on the screen, so you can talk to and see everyone at the same time.

Google Duo

Google Duo is a free video chat service that works on Android and iOS smartphones, tablets, computers, and Smart Displays, making it very user friendly. 

It’s the perfect app to use if your family has a variety of devices, especially iPhone and Android phones.

Unlike FaceTime, both parties must download the app, but this is an easy three-step process: 

  1. Install Duo – this is available on Android phones and tablets. 
  2. Verify your phone number 
  3. Connect your Google Account (optional)

That’s it! You’re set up and ready to connect.

Google Hangouts

The Google Hangouts App is already on Android phones and usually serves as the text messaging app, but you can also access Google Hangouts on your computer.

To start a conversation via Google Hangouts, follow these steps:

  1. On your computer, go to hangouts.google.com or open Hangouts in Gmail. If you have the Hangouts Chrome extension, Hangouts will open in a new window.
  2. Click New conversation at the top.
  3. Enter and select a name or email address.
  4. Type your message. 
  5. Press Enter on your keyboard.

You can get the Chrome extension for Google Hangouts, which allows you to add emojis, photos, and group video calls for free. 

This app is relatively easy to use, especially if you’re already familiar with Google Suite.

Connecting Virtually to Enjoy Easter 

Shelter-at-home orders make it impossible to attend Easter services and enjoy the celebration of the holiday with a large group of family and friends.

While we have been ordered to shelter in place, many people will celebrate Easter by eating together online. This is a great way to enjoy your meal while engaging in conversation and laughter with those you love.

Connecting with your loved ones virtually may be the perfect way to celebrate this Easter season. With the free technology options available, you can participate in live stream Easter services and visit with those you love.

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