Even though President Trump hoped to have the country re-opened on Easter weekend, Americans celebrated the holiday from their homes. Some states even put restrictions on religious gathers to try to discourage large gatherings.
West Tennesseans have adapted religious gatherings to the CDC's guidelines for social distancing. University of Tennessee at Martin senior Jonathan Kirkland says the church he attends, First Baptist Church in Martin, has been live-streaming services every Sunday for a few weeks.
Because of the coronavirus crisis, Kirkland said, Christians have been talking about Easter for weeks. "People realized, 'oh, Easter's coming up. I wonder if that's going to be affected.'" While Easter is normally only a three-day conversation, Kirkland said congregations put weeks of effort into the holiday this year.
This week, Kirkland's pastor sent a recipe for unleavened bread so that families could participate in communion during the livestream. "It was a strange way of doing it without being in a room full of a bunch of people, but it was still really good."
Kirkland said that, since Easter is normally an all-day celebration with a lot of people, he took the day off to spend with his family and to talk to friends via FaceTime.
Even though he spent Easter away from friends and extended family, the sense of community was still present. "It was really amazing how everyone - friends, family and church members - just connected with each other."
Kirkland has enjoyed his online experience with church. He said that when he was watching a Facebook Live video of church, he got to interact in the comments with a friend from East Tennessee who had tuned in.
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