United Church of Christ

Devotional Subject: Holy Week

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, and because of it, new insights broke forth from old stories during Holy Week and Easter Sunday in many UCC congregations as pastors and their people – unable to meet in person – made virtual contact over the Internet.

In the New York City borough of Queens, Safe Haven United Church of Christ has three Mothers of the Church: one in her 70s, one in her 80s and one who turned 95 on Easter weekend. All of them took part in Safe Haven’s Easter service via the webinar platform Zoom, which replicated, as much as possible, the joy of in-person worship -- in a city that had recorded 7,349 COVID-19 deaths by the end of that Sunday.

A small communion table with abolitionist roots, dwarfed by the gothic sanctuary around it, was front and center for a Maundy Thursday service streamed online from First Congregational UCC, Columbus, Ohio, during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

"People have been very vulnerable in those Friday check-in times," said the pastor of Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, St. Louis, describing a weekly session the church has been offering via the webinar platform Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The day before Easter, in the St. Louis suburb of St. Charles, Mo., a table stood six feet in front of the parking lot door of St. John UCC. Servers in masks and gloves stepped forward, set out cold takeout meals one at a time, and stepped back. Neighbors came forward one at a time to take meals away.

Simple and powerful, a national United Church of Christ Maundy Thursday service online April 9 featured the faces and voices of young ministers, each somewhere near the age Jesus of Nazareth would have been at the end of his life.