SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. - Despite previous plans by a Valley-based church to hold in-person services to commemorate Easter, church officials have changed their minds.
According to a statement posted to LifePoint Church's Facebook page, the church originally intended to develop a plan to come together, within the guidelines set up by the government, to "help ease the pain in the hearts of our neighbors by meeting to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ."
The church originally have plans to hold an in-person Easter service, outside of the church, and hundreds of churchgoers were expected to attend, while keeping their distance from each other.
Now, the plans have changed, and the church will only do a livestreamed Easter service.
"Things have gotten to a point that we never intended; we are again feeling the weight of the community but in a different way. The fear surrounding the pandemic is expected and we have heard the voices of our community," read a portion of the statement. "During this time, the greatest thing we could do for our community is to show them we hear them, and we love them."
In a post made to the church's website on March 16, church officials say they would close the church for two weeks, among other things, Sunday morning services.
Across the country, there have been reports that some churches have defied stay-at-home orders that were issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Central California, the landlord of of a church changed the locks on property so congregants couldn't enter the building for Palm Sunday services. The pastor had said California's shelter-in-place orders violated his freedom to assemble.
In Pennsylvania, a pastor had plans to organize an "outdoor Easter blowout service" in protest of stay-at-home orders.
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