CROOKSTON CHURCHES PREPARING FOR EASTER SUNDAY SERVICES WITHOUT CONGREGATIONS

Churches throughout Crookston are preparing to offer their Easter Weekend services on-air and online this weekend.  KROX spoke with the leaders of several community churches to share how they are worshipping with their congregations this weekend, how people can give their offerings during Holy Week, and whether they had a message to share with the community. 

OUR SAVIOR’S LUTHERAN CHURCH
Pastor Steve Bohler at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church shared that service will be broadcast on KROX radio and also online at http://www.oursaviorslutheranchurchcrookston.org/.  “Good Friday services probably will available online Friday morning and will be broadcast at 5:30 p.m. on KROX.  Then, Easter Sunday will we have services at 8 a.m. that morning,” said Pastor Steve Bohler.    We asked how people can give their offering to the church while the services are only broadcast online or on the radio. “The offering, people can mail those to the church, or they can drop them off,” said Pastor Bohler.  “The entryway be the school entrance is unlocked 24 hours a day, and there is a lockbox inside there for people drop-off mail or offerings, and that is emptied several times a day.  Or you can go through PayPal by going to the church website, and there is a donate box there as well.”

Pastor Bohler also shared that it’s important that Jesus died and rose to grant eternal life.  “The important thing about Good Friday is that Jesus died for us,” said Pastor Bohler.  “The important thing for Easter is that Jesus rose for us, that he has defeated sin, death, and the devil.  And that in him, we have forgiveness and eternal life.  That is always important, but especially in a time like this when people are facing something pretty scary, to know that Jesus is taking care of all those things for us and that not even death can threaten us as Christians.  We have eternal life because of our Lord Jesus.”

TRINITY LUTHERAN AND FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Pastor Greg Isaacson at Trinity Lutheran Church and First Presbyterian shared that their services will be available on KROX, cable channel 3, and Facebook.  “With this COVID shelter at home, in place, we are emphasizing our broadcast ministry here at Trinity Lutheran,” said Pastor Isaacson.  “We are doing it in collaboration with St. Paul’s Lutheran and First Presbyterian Churches, so we have people participating from those churches as well.  We are planning a Good Friday Service, which will be broadcast at 6:30 p.m. on Good Friday.  Our broadcasts are on KROX 1260AM and 105.7 FM, Crookston cable channel 3, and we are Facebook livestreaming.  People can reach us by going to the Trinity Lutheran Crookston Facebook page.  We are also doing Easter Sunday Service at 9 a.m., which will be a combination of traditional hymns and a few contemporary numbers, but we’re also planning to do communion.  We’re encouraging our members to have those elements of bread and wine or juice available in their homes, and if you tune in, at the appointed time, we’ll have you commune yourselves or your families as we share in the resurrection of our lord on that day.”

Pastor Isaacson also encouraged those who are able, to give during Holy Week. “We also understand that people are going through a stressful time,” said Isaacson.  “But those who are able, we’re encouraging them to give.  You can give by mailing your envelopes in or your donations to P.O. Box 598 in Crookston, MN, 56716.  We also have online giving.  You can go to our Crookston website and click on the links that are available at www.trinitycrookston.org. So, that’s how we are encouraging happy Easter blessings this season, and we hope to hear from you soon.”

BIBLE BAPTIST CHURCH
Pastor Preston Hoiseth at Bible Baptist Church said they have had success broadcasting through Facebook and shared how offerings can be made to the church. “So far, our church is doing very well,” said Pastor Hoiseth.  “Been trying to stay in contact with everybody, however we can.  One thing we have been able to do is we’ve started to livestream our services on our Facebook page.  That has been working out pretty well, and even people that don’t have Facebook accounts are still able to go online and watch it on Facebook.  We have Sunday School Service for the kids at 10:15 a.m. (Sunday), and live Easter worship service at 11 a.m. on Facebook.  We did start to provide an online giving service through our website.  That goes through www.tithe.ly. It’s a secure website that allows online giving.  We have a lot of people that also are just mailing in their tithes and offerings.”

Pastor Hoiseth said one of the messages he will share this weekend is how the Gospel doesn’t change even during times where life is changing rapidly.  “I’m sure thankful, and one of the things I’m going to be speaking on this Sunday is I’m thankful how the message of the Gospel doesn’t change,” said Hoiseth.  “Everything is so in upheaval right now.  Our lives are being changed everywhere we turn.  But what’s wonderful is the Word of God, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, those are things that are solid.  They are unchanging, and they give us hope in a time when we certainly, desperately need it.”

ST. PAUL’S LUTHERAN CHURCH
Pastor Loren Mellum from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church said they would partner for services with Trinity Lutheran Church and First Presbyterian for Easter. “St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is in a joint partnership with First Presbyterian and Trinity, so we’re worshipping Easter Sunday at 9 a.m. over KROX, Cable Channel 3, and Trinity Lutheran Church’s livestream,” said Pastor Mellum.  “And then, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church’s website has additional resources for Easter and for connecting as a congregation, and for pastoral messages. So, people are connecting in a variety of ways, and we’re grateful for the partnership between our three congregations that is reaching out to the community too.  As far as giving goes, the main thing I’d like to say is thanks be to God for the people of God.  Our offerings have been strong and have been coming in through online giving resources and the mail.  People have been very faithful in looking to their church for strength and to their community for hope.  We’re taking things day-by-day and week-to-week like everyone, and I’ve noticed a lot of people touching base by phone calls too.  It’s a congregation that’s closely knit together as God’s people, and so, people are reaching out in personal ways during this Holy Week and Easter as well.”

Pastor Mellum also shared that he is thankful to the congregations of not only St. Paul’s Lutheran Church but all those in the Crookston area who have come together during this hard time just like they did for hardships in the past. “I would invite people to be held by God’s grace and the hope that we have in Jesus Christ,” said Pastor Mellum.  “And to also remember together our faith in who God is as we know it in the Bible is more than a memory, it’s real right now.  So, as we do remember Christ’s death and resurrection, we need to understand that right now, God is bringing us through this hard time, and there is a collective hope and strength that we find in each other.  I know St. Paul’s Lutheran Church was established in 1896, and it is rooted in the Crookston area, like so many other congregations and the people of God in the area.  As I reflect on that, there are so many things that the church has continued to tell the story of God through.  World War I, the flu of 1917-1918, The Great Depression, World War II, and we can go on, and on, through time, through ups and downs of recessions and conflicts and all kinds of things.  But one thing has stayed very much the same, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  I think the people of the area completely know this and know how to lean on each other and look to God for strength.  Today is a call to love our neighbor, and that is what we do.  We’re just doing it differently now by physical distancing and praying fervently for those who are working most closely in the areas of health care, public health, and essential services that keep our world turning and moving forward.  We have a great community, and I’m very thankful for all the congregations and every neighborhood and the surrounding area.”

WESLEY UNITED METHODIST

Wesley United Methodist in Crookston and Erskine and Fosston United Methodist, together with Bemidji United Methodist, pastors Michelle Miller and Rob Kopp, will have a recorded Easter worship posted on YouTube 7 a.m. Sunday, April 12. Visit the Wesley United Methodist Church Facebook page for the link, or find us on the Wesley church YouTube Channel here.  

Pastors Michelle and Rob said they are sheltering at home in Crookston and together live-streaming and recording services for our congregations from there, a rich experience as they model staying at home at this time. 

Pastors Michelle and Rob also shared this message, “In this Holy Week, we have been experiencing life, death, and new life every day, and even in the midst of heaviness, we can see the miracle of the persistence of connection with God and with one another. We are grateful for the Crookston community and all our good neighbors, and the hope that faith brings.   Bless you, all, in this time of life, death, and resurrection.”

KROX also reached out to the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception.  The story will be updated with the Cathedral’s information once we hear back from them.