DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Mary Glennon is one voice in what is normally a chorus. “It was kind of a shot to the heart when we found out we wouldn’t be together on Easter,” said the choir member at Highland Park United Methodist Church.
As parishioners across the church embrace social distancing, they are adapting to their new circumstances.
This week, the choir gathered in small groups, never more than eight at a time, to record music for this Easter Sunday.
Bringing all those voices together, though, for the grand rendition of ‘Hallelujah’ that ends the service will require a little magic.
“It’s 30 different choir members who in their homes recorded themselves on their phones singing the song,” explained Antonii Henderson, a video editor for the church.
He’s weaving those individual cell phone video clips into a virtual choir, attempting to infuse the holiday with a sense of celebration. “It’s actually kind of amazing. Even though we’re not technically together, physically, we can still all be together spiritually.”
In years past, Easter has more than tripled the size of the Sunday crowd. Reverend Paul Rasmussen said, “Every service is beyond packed.”
This year, he’ll be preaching to a congregation he can’t see, watching online. “It’s daunting,” he said. “Like every other church, we had to just shift gears, we had to go wholesale, all in on the live stream.”
What Rasmussen does see happening in the face of new challenges are sparks of creativity. “The level of innovation has been remarkable,” he said.
In a time of uncertainty and loss, Rasmussen believes the message of Easter may prove especially relevant. “I really think it’s an extraordinary opportunity to represent a message of hope that really needs to be heard,” he said.
Glennon will be listening to the service from home. For the first Easter ever, her job is already complete. This time she said, “It’ll be nice to be able to sit back and just watch us perform.”