By: George Thomas
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A dozen churches in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia are putting a unique twist on a traditional Easter message during these challenging times.
Some directed traffic. Others lined up each car just right as members of 12 Virginia churches rolled up with masks on and maintaining strict social distancing guidelines, to send the world an Easter message.
“In the middle of this pandemic there is hope, that there’s strength, and that we will make it through this because He has risen – so will we,” said an emphatic Andre Chambers of Hampton Roads.
On a stretch of road in Chesapeake, Virginia, dozens of cars lined up to spell the words He Is Risen.
“I think with as much desperation and anxiety going on the world at this time, people are looking for hope and it’s a great opportunity for us to get out there and love our neighbors and share the love of Jesus,” said Angela Breitkreutz.
Virginia has more than 4,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. More than 100 people have lost their lives so far in the state. Experts expect those numbers to continue climbing.
“If we as a people will humble ourselves, and the scripture says in 2nd Chronicles 7 verse 14, there is nothing that God cannot do for His people, He loves us,” said Cheryl Butler.
As the emotional and physical toll of the COVID-19 outbreak rises, folks here want their fellow Americans not to lose heart.
“God is with us, that same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is with us in this really terrible time,” said Bethany Coyle.
Bob Fox, a local Hampton Roads area pastor, organized the event to encourage congregations to reach a hurting world during times of uncertainty.
“This is an opportunity for us to go forward, not just to be passive and just sort of wait it out, but to really listen to the Lord, the Lord wants to use this time to take the church to new levels of expressing the gospel,” Fox, associate pastor of Global Outreach Church in Virginia Beach, told CBN News.
And it’s happening. Research shows a huge spike in online searches relating to faith, God and the Bible since the viral outbreak started.
Google searches for “prayer” have surged worldwide.
“The church is rising up in an amazing way and it is just going to show God’s Glory,” Cindy Pellicane, a Virginia Beach resident, told CBN News. “I think churches with all their online presence, and everything that’s going on, it’s just amazing. Talk about a church without any walls, this is the perfect opportunity for the church without walls.”
The founder of the popular YouVersion Bible App tells CBN News that they are seeing an explosion of interest in faith matters.
“We’ve seen big upticks in searches around fear and anxiety, we’ve also seen record levels of people sharing scripture,” Bobby Gruenewald told CBN News.
Pastor Fox says while this event is a symbolic gesture of unity, “It’s also just to get out and take the gospel outside the walls since we can’t get in the walls, we have to take it outside of the walls.”