Coronavirus forces Christians to find new ways to celebrate Easter

Church services find ways to celebrate Easter
Church services find ways to celebrate Easter... 01:59

On this Good Friday, Pope Francis presided over a much smaller than usual "Way of the Cross" procession at St. Peter's Square. For many of the world's two billion Christians, the coronavirus is upending Easter traditions — and while many are finding creative new ways to celebrate, a few are pushing back. 

In Fort Worth, Texas, the doors of the Fountains Fellowship Church are closed. Pastor Don Womble said he plans to deliver his sermon from the parking lot on Easter Sunday. 

VATICAN-RELIGION-POPE-HEALTH-VIRUS-GOOD FRIDAY-WAY OF THE CROSS
Pope Francis presides over Good Friday's Way of the Cross at St. Peter's Square in The Vatican on April 10, 2020. VINCENZO PINTO/Getty

But restrictions on religious gatherings have become a political storm in Kansas. The Republican legislature there overturned the Democratic governor's order limiting services to fewer than 10 people. She's now fighting them in court. 

"We do not have time to play political games during a pandemic," Governor Laura Kelly said. 

Of the 43 states that have issued stay-at-home orders across the nation, at least 18 consider places of worship or traveling to or from places of worship to be essential. 

One church in Georgia has vowed to defy stay-at-home-orders, joining a handful of others that will be open for Easter. In some states, defiance has led to mugshots of arrested pastors. 

Still, most churches around the country are celebrating online — or holding mass, minus the parishioners. 

"We miss you very much," said Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York. "But we make the best of this." 

Womble said he shares that sentiment. 

"God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and of a sound mind," he said.  

  • Mireya Villarreal

    Mireya Villarreal is a CBS News correspondent.