Nfld. & Labrador

Church bells ring Sunday to spread hope, thank front-line workers during pandemic

Bells rang out from churches around the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland at 11 a.m. Sunday for those celebrating at home or working on the front lines.

Online church services gaining a following, bishop says

The Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in St. John's rang its bells Sunday morning for Easter. (CBC)

As church bells rang out from the Anglican Cathedral in downtown St. John's Sunday to celebrate Easter, the pews inside sat empty.

With public gatherings of five people or more being banned in this province during the COVID-19 pandemic, Geoff Peddle, bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, and four others streamed the service to the masses online instead.

"This particular Easter, I thought it was a way of proclaiming that Christ has risen to the wider community, of letting people know that there is a reason to be hopeful in the midst of this time of stillness," said Peddle. 

He also wanted to ring the bells to thank essential and front-line workers.

"It's also a shoutout to all those wonderful people out there, who are still working and taking care of the rest of us, and are very much front line right now during this pandemic," he said.

Peddle asked other Anglican churches in the diocese to ring their bells or chimes at 11 a.m. Sunday as well.

Clergy heading online

While the faithful worshipped at home this Easter Sunday, Peddle said the church had to adapt quickly over the past few weeks, and many clergy purchased cameras and microphones to bring reflections and services directly into people's homes.

"Some of us were pretty savvy with the live streaming, and most of us were not nearly that good," said Peddle. "And I was certainly one of those."

 Still, the bishop said the online church services are gaining a following.

"We're drawing tens of thousands of views on what we're offering online. An incredible amount of people are connecting with us in that way," said the bishop. Online services are allowing them to connect with new people, he added.

"I think most people are pretty grateful for what we're endeavouring to do," he said.

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