Community members are invited to watch a livestream of Fort Lee’s Easter Sunrise Service set for April 12, 7 a.m.
Organized by the Religious Support Office here, the event can be viewed at www.facebook.com/fortleereligiousactivities. There will be no public service for the community to attend.
“Faith, hope and love are what we want to offer the community during the worship service,” emphasized Chaplain (Col.) Terry E. Romine, Fort Lee garrison and CASCOM chaplain, while discussing the intent of this first-time livestream event that is open to all religious denominations. “God is still in charge, and our faith can give us strength in this time of turmoil.”
The threat of the Coronavirus pandemic will be part of the message his team plans to deliver. “It was a dark day at the crucifixion, but a great day at the resurrection,” Romine observed. “It may be dark, but the sun is coming up in the morning.”
In keeping with installation and Commonwealth of Virginia directives, only 10 people will be present at the 30-minute service. Others speaking during the event include Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Jonathan W. Fowler, Romine’s deputy, and Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Timothy Smith, RSO project officer. Additional staff members will provide music and operate cameras. Musicians include a drummer, keyboardist and a guitar player from RSO.
“This will be a challenge for us since it is our first live-streaming attempt at a Sunrise Service,” Romine noted. “We are not video experts. Our plans are not finalized, and we are still in the implementation stages. We will be practicing over the next few weeks and reaching out for help and guidance.”
RSO will do a final recorded rehearsal as a backup in case there are any technical hiccups on Easter Sunday. Over the past few weeks, they have recorded services and other programs and then uploaded them on Sundays with success. Romine said he’s confident the livestream will have a large number of viewers based on the many who have tuned in since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We want the community to know we are here and fully engaged in religious support during this time of need,” Romine said. “The livestream of the Easter Sunrise Service will nurture our faith and give a sense of normalcy amid the chaos.”
The chaplain said he is pleased with the RSO virtual online program results thus far.
“Just counting the numbers that logged into one of our recently recorded Sunday worship services – 180 – we can see that it exceeds in-person attendance at similar services in the chapels. That’s uplifting because it indicates how important faith is to our resiliency.”
Requests for religious programs and activities also are soaring.
“Our Facebook page is on fire with people requesting access to our religious programs, Romine said. “People want to do home Bible studies during this period. We’re giving them free resources – if they log in and provide their email address, they can download Bible stories for adults and kids, and so forth. This is one of the beautiful parts about the current situation. We are connecting with people in different ways than our live-chapel format.”
The senior chaplain indicated that going forward, RSO may find offering online services and programs will be the way to go. “We may never go back 100 percent to our previous offerings of only live programs at the chapels. We may want to find a way to offer online programs on a regular basis.”
He noted this will be the last of three Easter Sunrise Services he has attended here as he plans to retire over the summer.
“I think we will have a full house from a viewing perspective,” Romine projected. “People seem more aware than ever that our God is of mercy and love, and provides us with faith, not fear.”
For additional information on the Easter Sunrise Service and other RSO activities and programs, call 804-734-6494 or visit www.facebook.com/fortleereligiousactivities.