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Easter Sunday services held virtually as congregations practice social distancing

HOUSTON – Easter Sunday is a day for worshiping and spending time with family and friends.

However, this year the celebration was limited because of stay at home orders put in place to combat the coronavirus. Most churches were empty, but the congregations streamed the service online or local TV.

"Jesus has risen from the dead," said Bishop George Sheltz of the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

The power of faith is helping many to look past the current circumstances.

"We have a reason to celebrate, a reason to be grateful and enjoy services today," said Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church.

Lakewood Church even bringing in special guests Tyler Perry and Mariah Carey.

Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo, Houston Fire Department Chief Sam Peña, and Mayor Sylvester Turner also joined the worship during this holy period.

"I want to thank the first responders, our police officers and firefighters, our health care workers and the workers that are out there on the front lines," said Turner.

The Holy Ghost Catholic Church offered its congregation drive-thru services.

"When they come, they will receive blessed water," said Pastor Bill Buecag.

Others, like the Glorious Ways Church, decided today was too important. The church is openly defying Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo's orders.

The church’s attorney, Jared Woodfill, said he was filing a lawsuit in District Court, arguing the county’s order is unconstitutional. The church contends that the government doesn’t have the authority to make churches close.