SUNRISE SERVICE: A photo from the Great Passion Play of a past service.

UPDATE: The Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs will not hold Easter weekend events, the play and a sunrise Easter service

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It announced on Facebook:

At the request of the State of Arkansas, we will NOT be performing the Great Passion Play on Easter weekend and will NOT be hosting an outdoor sunrise service at the Christ of the Ozarks.

We at the Passion Play are praying the Lord will intervene in this crisis and help us in His way for His glory.

We do plan on performing the Passion Play. The date of our 2020 season opening is yet to be determined

 

We wrote earlier today, when the organization’s website indicated the events were scheduled (both now are listed as canceled due to coronavirus):

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The Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs has sent a notice that it will have performances Good Friday and the next day, April 10-11, and hold its traditional Easter sunrise service at the Christ of the Ozarks statue.

It promises to observe “social distancing” on account of the coronavirus.

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Is this a good idea?

The Arkansas Health Department notes:

On March 15, 2020, in response to the emerging threat of COVID-19, the CDC released guidance for large events and mass gatherings, as they can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 via travelers who attend events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. The CDC, in accordance with its guidance for Mass Gatherings or Large Events, recommended that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States. The CDC recommends that events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing.

Donald Trump will welcome this news. He said yesterday he anticipated churches would throw open their doors Easter to full pews as a sign of a return to full economic activity in the U.S. Doctors and scientists think his optimism unwarranted.

Among those saying rough times still lie ahead is Arkansas Surgeon General Gregory Bledsoe, a bone-deep Republican. Read below, taking particular note of this one in a thread likening the rising virus tide to a coming tsunami:

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Abide by the quarantine restrictions. Minimize contact. Encourage one another and look after each other. Pay attention. The wave is coming. Get off the beach.

One other note from the religion community: The Arkansas Family Council has announced it is canceling its annual Pastors Day at the Capitol. Said an announcement:

We want to ensure that we do our part to win the fight against this outbreak, so we are following the guidelines of Governor Asa Hutchinson, State Health Director Dr. Nathaniel Smith, and Surgeon General Dr. Bledsoe.