There won't be a public gathering in Old Salem for the annual Easter Sunrise Service this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The annual service has been held in Salem since 1772, opening with the declaration that “The Lord is Risen!”

This year's service is still on but will be available only via livestream and broadcast. 

The Salem Congregation's Board of Elders made the decision in the wake of Gov. Roy Cooper's urging that people avoid large crowds, putting that limit at 50 people. Salem's gathering often draws thousands.

"This was a difficult decision and this Easter will be different for us all, but we have faith in a God who brings hope out of fear," Chairman Rev. Chaz Snider said in an announcement of the decision.

The service will be livestreamed from Home Church and include images of God's Acre. It will be live on Easter Sunday at

WSJS will also air the service, a tradition that dates to the early days of the station in the 1930s.

The church's board is also urging worshippers to take a picture of their daybreak and post it on social media with the hashtag #Moraviansunrise 

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here.

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