Millions of people tuned in to Lakewood Church's star-studded Easter Sunday service as the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
ABC13 teamed up with Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church for the special Sunday broadcast.
"There's so much uncertainty and fear and people are worried and I thought, 'How can we step it up a notch?' and just let people know that we're going to get through this," said Osteen when he first introduced the idea.
Lakewood hasn't had a congregation in a few weeks as Osteen has joined the promotion of social distancing. Osteen has continued his ministry through online live videos. The virtual Easter service featured a special message from director Tyler Perry, who has kept in contact with Osteen leading up to the event.
"I feel like this is a moment in our country, in our world, as a reset for all of us to take a minute to realize how much we take for granted," said Perry in a video recorded from his home. "How much just going for a walk with the dog we take for granted. How much being able to hang out with people we take for granted."
Perry continued saying, "In all of this, my prayer and my hope, are with the first responders and everything that they're doing to keep us safe."
The service also featured a virtual performance by Grammy award-winning artist Mariah Carey dedicated to first responders.
"The heroes on the frontline who make our daily lives possible, to them, we are forever grateful," said Carey.
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Mayor Sylvester Turner was joined by Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo and Fire Chief Samuel Pena and led a special prayer over the city.
In the past few weeks, the church has donated surgical masks and gloves to the Houston Police Department and has led prayer groups for law enforcement members. Church leaders have also donated meals to six Houston-area fire stations and will soon be providing meals for families of law enforcement members that are currently in quarantine.
"I believe that God opened the door for all of us to be here, standing at this moment" said Chief Acevedo.
Osteen said he hopes the service provided a sense of unity and clarity.
"This is the time, I think, we all get better together, and somehow we can come out of this stronger," he said. "I think it lets us realize that maybe we're not in so much control, and that we need faith. We need to turn to something bigger than ourselves."