BEMIDJI -- First Lutheran Church in Bemidji joined other churches across Minnesota in ringing its bells on Easter Sunday as a source of encouragement and support during these extraordinary times.

"As our community shelters in place to help stop the spread of coronavirus, we join with other people across the world who are creatively finding ways to reach out to their neighbors to reduce their sense of isolation and aloneness," a release sent from the church last week said. "The familiar sound of bells, which have traditionally called people together on Sunday mornings, may now be a way to connect us with one another on a daily basis."

The bells rang at noon and people were invited to "pause and take a breath in the midst of an anxious time or to simply stop and remember or pray for those who are especially vulnerable right now. It’s one more way we can remain connected as a community," the release said.