Celebrity megachurch Pastor Joel Osteen is putting together a star-studded virtual Easter Service amid the coronavirus outbreak that will feature performances from Kanye West and Mariah Carey.
According to TMZ, Osteen claims the idea for the service came to him after he was contacted by Mariah, who wanted to put something together to celebrate first responders.
“I had known Mariah from years past and … they actually contacted us because she wanted to show some support and honor to the first responders,” Osteen told TMZ in a video interview aired earlier this morning. “She wanted to share a song and put some video footage of the first responders, just to do her part to bring hope and uplift the nation.”
Osteen called on West, who he’s worked with in the past, and the superstar rapper and producer jumped on board, although he hasn’t given the Pastor any details on what’s in store.
” Kanye’s one of a kind,” Osteen said. “He just talked about wanting to partner with us on Easter and to, again, to bring hope and inspiration to people, especially when people are down and afraid, so I think this is a good time to lift people up.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Osteen also shared that he reached out to Tyler Perry, and he agreed to join as well, calling him “generous with his time and his finances.”
Osteen’s Lakewood Church, based in Houston, Texas, can hold up to roughly 17,000 people, but the Pastor made the executive decision to switch to virtual service in March amid health concerns due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Despite other church leaders remaining adamant about continuing to hold public services on-location, Osteen says he had no qualms about his decision to continue Lakewood Church online.
“I’m probably more, a little more old school – it’s not a lack of faith that we’re not having service, it’s a respect to mankind,” he said. “I know for us it wasn’t right to bring thousands of people here,” the Pastor said.