Nebraska women among singers in Discipleship Ministries Easter video

David Burke


Brenda Cochran, circled, is among the singers.

Editor's note: This story was updated on April 20.

When Brenda Cochran recorded herself singing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” for an internet project, she didn’t know she’d be part of a global video. 

“I didn’t realize it was a worldwide Methodist group that was doing it,” the Grand Island woman said of the Discipleship Ministries video, released last week. “Initially I thought maybe it was our conference or something. When I realized anyone could do it, it was exciting to be a part of something big.” 

Cochran, as well as her sister, Barb Jones of Springfield, Nebraska, were among the hundreds of singers depicted singing the Easter hymn, written by Charles Wesley in 1739. 

The video was brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing restrictions, which left the singers to record from their homes or churches. 

“For more than 2,000 years, Christians have celebrated Easter together,” the Rev. Junius B. Dotson, General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries, the UMC agency that organized the choir, said in a news release. “While COVID-19 has prevented us from worshipping physically together in our houses of worship, we wanted everyone to still hear this familiar hymn and sing along and experience the risen Christ.” 

Barb Jones is among the virtual choir.

Cochran, who sings in the contemporary praise band at Grand Island Trinity UMC, was tagged on Facebook by her pastor, the Rev. Kelly Karges, on Good Friday when the video was released. 

“It took me four or five times to find it,” she said. “I finally found myself, and it made me feel really good.” 

Cochran, who “grew up singing,” is the mother of a freshman, sixth- and third-grader, as serves as an elementary school librarian, media specialist and tech support in Grand Island schools. 

And she’s thrilled to be part of a historic video. 

“It was kind of humbling and exciting to know that somebody from small-town Nebraska could be part of something that’s a global experience,” she said. 

Susan Whited, an elementary music teacher from Columbus, Nebraska, also was a part of the video. Whited said she made practice recordings for her students via video so accommodating the instructions was easy for her to do.

"Music, especially singing, is very therapeutic for me and I tend to use it as a way to show my feelings," Whited, who sings in the chancel choir and praise team at Columbus First UMC, wrote in an email. "I especially love to sing music about my faith, so this felt natural!   When the opportunity arose to sing with people from all over the world, without even leaving my house, I didn’t overthink it too much!"

Once she saw the finished product, Whited said, she couldn't find herself on screen until the end of the video.

"It was the musical version of 'Where’s Waldo!'" she wrote

Contact David Burke, communications content specialist, at

Related Videos