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‘Easter is going to be the highlight of the year’

This time last year, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the nation, closing a number of churches’ doors. This year, with loosened restrictions and vaccine being distributed, many will not only have virtual services but also limited capacity indoor services and even Easter egg hunts.

First United Methodist Church, New Covenant United Church of Christ, Northway Community Church will have multiple options for services, just to name a few.

“We are excited,” said Mitch Marsello, director of worship at First United Methodist Church.

Services are available for the whole family to celebrate during two traditional services with the organ, brass and Hallelujah chorus at 9 and 11 a.m. in addition to a brand new outside, contemporary service with a band at Brandon Park. Activity bags will be available for children at the outdoor service.

All three services will be similar and safety guidelines such as social distancing and the recommendation for mask wearing are also present for both the indoor and outdoor services.

Services are also pre-recorded and will be put on the website for online worship.

“It’s exciting to start moving back towards interacting in safe ways,” Marsello added.

New Covenant United Church of Christ will have open for in person indoor and outdoor services with masking and social distancing as well according to Pastor Brad Walmer.

The church will be holding an outdoor service with communion in the backyard at 9 a.m. to be followed by an indoor service at 10:45 a.m. which can also be viewed on Facebook, YouTube and Zoom.

They are also delivering palms for adults to have during Palm Sunday services as well as Easter baskets for the children.

Antioch Baptist Church also plans on having an Easter service that is online and in-person according to Pastor Sam Washington.

They have taken all of the precautions recommended by the state Department of Health and Center for Disease Control, by screening church members as they are coming in, masking, having a strong air flow system and moving pews to ensure distancing.

“We are keeping everything traditional (for Easter Sunday),” he said.

Services are a pre-recorded full production, as if members were physically sitting in the pews, and can be viewed at any time on the church’s Facebook page.

“It is for the protection of society,” he said. “We have been blessed so far.”

Northway Community Church among other local churches are not only holding services but are also having COVID-safe Easter egg hunts.

“We have a great team of folks making this happen,” said Pastor Bryce Grieco. “Everyone has been inside for a year, with spring coming and people coming back outside, this is a great way to show the community that the church is open and welcome to the community to partner and celebrate with us.”

The Easter egg hunt will be Saturday, March 27 at 11 a.m. and will have three different age groups with plenty of eggs to find, some prizes and larger gift baskets to win.

They will be having in person and Facebook Live services for Easter at 8:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

“Northway is a growing faith family that is really seeing a wide range of people,” Grieco added. “It is an exciting and growing place to be and Easter is going to be the highlight of the year.”

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