Last year, many Easter services were canceled or moved online due to COVID-19. Now that vaccines are available, churches are hoping to have a more normal celebration this year.
Easter, a major day of celebration for Christians worldwide, is about more than candy and Easter eggs.
”That’s the day that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He rose from the dead,” explained Rev. Hallie Tolbert, pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Killeen.
When COVID-19 first hit, the state shut down in an effort to slow the spread. Governor Greg Abbott allowed churches to remain open, but many decided to close or change their in-person services, including Easter Sunday services.
”We shut down only one week, we didn’t have service. The rest of the time, we had service but we didn’t have that many. We had like six, sever, eight, nine people,” said Rev. Tolbert.
The lack of attendance was largely due to the fear of COVID-19 exposure. This year, Easter celebrations at Westside Baptist are going forward as normal as possible.
”Starting with Saturday, we’re going to have a great Easter egg hunt, where we open it up to all the kids in our community. They can come in for fun, games, prizes, and of course the great Easter egg hunt,” explained Bobby R. Jones, Sr., assistant pastor at Westside Baptist.
Church officials hope progress in the pandemic will increase in-person attendance at Westside Baptist and other churches.
”I think this Easter weekend would be a great opportunity to attend a service, and not just here at Westside, but other churches in the community,” said Jones.
Westside Baptist iwill be holding three Easter Sunday services, beginning with a sunrise service at 6 a.m. Everyone is encouraged to wear a mask and social distance.
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