HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Easter Sunday is only five days away and this year, celebrations will look much different than last year.
In 2020, Easter was at the beginning of the pandemic and most church doors were forced to be shut. But now, COVID-19 restrictions are loosening and church families are coming back together.
As First Baptist Church Senior Pastor Travis Collins says, Easter is always an exciting time for Christians, but this year it seems to carry even more than usual.
“We used to live in Nigeria and we lived one year in a really remote place and there was — during the dry season when water was really rare,” said Collins. “Every time we’d see a little cloud on the horizon, we’d run and we’d get buckets and every container we could. We’d put them outside literally to catch the rainwater. This Easter feels a little like ‘Go Get the Buckets Day.'”
That hope is being felt throughout churches this Easter. “I think this year may take on, for a lot of people, a more profound hopeful meaning, even than it has before,” Collins added.
2020 packed a punch and separated church families during one of the biggest Christian holidays. One year later, many churches are beginning to reunite, now that COVID-19 restrictions are loosening.
“We have a victory over a grave, and that’s what we’re most excited about… but we’re also most excited about the encouragement you get from being with other people in worship,” said Mitchell Williams, Trinity United Methodist Church Senior Pastor.
Williams says people are meant to be in community, but of course, safely.
First Baptist and Trinity United Methodist are open for in-person services on Sunday, but not without COVID-19 precautions.
They both have limited capacity to help with social distancing and are requiring mask wearing.
For those feeling uneasy about in-person services, there are other options like virtual services. Some churches are holding Sunrise Services that are completely outdoors. One of the churches holding that service is First United Methodist Church.
“Churches have sunrise services in part because that’s when Jesus rose from the dead,” said Williams. “When the women first came, they came when it was still dark but when the sun rose, the angels said, ‘He is now risen!'”
The Sunrise Service ensures social distancing while still celebrating Easter with a church family.