‘This is such a moment of hope’: Church leaders find ways to safely gather for Easter service during COVID-19

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – For the second year in a row, churches adjusted Easter celebrations amidst the COVID 19 pandemic. Some chose to do solely virtual services, others offered limited space and a couple chose to enjoy the sunshine and this holiday by holding service outside.

Grace Fellowship Church used its lawns for services on Easter Sunday. The church held a sunrise devotional behind the church at 6:45 a.m. Sunday and two full services out front at 9:15 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

Pastor Titus O’Bryant of Grace Fellowship Church said it was important to include as many people in the congregation as possible after a tough year.

“This is such a moment of hope, where we really do see a light at the end of tunnel and light coming out of darkness, and so we can keep going just a little bit further,” O’Bryant said.

Even with masks and social distancing, many were thrilled to have the chance to worship in person on the holy day.

“We didn’t get to do Easter last year, we didn’t get to do Christmas this past year, so this is a really exciting way for our church to get together,” Kelly Holland, Worship Arts & Hospitality Coordinator at Grace Fellowship Church, said.

For worshippers at St. Thomas Episcopal in Elizabethton, this was the first time they attended service in-person at the church since March of 2020. It held service on the lawn as well and offered curbside service during Communion.

“We’re between ebulance and ecstasy and tears and just tremendous Thanksgiving of the beauty at hand, the hope at hand,” Father Timothy Holder of St. Thomas Episcopal said.

Both churches also streamed their Easter services for those who weren’t able to or aren’t comfortable yet attending service in-person.

Grace Fellowship is also offering their services on-demand for anyone who could not watch live. You can find it at www.gfcnow.com.

Both churches wanted to make it truly a family affair, with experiences and even gifts for little ones to enjoy.

“We get to come together and celebrate this occasion today, just means a whole lot to everybody,” Jacob Bouvier, Young Adults Pastor Grace Fellowship Church said.

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