Easter is a major Christian holiday that many families look forward to spending together each year. Unfortunately, Easter 2020 was celebrated differently than in previous years with churches closed. As the country reopens its stores and schools, Christian communities can celebrate Easter in person once again. What will that look like this year? Well, four churches gave us the answers needed to prepare for this year’s Easter Sunday.
Reverend Frank Allen from St. David’s Episcopal Church in Wayne says 2020 has been “the longest season of Lent” as we’ve all had to sacrifice so much for the last year. “Living and Telling the Story of Easter” is the title of his sermon for this year’s Easter Sunday, and it’s all about the hope that God can bring us. Rev. Allen wants to remind us that “God takes away sin,” and that Jesus’ resurrection is a promise that “death isn’t the end.” A promise that resonates strongly with the loved ones of those who have died during this pandemic.
Like the rest of us, many churches found themselves in strange times when COVID-19 hit. Many churches live-streamed their Easter service, along with other services throughout the year. However, as Rev. Allen said humans are “made for community,” which makes every church worldwide eager to hold in-person services this year. “God can operate in different ways” is something St. David’s has learned and witnessed this last year as they work to stay true to their core values of ‘worship, pastoral care, and outreach.'”
Pastor Jason Krail from Delaware Valley Christian Church in Media has a similar message of hope for their community. In his sermon on Sunday, he wants to remind his congregation that the world has been “going through trying times, but God is still the same.” The past year for Delaware Valley Christian Church has shown its members that “fear hurts more than any pandemic.” As Pastor Krial said, it’s important to “always take [COVID-19 precautions] seriously” but to never forget what’s truly important.
True Vine Community Church in Philadelphia will hold its first in-person Easter Sunday since 2019. Led by Rev. James Rudd, the church is excited and cautious about returning. Rev. Rudd’s message this year focuses on the resurrection of Jesus and how the Gospel accounts prove that the “resurrection of Jesus is not a myth.” Rev. Rudd explains that “Christianity gets its power from the resurrection [of Jesus].” This message goes back to that promise that through Jesus, we’ll have eternal life.
Spring has always been a time about reevaluating our priorities and learning from the past. This is especially true this year as we all heal from the loss and sacrifices we’ve had to make during the COVID-19 pandemic. His church, like so many others, believes this pandemic is a lesson, and “whatever God is up to teaching us, we want to get it.” For many, including Rev. Rudd, that lesson was “slow down” and spend “more time with family.”
For Father James Kirk of St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Wilmington, DE, Easter’s message is always “God is our hope.” Even in the midst of “all this craziness,” Father Kirk wants his community to remember that it’s “through Christ that we get our hope.”
Something that St. Mary Magdalen Church learned from the pandemic is the positive impact of digital and electronic communications methods. They now have a full-time communications team that works to serve their church community, but also the greater community as a whole. It’s a lesson most churches are learning as the pandemic goes through its second year.
Each message for this year’s Easter is there can be hope, renewal, and healing from this pandemic through the resurrection of Jesus. Each church ensures their communities safety by following strict social distancing guidelines, masks, and limited capacity.