INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Some churches are celebrating Easter in-person for the first time since the pandemic. News 8 was reporting on virtual and drive-in services as Indiana was under a lockdown this time in 2020.
Several pastors in Marion County tell News 8’s Aleah Hordges they’re happy to welcome church-goers in their sanctuary on one of the biggest days of the year.
Pastor of Charity Baptist Church Leo Mejia said there was a drive-in Easter service in 2020. He added there has been limited attendance from elders at higher risk since that time. Charity Baptist Church will have one service following an easter egg hunt.
“I really think it’s going to be a great day and I believe that the strong churches will get stronger through all of this. So, we’re excited about what the future will hold with it,” Mejia said. “We have a big job to do as far as wanting everyone to know about the Resurrection. We want to do it right.”
Zion Evangelical Church in Shelby County has held in-person services since last June. Pastor Brian Schultz said it was difficult to experience the full celebration last Easter.
The church is expecting over 100 members to attend Sunday morning with every other pew blocked off for social distancing. Schultz mentioned wearing a mask is not required for guests, however, choir members will wear one to prevent the spread of germs while singing.
“We’ve had no problems with those safety issues, we’re very happy with our safety protocols and we leave the decision on whether or not to attend and how much to attend on the individuals,” Shultz said.
Shultz said the next steps are to safely reopen Sunday school on April 11 and eventually reopen weekly Bible studies.
The Blended Church on the westside said they also have safety measures in place. Worship pastor Jeremy Plumley said he is not sure how many people will attend on Easter Sunday but is looking forward to celebrating the holiday with whoever decides to come.
“Granted, we haven’t done in two years. Granted, we’ve been open, we’ve been anticipating it and excited about it, we’ve been talking about it, but to actually experience it, I’m overjoyed.”
It will be the first time Roberts Park United Methodist Church will open its doors in 55 weeks. Rev Dr. Andrew Scanlan-Holmes Sr. said although the church can seat around 800 people, there will be pews open to sit just 325 people.
He said the church has a task force to make in-person services safe with temperature checks, hand sanitizer and masks for all guests and choir members.
“This is a good weekend. It’s a great weekend for the church to celebrate. We’re calling it the “greatest comeback victory” so we have a little lean towards the NCAA as well being in town reminding ourselves that we can enjoy ourselves being together if we do it safely.”
Reverend Scanlan-Holmes Sr. added services will go back to online after Easter, but will reopen for Mother’s Day on May 9.
Each church mentioned they are expecting a large crowd this Easter. Services will still be lived-streamed on each of their websites.