By: Matthew Johnson, Connectional Ministries and Communications Assistant
For the church, Easter has always been a time of celebrating new beginnings. The hope of a risen Savior combined with the renewal and rebirth brought on by the blossoming of spring provides optimism for better days ahead for many believers. This year is significant, as it is the first time in two years churches can congregate for Easter service without the dread of a worldwide pandemic. Pastors throughout the connection are excited to welcome members back to celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Rev. Joe May.
The theme for Anderson United Methodist Church in Jackson for the last few weeks has been “Welcome Back.” Anderson’s senior pastor, Rev. Joe May, and his staff are broadcasting that theme to all their members that they have not seen since the pandemic began. Rev. May wants to see their smiling faces once again filling the hallways, pews and choir stand. After two years, the church is returning to normal Holy Week Observances hosting the carrying of the cross, Bible study and an Easter egg hunt.
“The most exciting part is the body of Christ coming together to celebrate the resurrection of our risen Savior,” said May. “Our goal is to get heads out of bed so that we can all come together to worship as one.”
Anderson UMC is still taking precautions, such as asking attendees to wear masks, according to May the church is looking forward to a great turnout Easter Sunday welcoming back brothers and sisters in Christ.
Rev. Amy Roller pastor at Oak Grove United Methodist Church, in Hattiesburg, is excited to see her congregation gather again for worship.
Rev. Amy Roller.
“Being able to regather as the body of Christ in person brings freedom, hope, and renewal as a community,” said Roller. “Regathering means restored relationships, forgiveness, and hope for the future in ministry together.”
Oak Grove UMC has removed their pandemic protocols and their outreach team has been contacting members and encouraging them to return to church. Rev. Roller looks forward to the energy of the returning congregants, and the Baptism of a baby this Easter.
“I look forward to the energy that is in the room when more people are present,” said Roller. “I am especially excited about getting to baptize a baby this Easter, without the pandemic worry. I look forward to the reminder of new life among us.”
The optimism of new life is a main tenet of the Easter celebration. Easter 2022 serves as a reminder of Christ’s victory as members returning to a post-pandemic church celebrate the freedom Christ gave from sickness, sin and death. Members will also have a chance to restore their connection with their brothers and sisters in Christ and once again worship in unison the risen Savior.
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