ROANOKE, Va. – Easter worship may look different this year due to the pandemic, but with a bright sunny day Sunday, many Roanoke churches moved the celebration outdoors.
Wearing masks and their Sunday best, about 150 people gathered for Easter worship at Elmwood Park.
Though normally this calls for an indoor service, the need to social distance brought them outside.
“It’s part of the Easter story,” Greene Memorial Methodist Church Pastor Joanna Paysour said. “Easter happened outside. The first telling of Easter happened outside. So it’s a perfect setting.”
Ann Swank agrees that this year’s celebration was the best one yet.
But bringing a bit of the past, Swank showed off her 10-year-old Easter bonnet with colorful eggs surrounding a baby chick nestled on top.
“The kids love it,” Swank said. ‘I always get compliments from the children and that’s kind of the fun of it. It’s to bring out the joy of Easter and the beauty of Easter in just a different way.”
The fun did not stop there.
Hiding 25,000 eggs, Parkway Church on the Mountain encouraged children to run wild in a massive Easter egg hunt.
“It means a lot,” one parent said. “Everybody has been inside for so long now that the kids can go out, we can do outside. The kids are having a blast.”
It’s just what Pastor Andy Hardy likes to hear since last year’s egg hunt was canceled.
“We added an extra area this year too,” Hardy said. “To kind of spread it out even more. But I think we have even more people this year than years passed. So I think people are ready to get out.”
Though a pandemic still lingers, Paysour said hope is still in the air.
“I guess that’s the thing of the promise of Easter,” Paysour said. “Even when bad things happen it’s not the last word. There’s still hope.”