Island churches looking forward to Easter this year

·3 min read
Parishioners are looking forward to being back in the sanctuary for Easter, says Rev. David Campbell. (Rev. David Campbell/Park Royal United Church - image credit)
Parishioners are looking forward to being back in the sanctuary for Easter, says Rev. David Campbell. (Rev. David Campbell/Park Royal United Church - image credit)

Easter celebrations on P.E.I. will be limited by the COVID-19 pandemic, but church leaders say it will be a step up from 2020 when they were mostly cancelled altogether.

"Last year was just myself and my housekeeper," said Father Frank Jay of St. James and St. Mary's Holy Family parishes in Kensington and Summerfield.

Tyler Proude, Montague site pastor with Cornerstone Baptist Church, is also looking forward to welcoming people back into church for Easter.

"With restrictions. It makes it a unique time," said Proude.

"We're able to do what we couldn't do last year. So we're making the best of it. And across our sites at Cornerstone we're doing multiple services to try to get as many people in to be able to celebrate Easter as possible."

Live and live stream

The size of congregations will vary church by church, with some limited to a single cohort of 50 and others large enough to allow multiple cohorts. A year into the pandemic, churches and parishioners have also become accustomed to live streamed services.

"Being able to live stream our services has been a really important part of our ministry. And I know it is for a lot of churches as well. We've got a few folks who run our tech stuff now," said Rev. David Campbell at Park Royal United.

"There are some folks who really would love to be in the sanctuary, but have just chosen for safety reasons to not come out, so that we can reach them via live stream is fantastic."

Adjusting traditions

Apart from limited size of gatherings, there are certain traditions that have also needed to be changed this year.

"[We're] trying to make it a safe but also familiar time for people to be able to, you know, to sing even though we have to wear masks and be distant and things like that. But to have enough of that sense of familiarity and excitement as possible," said Proude.

We haven't been able to have communion for quite a while
— Rev. David Campbell

There will be no procession of the cross at St. James and St. Mary's Holy Family, in order to keep people separated.

"The only person who gets to venerate the cross is me," said Jay.

"The rest of the people can genuflect or bow from their pews. But no kissing of the cross this year."

Communion at Park Royal will also be different, with communion glasses distributed into the pew in advance of the service.

"But we haven't been able to have communion for quite a while. We've only just started to reintroduce it. So I think folks are probably looking forward to having that as well," said Campbell.

The adjustments have made the most important week of the Christian year even busier than normal, but Jay, Campbell and Proude are all happy to be putting in the time to make Easter all that it can be this year.

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