OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – While local Calvary Baptist Church in Oak Hill, like many others, had to resort to holding their Palm Sunday service outside and in the gloomy weather Sunday morning, churches everywhere are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for these non-traditional kinds of services, and some of them, just in time for Easter.
“We are looking forward to returning back to the sanctuary this Easter,” says Greg Swisher, Pastor of Calvary Baptist. “We’ve been on the parking lot mostly for this past year, but it is thrilling to come back to gather inside the sanctuary. The church is not the building, it is the people, but it is good for the people to be back in the place we set aside to worship Him.”
This return to normalcy for the church, as well as churches across the region, comes right at the anniversary of last year’s transition into doing everything differently during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last year we shut down right at the beginning of COVID as the governor directed and moved our Easter service outside in the parking lot in a trailer because we felt it was important on Easter Sunday to be together,” he says. “So, we were disappointed that we couldn’t be in the sanctuary, but we were thrilled that God provided a way for us to celebrate our risen Lord and Savior.”
So, this return is a refreshing change that churches everywhere are ready to make, despite carrying on with tradition the best they could given the circumstances. But, through it all, the changes that last year brought came as a learning experience for the Calvary Baptist and probably many others.
“We have kept most of our traditions alive. We’ve realized some things were not necessary and some things we modified for the parking lot. But we did distribute palm branches today like we always have, we did preach a traditional service, and we’ve been blessed with our attendance and with people joining the church and coming to know our Lord.”
And so, the changes that 2020 brought also came as a humbling reminder for churches everywhere to be grateful for the customs they have always been able to keep.