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Posted: April 22, 2011 12:00 a.m.

Gearing Up For The Resurrection

By Tharon Giddens/

Good Friday: South Carolina artist Kristofer Neely depicts Jesus on the way to his way to the crucifixion, and his resurrection, as part of the Stations of The Cross art exhibit now open at Oxford College.

If there is a Sunday when churches can expect a larger than normal turnout, it is Easter.

 

While churches take varying approaches to how they handle the sacred holiday, one thing they agree on is that attendance surges on Easter weekend.

"The Easter crowd is always a bigger crowd than we normally have," said the Rev. Billy Wade of Covington First Presbyterian Church.

Many churches rearrange service times to accommodate the influx of worshipers for Easter.

Eastridge Community Church added a 6 p.m. Saturday service in anticipation of 1,500 to 1,600 worshipers this weekend, according to Pastor Trey Bailey.

Solid Rock Baptist Church added an 8:45 a.m. service on Sunday and is using its usual 10 a.m. Sunday school time slot for an Easter egg hunt, according to Robin West.
There's a sunrise service at 7 a.m. at First United Methodist Church on Easter, and a Tenebrae (Latin for ‘shadows' or ‘darkness') service on Good Friday evening, according to the Rev. Gail Thompson.

St. Augustine Catholic church will have an Easter vigil on Saturday where they baptize, confirm, welcome new members, and have "First Communion."

With larger crowds come more vehicles, so churches have to plan accordingly.

"We began several weeks before Easter encouraging our members to park on our ball field further away from the church, said Pastor Tim Bolen of Covington Christian Church. "This will allow our visitors the convenience of parking closer to the building."

Eastridge will open an extra parking lot and added an extra hospitality team to cope with the influx, according to Pastor Bailey.

Surprisingly, while many churches add services to accommodate the crowds, many retain their standard worship experience.

"We will have special music, a baptism, and people joining the church on Easter Sunday," said Pastor Wade, "but other than that it will be a normal service."
The Church at Covington plays host to a large Easter egg hunt on Saturday, but keeps its Easter service in its standard format.

"There was a time when we did special productions, but we want everyone who comes to get a sense of what the church family is like from week-to-week," said the church pastor, David Payne.

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