In person or online? Denver churches vary on Easter Sunday plans

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DENVER (KDVR) — At Pearl Church, south of Denver, Tasha Garza’s team has been hard at work preparing for Sunday.

The church plans to hold an in-person Easter service, having held a virtual one last year.

“I think there’s something to be said for being together in person,” Garza said. “So I definitely missed being able to celebrate Easter with my church family. I can’t wait until tomorrow.”

In recent months, the church has been experimenting with hybrid services, while continuing to allow people to attend virtually if they are more comfortable doing so.

“I know a few families who are going to be coming back for the very first time,” she said. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

Garza said everyone will be required to wear a mask and he will enforce social distancing.

“We want to do our part to make sure people who come here always feel safe,” Garza said.

Across town, at the Highlands United Methodist Church, the Easter service will once again be held online.

“We want to be together, but we want to be together safely,” Reverend Brad Laurvick said.

With a smaller sanctuary and limited outdoor space, Laurvick said he felt more responsible for staying in line.

“I would rather someone say I wish we could be in person, than someone look at us and say, why are we here at a funeral? Because we couldn’t take a few more weeks,” he said.

The good news? Laurvick says they’ve made great strides over the past year, when they only had one camera to stream online services.

“We’ve moved to a place now where we’re talking about multiple camera angles, shooting on location, pre-editing, building things together, because if it’s going to be virtual, it’s got to be engaging,” a- he declared.

Laurvick said they even hid Easter eggs throughout the sermon, to keep the kids engaged.

“Our recording quality is better this year, our audio quality is better this year, our creativity, because we’ve had more time and more experience,” Laurvick said.

Whether in person or online, both churches said they hope Easter will mark a turning point for our communities as vaccinations begin to become more widely available.

“While we’ve made progress over the past year, we still want to make sure we maintain a safe and healthy environment for everyone who enters our building,” Garza said.

“Easter is a new life, after a time of challenges and big changes. And I don’t think it’s more suited for me, and for many people I’ve spoken with, than right now” , Laurvick said.

Alicia R. Rucker