Following a massive spike in COVID-19 cases in B.C., churches across Greater Victoria had to take their Easter Sunday services outside.
Newly introduced rules by province meant services were required to be held outside and only 50 people were allowed to attend. Furthermore, information for tracing had to be collected, and only religious leaders and performers were allowed to sing.
“It is the most pivotal time of year we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and to gather together to do this, it’s just a real blessing,” said Brian Lemke of Oaklands Bible Chapel on Sunday.
Last year, Easter services were put on hold as the pandemic was still in its early stages. Now, a year later, many members say watching online services just isn’t the same.
“This whole idea we can exist apart, and separated and through a screen, I mean that can happen, it’s great we can livestream out,” said Dan Anderson, Oaklands Bible Chapel Senior Pastor. “But that’s no replacement for personal contact. Our belief is that we need each other in this world.”
“I mean technology has been such a blessing for us,” adds Scott Campbell, founding pastor at New Life Community Fellowship. “But it does not replace being together, in person. Church is not a spectator sport.”
Unfortunately, some felt that the rules didn’t matter or apply to them — a church service was held indoors at the Polish Veterans Association in Vancouver.
However, even those following the rules say things are getting tough.
“There some people that think everybody should be wearing hazmat suits 24/7, there is other people that don’t care about anything,” said Anderson. “Both ends of the extreme, we are just to just say, why don’t we let everybody make their own choices. People are adults, people are responsible.”
“I am concerned just how long it’s prolonging the situation,” added Campbell. “Because I think it’s taking its toll, and I think there is lots of COVID fatigue going on.
But as numbers continue to spike it seems church outdoors is here to stay.