CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - This Easter, pandemic precautions are still top of mind for churches across the Lowcountry.
This time last year, faith groups had to close their doors for the holiday weekend. But today, many are back open but indefinitely changed by the pandemic.
“There’s an energy that is just felt by being together and being in the same space and that was certainly missed last year,” Grace City Church pastor Will Krause said. “It’s such a special day for us as believers that to be in person feels right.”
But with masks, inside and outside services and even online followings, the holiday looks different than years’ past with many faith groups getting creative to keep people safe.
“We have a segment of the room that’s set aside just for people that want to wear masks and it’s roped off,” New Day Church co-pastor Stephanie Jones said.
Seacoast Church creative director Jack Hoey said they also asked people to RSVP for in-person services, but also set aside seats for walk-ins as well.
“That is a way for us to make sure that we can anticipate who’s going to come, to see whether we have needed to add a service,” Hoey said. “We’re concerned about being good stewards of the health and safety of the communities that we’re in and that means that we can’t just think about ourselves we have to think about how what we do impacts communities at large.”
Church leaders across the Lowcountry say the pandemic has left a lasting impact on how they reach people, especially using online tools like livestreams to get in touch with those who aren’t comfortable in person.
“We’re not actually a live stream type of church but it is forced us to become one, the pandemic, and I think that’s helped us be able to broadcast our message,” Kraus said.
New Day Church co-pastor Scott Jones said online worship is something that will stay with the church long after the pandemic ends.
“Because now there are people that are, that’s just how they connect with us,” Jones said.