Busy Easter weekend

April 11, 2009

Local church attendance expected to increase for Christian holiday

(The first photo was featured in colour on the front page with the cutline “Katie Cameron found the inter-church service at the First Baptist Church on Friday in Truro inspiring. The second photo was featured on page 3 with my story, above the headline: ‘C and E’ Christians’ help fill church pews.)

TRURO – Local churches are busier this weekend as Christians celebrate one of the most significant holidays of the year – and it’s all due to the Cs and Es.
“It’s satirically called the C and E Christians – Christmas and Easter,” explained First Baptist Church minister Rev. Andy Crowell. “Sometimes I think it’s dismissed as ‘it’s the only time they care, Christmas and Easter.’ I think that’s being too
dismissive.”
Truro has hosted an inter-church Good Friday service for about half a century. This year’s service was held at First Baptist Church.
“It wasn’t just a Protestant service. It was a Christian service,” said Crowell. “And it brought us together.”
It’s important to have an inter-church service because each denomination finds significant meaning in Easter but has a slightly different approach, said Rev. David Lutes of Brunswick Street United Church and North River United Church.
“When we come together in that sense of unity around this very stressful time, it shows that this is a force within our community.”
Attendance is expected to be higher Sunday for most churches, but it’s best not to speak too soon.
“For us, we just have to wait and see,” said Rev. Joseph Thomas of Immaculate Conception Parish. “We expect a big crowd, as always. (Thursday), we had the evening with the celebration of the washing of the feet and we had a big crowd.”
St. James Presbyterian Church pastor Dr. Brian Ross said he expects a modest increase in attendance on Easter Sunday, but nothing too dramatic.
“A secular culture will find other ways to mark a long weekend. That’s the reality,” he said. “It’s 2009, not 1959.”
Culturally, Christmas is bigger than Easter and attracts more people to the pews, said Crowell.
“But there ain’t no Christmas without Easter.”
There is an emotional attachment to Christmas Eve that is not there on Easter Sunday, Lutes said.
“Is it a childhood memory? Is it the image of the babe? Whatever it is, there’s something on Christmas Eve that is stronger.”
Katie Cameron attended the Good Friday inter-church service at the First Baptist Church in Truro yesterday.
“I thought it was good,” said Cameron, a Truro resident and member of the St. Andrew’s United Church. “I thought it was powerful. It had lots of different messages from different ministers.”
And as for how the bunny fits into the whole picture…
“There’s nothing uniquely Christian about it,” said Crowell, laughing.

FACT BOX

  • Holy Thursday/Maundy Thursday – Honours the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles.
  • Good Friday – Honours the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Golgotha.
  • Holy Saturday – Honours the day Jesus Christ’s body lay in the tomb. Last day of Holy Week.
  • Easter Sunday – Honours the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

(Published in the April 11, 2009 issue of the Truo Daily News.)

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