Apr. 7—Easter, a celebration of the risen Jesus, is a reminder to the faithful that there is new life in Christ and the hope of eternal life. Local churches held Easter events this past weekend to encourage that hope.
Beall Chapel Baptist Church, 1861 S. Jackson St. in Jacksonville, hosted a community Easter egg hunt, dividing the yard into separate areas for various age groups. Approximately 1,000 candy-filled eggs awaited participants to find them.
With the pandemic not quite over and the clouds threatening rain, it was uncertain how many children would attend the event.
"The turnout may be low, but in the year pre-pandemic, we had about 100," Pastor Robert Simpson said. "However many we may have, we're going to have fun."
The egg hunt is an annual event that had to be canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
"We're super excited about having it again this year," Simpson said.
The church uses the egg hunt as a means to serve and to inform community members of their presence. Once the egg hunt concluded, church volunteers handed out snacks, juice and goodie bags.
For more information about Beall Chapel Baptist Church, visit beallchapel.com or their Facebook page.
The church can be reached by phone, (903) 586-8415, or by email, email@example.com.
Peoples Church, 14089 US 79 East, opted for an Eggstavaganza Drive-Thru opposed to the annual helicopter egg drop they would normally conduct.
"We just wanted to do our best to still give back but still respect people's health and space, so we're doing the drive through this year," Pastor John Atkinson said.
The kits included an Easter basket, candy-filled eggs, an Easter story/activity page, a coupon for free ice cream at Dairy Queen, bracelets and information about the church's regular services and ministries.
Both of the Jacksonville Dairy Queen locations donated ice cream coupons and baskets were donated by Walmart.
Volunteers included members of the church as well as individuals from Fred Douglass Community Development Corporation.
Kenya Etim, one of the FDCDC volunteers, stated the reason they partnered with other organizations was to help improve the economic status of residents in Jacksonville. She even noted the FDCDC would begin a community garden and kitchen in the Lincoln Park area by the end of the year.
While some volunteers handed out the Easter kits, others were stationed along the driveway to indicate where to go to receive the baskets. They held signs, waved pompoms and greeted people with shouts of "Happy Easter." This group was appropriately called the hype team.
The church also partnered with Super Gallo, where additional Easter kits were handed out to children.
"It is an outreach for the church," Atkinson said, "but really our heart and our goal is that we're serving our community and the families of Jacksonville and the surrounding areas know this church cares about them."