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At Easter, churches adapt to changing conditions

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | April 2, 2021 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — Church observances for Easter 2021, like Easter 2020, will have restrictions due to COVID-19, but church congregations have adapted to changing conditions.

Monsignor Robert Siler said it’s a tradition for Catholic worshipers to dip their fingers in holy water as they make the sign of the cross upon entering the sanctuary. That tradition was a casualty of the pandemic. Churches have been forced to adapt, and they have, he said.

“The fonts have been dry for a year,” Siler said.

For Catholics, “we want to do our part to what we call build up the common good,” Siler said.

Churches have been allowed to reopen to in-person worship at 50% capacity. Many churches are taking advantage of innovations born in spring 2020, when they were closed for in-person worship. Churches live­streamed services over social media, and most are still offering that.

Tami Davis, office manager at the Othello Church of the Nazarene, said the church also offers the service over its FM radio station. Services are starting to get back to normal. Children’s church is back, Davis said.

Restore City Church, formerly Sendero Life Church, routinely live­streamed its worship services online prior to the pandemic. Rose Butler of Restore City said the live­stream seems to have helped the church, since it’s been growing even during the pandemic. The church offers three services every Sunday, and attendance has been growing as the church was allowed to expand capacity to 125 people per service, then 200.

“And still we always have people we have to ask, can you come to the next service?” Butler said.

Restore City is bringing in a guest speaker for the Sunday service, and an Easter candy hunt is scheduled for the children after the service.

“We’re not doing eggs because they’re too messy. But we’ll do candy,” Butler said.

Diana Morice of the Moses Lake Presbyterian Church said the church offers an online option for one of its two services. As for the service this weekend, it’s going to be the Resurrection Sunday service, just like any year, she said.

Most churches, Restore City included, are still asking people to wear masks. The Ephrata Foursquare Church is providing masks for people who come in without one, said a church employee who declined to give her name.

Catholic congregations are still being asked to wear masks, Siler said, and some parts of the traditional Easter week Masses are being changed. The tradition, during Good Friday Mass, is for worshipers to kiss the cross if they choose, but not in 2021. Another tradition, during Easter Mass, is for the priest to walk through the crowd and sprinkle holy water, and that tradition will continue.

“We’ll still sprinkle the people with water this Easter,” Siler said.

It’s a sign of hope, he said.