DENVER — A chapel in Denver was nearly empty on Easter Sunday. The holiday typically brings the church some of its biggest crowds. But this year, pastors at Calvary Baptist Church of Denver preached in front of cameras for a virtual service.
"Honestly I did not still think we would be in the pandemic this Easter, for two Easters in a row. That was (a) realization to come to," said Anne Scalfaro, lead pastor of Calvary Baptist Church of Denver.
For the second year in a row, churches across the world had to adapt their Easter celebrations because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Places of worship in Colorado are now allowed to offer in-person services but some are waiting to open their doors again until more members of their congregation get vaccinated.
State leaders announced the first case of COVID-19 in Colorado just a few weeks before Easter in 2020. Quickly churches had to change their traditions in order to worship with their community. Leaders at Calvary Baptist Church of Denver recorded their portions of Easter service at their homes last year.
The Denver church made the decision to wait a little longer before opening its campus to worshippers again. Scalfaro said their members have been resilient and flexible through it all.
"In this season of loving neighbor means staying as safe as possible, not just for our own church members and staff but for the greater Denver community," she said.
On Easter Sunday, only a handful of people were in the chapel to produce a live service broadcasted on Youtube. When the services are taped instead of live-streamed, the church likes to include church members by asking them to record themselves reading scripture or sharing a story for the children.
The church has had a lot of practice posting services online after a full year of doing it. Scalfaro even said attendance to their services online has been larger than their in-person services before the pandemic.
"People are worshiping from all over the country and even a few outside of the United States," she said.
Donations have also continued, even during a year when so many Coloradans have struggled financially.
The church said some members of their congregation have already been vaccinated for COVID-19 and the campus plans to host a vaccine clinic in a few weeks. They are hoping the doors of their church can open again to the public some time this summer.
"That has given so much hope to know light is at the end of the tunnel," she said.
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