Families and churches in Campbell County are preparing to celebrate Easter with events and services from now until Sunday.
“Easter is the (premier) event of the year,” said Father Joe Campbell, Priest at Our Lady of Perpetual Hope Catholic Church.
During Easter, Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“Without the resurrection, we would have no church,” Campbell said.
Salvation is possible because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, he said.
“Everybody likes to think Christmas is the biggest even of the season,” Campbell said. “Easter is always the biggest celebration of the year.”
Many churches have planned special services this week.
“This is called Holy week for us,” Campbell said. Holy Week began March 24, Palm Sunday.
Tonight, there will be Maundy Thursday services at several area churches.
“It’s a service of worship around the last supper,” said Dr. Steve Martin, interim pastor at LaFollette United Methodist Church. “Around Jesus’ last night. We’ll celebrate a Holy Communion around that.”
The communion service at LUMC is 7 p.m.
“We do a very unique service on Thursday,” Campbell said. “The Mass of the Lord’s supper. That includes a foot washing from John’s gospel.”
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Many churches, including LUMC, will also celebrate Good Friday because Jesus was crucified on a Friday.
“It’s not really a formal service; it’s a time of (reflection),” Martin said.
The church will be open from noon to 2 p.m., Martin said. The purpose is for people to stop for prayer and reflection during their lunch breaks. They will be able to think about what Jesus did on the cross.
The Catholic Church will also have a Good Friday Service at 3 p.m.
“We (will) read the Passion narrative,” Campbell said. “It includes the part of the Bible that talks about Jesus dying on the cross.”
On Saturday evening, the Catholic Church will have an Easter vigil service that will begin at sunset, which will be at 7:56 p.m., Campbell said.
“Vigil just means ‘anticipating,’” Campbell said.
The Easter vigil is observed every year in anticipation of Easter Sunday
“It’s very unique,” Campbell said.
The service will include a candlelight procession into the church, a baptism and two confirmations and a Mass.
Baptisms and confirmations are usually part of the yearly vigil service, Campbell said.
Crossroads Church youth group will have an Easter play at 7 p.m.
Many churches will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday.
“It’s probably the highest attended service we will have all year,” Martin said.
There will be a sunrise service at LUMC at 7:30 a.m.
“The reason we do it at sunrise is because scripture says the women gathered at the tomb at sunrise,” Martin said.
Because they lived in Jerusalem, the women observed Hebrew laws, which didn’t allow them to work on the Sabbath, Martin said. Jesus died on a Friday evening, and Sunday morning was the first opportunity they had to prepare his body afterward.
“You couldn’t work on the Sabbath (Saturday),” Martin said.
However, they discovered Jesus had raised from the dead, Martin said.
“They came to the tomb and the stone was rolled away,” he said.
The sunrise service is to commemorate the resurrection, Martin said.
“The strong-hearted come out for an early morning service to reenact that,” Martin said.
LUMC will still have its regular worship service at 10:45 a.m. Martin invites people who don’t attend church to come to the service.
“The community is welcome,” Martin said. “It’s a wonderful time to come and hear the essence of what the Christian faith is all about, so we’d really love it for the whole community to come and join us.”
Wilkes invites people from the community to come to LaFollette Church of God Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
“Everybody and anyone is more than welcome if they don’t have a home church,” Wilkes said.
During the service, Wilkes plans to preach, using a Power Point presentation to help illustrate his sermon.
“I’m going to be sharing the death, burial and resurrection (of Jesus),” Wilkes said. “We will be serving communion as well.”
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church will have a “Mass of the Resurrection” Sunday at 9:30 a.m., Campbell said.
While churches will celebrate the season with religious services, many people will additionally enjoy egg hunts and candy.
“We celebrate with the Easter bunny and chocolate bunnies,” Amanda Partin wrote on Facebook. “We also dye eggs and have egg hunts finished off by an Easter dinner.”