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San Diego churches prepare for Easter Sunday for second time amid pandemic

South Bay Pentecostal Church
Posted at 4:12 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 20:47:22-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego churches are preparing for a second Easter Sunday under pandemic restrictions, which means some will be worshiping from home while others will be attending in person services.

Mount Helix holds the title for the second longest-running Easter service in the United States, according to Executive Director of the Mt. Helix Park Foundation Krista Powers.

Powers said the sunrise service attracts more than 2,000 people each year.

RELATED: Easter service goes virtual to keep 100-year-old tradition alive

This year San Diego is in the red tier, which means churches are allowed to hold worship outdoors, and indoors at 25% capacity with safety precautions like wearing a mask and social distancing in place. Last year we were under a complete lock down, except for essential services.

Powers said the board thought it would be unfair to hold in person service for a limited group, so they decided to keep Easter service virtual for the second year in a row.

"We really wanted to do something that would allow everyone to see it if they wanted to," Powers said.

Across town, South Bay Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista is excited to have the congregation back indoors, after winning in the supreme court last February.

"This is going to be one of the greatest Easter services in the history of the church no doubt, because so many people have been kept from their church for so long," senior pastor Bishop Arthur Hodges said.

Hodges is back in court fighting for churches to have less restrictions in the red tier, but saying they're not demanding an exception under the first amendment.

"We're really not asking for that, honestly we're asking for equality, we're asking for equity," he said, citing other businesses like clothing stores are open at 50% capacity.

According to the state's website, restaurants only allow 25% capacity indoors.

Hodges said they will be following all CDC guidelines Sunday. When asked how many would attend Sunday service, Hodges responded he hopes all who wish to attend will do so.

He said they added services to accommodate for additional interest during the holy week.

Catholics at Corpus Christi Church in Bonita will also be following safety guidelines as they attend in person service.

Father Efrain Bautista said this year we all have a deeper understanding of Easter.

"Easter is that light. The scriptures say to us early in the morning, as the sun was coming up as the sun was rising, Jesus rose from the dead. There was this light, so we need to see that light in our lives in the midst of this pandemic. We're looking and we're searching for God to be that light," he said.

He hopes we continue to abide by safety precautions and get vaccinated to continue moving forward toward the light.