DALLAS - On this Good Friday and Easter weekend, many Christians are preparing to gather in person for the first time in two years.
Last Easter, church services were virtual during the early stages of the pandemic.
Pastor Richie Butler of St. Luke Community United Methodist Church says he is excited to finally see people instead of empty pews this Easter Sunday.
"We celebrate the resurrection symbolically, but we feel it is a resurrection literally for the church," he said.
Butler’s church will hold two services outside at Klyde Warren Park and are expecting about 1,500 people.
"The last time we were physically together was March 2020," he said.
Butler says the service will follow CDC recommendations by limiting attendance and requiring masks and safe distancing.
"There is nothing like being live and in person. We take for granted the sporting events we can watch, but there is something invigorating that represents human reality that we need each other," he said.
On Good Friday, Butler’s house of worship aimed to serve God by serving the vaccine to 250 people.
"We are the hands and feet of God," Butler said. "If we help get people vaccinated, it helps get people back in church."
The Catholic Diocese of Dallas also plans to hold in-person services but distanced services on Easter Sunday with masks required.
Since the CDC also recommends against community Easter egg hunts, Metropolitan Dream Center wanted to make sure kids did not miss out on the joys of Easter.
"They started asking, ‘Will you have an Easter egg hunt?’ And my mind started going to what can we do to still bring joy and sunshine to kids that is when we decided to have a drive-thru," said Metropolitan Dream Center founder Margaret James.
James has faith next year will finally be different.
"Next year, we know we can do it," she said. "To see kids run and bounce houses, so looking forward to that."