South Georgia United Methodists celebrate Easter differently this year


By Kara Witherow, Editor

For most South Georgia United Methodists, Easter usually means packed sanctuaries, big Sunday dinners with family, smocked dresses, and super-sized hats.

But this year, even though churches were empty and typical Easter traditions couldn’t happen, families still found ways to safely celebrate the holiday.

Instead of her usual trip to Athens to celebrate Easter with her children, Karen Forester, a member of Bainbridge United Methodist Church, worshiped online, from home.

After cooking an Easter lunch, she and her family “met” via Zoom conference call. She also participated in the Conference’s evening Service of Songs and Hymns.

“During this Holy week, I seemed to be able to focus on the meaning of Easter since I had fewer distractions,” she said. “I did miss my traditions, but sometimes, new ones have to begin.”

Instead of attending just one Easter service, Joyce Akins, a member of Community United Methodist Church in Nashville, watched five Easter services and three song services.

“I had a wonderful Easter celebration as God met me online through scripture, messages, and music,” Akins said.

Susan and Cecil Roberson, members of New Harvest United Methodist Church in Valdosta, watched five United Methodist Church services, from South Georgia to Maryland. They were even able to see and hear their son Randy play piano for his church, Silver Spring United Methodist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, as the service was broadcast via Zoom.

“It was wonderful to hear each pastor’s love for the scriptures and each personal interpretation,” Susan Roberson said.

And while they weren’t gathered together in worship, members of Meigs and Pavo United Methodist Churches proclaimed the gospel message through song and signs. On three wooden crosses erected outside Meigs Food Market they placed signs with verses from a much loved and well-known hymn.

“We used some key phrases from ‘Come Thou Fount’ to explain the crosses of Calvary and how we have to continue to choose which cross we are going to pick up and carry daily,” said Rev. Royce Johnson, who pastors the churches.