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Church members enjoy in-person Easter celebrations

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Posted at 8:55 AM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 11:08:22-04

BILLINGS - Church parking lots were more crowded around Billings as many attended Easter services on Sunday after missing out last year.

Montana was two weeks into a stay at home order on Easter in 2020.

While not everything was back to pre-pandemic levels, people were noticeably excited about the opportunity of in-person services.

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First Baptist celebrated Easter at the church.

"It's really special to hear," Pastor Ross Lieuallen, First Baptist senior pastor, said about hearing his congregation singing. "And it was good just to see people that I have not seen."

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Shiloh United Methodist Church held a drive-in service to be able to take care of more people.

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"Other folks still are not comfortable being in church so we're providing online services for folks as well," said Pastor Tyler Amundson, lead pastor at Shiloh. "It's one of those big holidays, where everyone fills up the sanctuary. And if we didn't have some creativity around that, we wouldn't been able to accommodate everybody."

Amundson estimates about 150 attend Easter services and with distancing, the church sanctuary would hold about 70.

Emmanuel Baptist has been back to normal for a few weeks.

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"God made us to be in community with each other, and to be able to worship God together," said Pastor Trey Haidle, Emmanuel youth pastor.

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Whether it's online or in person, they all preach their Easter sermons.

"I could feel the difference." Lieuallen said. "Yeah, message is the same. Jesus is risen from the dead, and we believe it and and we walk in it. It just feels different when you're preaching to a live audience, so to speak."

"He's risen and He is King of all," Haidle said. " And so that's what we celebrate in Easter,

"Whatever it takes to continue to create that community of God's love," Amundson said. "We have to figure out how to do that."

"It's fantastic to have people back and to have the doors open and the the seats open and it makes a massive difference," Haidle said.

"It magnifies the sense of worship when you're together," Lieuallen said.

While they're working toward getting back to normal, these Pastors also say they'll continue offering on-line services for those not yet comfortable with returning to church.