COLORADO SPRINGS — It's the second year in a row that church services on Easter Sunday will look much different, but some local congregations are on the rebound.
At Springs Community's Church, about half of the congregation will be allowed to attend an in-person Easter service, which the church's pastor said is a blessing. Last year, the service was held online because places of worship shut down during the pandemic.
"When everything shut down, the question was, are we going to survive this?' said Eric Carpenter, the senior pastor for Springs Community Church.
Despite some of the challenges over the past year, Pastor Carpenter told News5, "I will say, there have been some graces and silver linings in this past year. When god renews something, we often improve something."
When everything shut down during the pandemic, all services moved online, which he said helped grow the congregation.
"We have an online congregation which is really neat. We have people across the country, especially former members that when we started live stream, they jumped on and they were excited," said Carpenter. "We gained young families, maybe because everything that's happening over the past year."
For those who do attend the in-person service, they will remain socially distanced and have to keep their masks on.
Meanwhile Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church hasn't held an in-person service in more than a year.
"It is strange to be thinking this is our second Easter in the midst of the pandemic," said Pastor Alycia Erickson, who's been the church's pastor for six years. "It's been really hard, and I know there are a lot of pastors who have found it difficult."
She mentioned while the church does have some in-person events taking place this weekend, their Sunday Easter service will remain online.
"It's really hard preaching to an empty room. It's really hard not to be with people and to get to see people," said Pastor Erickson.
She also mentioned more people have found support with their congregation in the past year.
"What it says to me is that people have been more isolated, they've been having a harder time, and they need that love and community," said Erickson. "I'm really grateful they found us as a place to find support and make it through these hard times."
Both church pastors said despite not having in-person services, donations remained the same. One church even saw an increase in donations which helped them stay open and running.
Pikes Peak Metropolitican Community Church hopes to resume in-person services on April 11. The church will also hold a food and clothing drive on Saturday 4/3, to support One Nation Walking
Together. The organization provides resources for Native American communities.
For the first time, Springs Community Church will be holding a sunrise service on Easter Sunday, around 6 a.m.