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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Macon church prepares for in-person Easter service

New City Church is adding an extra service this Easter Sunday to help reduce the size of the gatherings, and are following CDC guidelines to keep visitors safe.

MACON, Ga. — Churches in Central Georgia are preparing to open their doors for Easter Sunday after canceling in-person services last year.

The Director of Operations at New City Church in Macon, Joey Olivier, said they’re keeping the same safety measures that have been in place since reopening.

“We're very conservative with our precautions for COVID ever since we re-gathered.”

The congregation of the Christian church couldn’t gather for last year's Easter Sunday, as they were closed due to the COVID-19 shutdown.

“It was difficult to not gather with our family and worship together,” said Olivier.

Amanda Christopher became a member of New City in 2009 and hadn't missed an Easter service until the pandemic.

“Imagine not being able to gather with your blood family? I know we all sort of experienced that, and it feels wrong and it's a big loss,” said Christopher. “It’s the same with the family of God.”

Christopher explained the Christian faith is meant to be celebrated with others.

“He has called us to gather together as brother and sisters in Christ.”

This year, New City Church has added a service to reduce the size of their gatherings.

“We have about half the seats we normally had before COVID. As you can see, they're spaced 6 feet apart,” said Olivier.

Olivier said it's typical to see an increase in visitors on Easter. In 2019, New City Church saw a 25% increase in new guests.

“Those are the times when people who are not a part of church start to think about church.”

Aside from adding a service, the team will continue to encourage people to reserve seating online, wear masks when not in their chairs and to socialize outside.

“We believe we're safer here than the grocery store or the many other places you might go. We’re doing all that we can to keep you safe while you’re here,” said Olivier.

New City Church will have three in-person services at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

You can sign up here.

They will also be live streaming their 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on their Facebook page.