KAPAA — If you plan to attend Easter Sunday church services on Kauai, you’ll have plenty of choices, and likely, plenty of company.
Churches are preparing for what is considered the one day of the year when the most people across the U.S. will sit in pews, listen to sermons and sing songs of praise.
And with rising numbers of churchgoers expected, Pastor Jed Young of Kapaa Missionary Church is welcoming all Christians to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.
“We’re focusing on the victory we have in Christ and the hope that we have a certain hope,” he said. “That’s what the whole Christian faith is based upon. Christ not only died on the cross, but also rose from the grave so he proved everything that he said about himself and about the fact that we can have a relationship with God through him was proven by his resurrection.”
Pastors and their staffs are preparing special music and messages. Dramas, dances and decorations will ready for visitors. And, yes, there will be egg hunts and free breakfasts, too.
Churches will go beyond their walls to share their faith. Sunrise services are scheduled at beaches, parks and resorts.
It’s all to mark the day considered the very cornerstone of the Christian faith, the resurrection of Christ. The Bible tells us he rose again, three days after he was crucified, and defied death.
Roughly three in four Americans identify themselves as Christian, according to a 2014 Gallup study.
Of all Christian celebrations, Americans identify Easter as the most pivotal.
“Without this, there is no Christian faith and it’s the most important event for us to honor,” said Reverend Phyllis Meighen of Lihue United Church.
Meighan said Lihue United Church and Lihue Christian Church will be teaming up this weekend to combine services and give churchgoers more opportunities to find a time and place to worship.
“It’s really interesting. Yes, there’s an uptick in attendance, but I do notice that around the world, there are a lot of alternatives to Easter Sunday that have nothing to do with Easter so that people have to make choices of faith or faith in Christ and things that are not of the faith,” Meighan said. “I don’t like to say the word competition, but there are more alternatives that are calling for people’s attention.”
In an op-ed sent to The Garden Island, Pastor Rick Bundschuh of Kauai Christian Fellowship called for Christians to celebrate and recognize the truth and teachings of Easter and Holy Week.
“Christians, Easter marks what we believe is the most important event in the history of the world; we believe it is the day that death was defeated and kicked to the curb because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” he said.
Providing multiple services can be a challenge, but Ryan Newman, rector and head of school at All Saints Episcopal Church in Kapaa, wants to give his community as many opportunities to attend church this weekend.
“Over the course of Holy Week, we do 16 services,” he said. “We take Holy Week and Easter very seriously around here. … We’re not here to fill pews. Our goal is to share the movement of Christ and I think our services, by nature, we knowingly have some services that are smaller and some that are larger, but we want people to have different ways to enter into Holy Week.”