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Safety a priority as CT churches prepare to welcome parishioners for Easter services


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    NORWICH, CT (WFSB) — Easter service marks the first major gathering since the state eased restrictions.

Traditionally, Christmas and Easter services are when churches see a spike in attendance.

Perhaps that may be the case tomorrow, but not in ways we’re used to.

“Last year this time, Father Walter and I were absolutely alone in the church,” Rev. Joseph Ashe of Christ the King Church in Old Lyme tells us.

Yet this year, on one of the holiest days, Christ the King Church welcomes parishioners for its Easter vigil mass.

Worshippers are met with liturgies and candles. Also visible are health guidelines.

While the parish hosts in-person services, it too offers livestream.

Houses of worship know not everyone is ready to return.

“There’s a catchphrase that’s emerged in churches right across the country, ‘it’s okay not to go back to normal’,” Pastor Bowles of Castle Church in Norwich says.

Castle Church in Norwich added a service to accommodate people while respecting guidelines.

Pastor Adam Bowles tells Eyewitness News the earlier service is already full based on reservations.

Back at Christ the King Church, Easter may look different this year, but a familiar spirit greets families.

“Even in the midst of what we’re going through, because we still have the community, even if it’s in masks and we’re six feet apart from each other,” the Wohlmuth family of Ivoryton,” said.

This Easter Sunday, many of the faithful flock say there’s more reason to give thanks and have hope.

The churches we spoke to say they’ve already seen turnout increase in services leading up to tomorrow.

They believe the vaccine rollout and fewer restrictions played are boosting confidence.

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