Bethlehem SCV finds way to celebrate Easter safely

Sophia, left, and Maricela, right, Mittelsteadt decorate their car before attending the Bethlehem SCV chruch's drive-thru Easter celebration Sunday morning. April 12, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.
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The Bethlehem SCV congregation is used to celebrating Easter each year with a big celebration, complete with numerous Easter egg hunts throughout the day, and even a visit from the Easter bunny some years.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, none of that was possible this year.

Even so, Lead Pastor Joe Beran and the rest of the congregation were determined to find a way to safely celebrate the holiday.

Decorated cars line up at the Bethlehem SCV church in Canyon Country to celebrate Easter at a safe social distance Sunday morning. April 12, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“The resurrection for (Christians) is hope even in the darkest of times,” Beran said. “In fact, if anything, it shows us that even when things are ugliest and most difficult that there is still hope.”

That being said, in place of the church’s annual Easter Eggventure, they created an Easter Car Parade in the Canyon Country church’s parking lot, allowing congregants to join in the fun at a safe distance.

The Easter bunny waves as decorated cars line up at the Bethlehem SCV church in Canyon Country to celebrate Easter at a safe social distance Sunday morning. April 12, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.Decorated cars line up at the Bethlehem SCV church in Canyon Country to celebrate Easter at a safe social distance Sunday morning. April 12, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“We had really a better turnout than I thought we would in terms of cars,” Beran said. “It was just a good solid like 30 to 40 minutes of cars driving around, honking, decorated for Easter and celebrating.”

As cars drove around the church, they were greeted by Beran and Rick Terwall, who were sharing positive messages, such as “Happy Easter” and “Christ has risen.”

Rick Terwall, left, director of operations at Bethlehem SCV, and lead pastor Joe Beran, right, greet cars at the church’s drive-thru Easter celebration Sunday morning. April 12, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Cars came decorated in Easter eggs, bunny ears and crosses, packed with congregants, and some of their pets, many of whom were also wearing bunny ears and the like, while the Easter bunny even made an appearance.

In following with public health guidelines, congregants were passed “Easter challenge” devotional booklets, which had been sealed in plastic and sanitized, via a claw arm.

Andrea Evans hands out pamphlets to congregants Sunday morning as part of her church’s drive-thru Easter celebration. April 12, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Many of the cars continued to circle the parking lot through the event, taking advantage of the opportunity to be together, until it concluded with the announcing of the winners of the car-decorating contest.

The event was also live-streamed on the church’s Facebook page for those who wanted to participate from the comfort of their homes.

Andrea Evans hands out pamphlets to congregants Sunday morning as part of her church’s drive-thru Easter celebration. April 12, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Though not quite what they had imagined in terms of this year’s celebration, they made do, again reminding congregants of the importance of the holiday, especially now.

“On Good Friday, all of the disciples had abandoned Jesus,” Beran said. “Jesus was in the tomb, everything seemed hopeless. Yet, the heart of Easter is that even in the midst of hopelessness, there’s great hope. So, now more than ever, it’s the perfect time to (remind everyone that) things seem hopeless, but let’s celebrate the fact that we can still have hope in Jesus.”

Decorated cars line up at the Bethlehem SCV church in Canyon Country to celebrate Easter at a safe social distance Sunday morning. April 12, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Decorated cars line up at the Bethlehem SCV church in Canyon Country to celebrate Easter at a safe social distance Sunday morning. April 12, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Andrea Evans hands out pamphlets to congregants Sunday morning as part of her church’s drive-thru Easter celebration. April 12, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

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