At this time last year, Easter, Easter egg hunts and even an Easter Sunday brunch plans were all largely being scuttled due to holiday cancellations because of COVID-19.
However, this year, with confidence in the vaccine growing and the case numbers slowly declining, Easter and Easter events are being resurrected in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Although some of the events remain canceled or altered, local officials have said they plan to use the knowledge they had acquired over the last year to help plan safer local Easter events.
For example, due to the uncertainty leading up to the holiday with respect to Public Health restrictions, the city won’t be hosting its popular annual Easter egg hunt.
However, for those looking to celebrate the holidays, there’s a gamut from services in-person or online, visitors sharing candy in their drive-thru free meal, the Santa Clarita Valley has said they are working to ensure a sense of normalcy this holiday.
Much like how the members of the Santa Clarita Jewish community saw this year’s Passover celebration as having a number of parallels to the time period their spring holiday commemorates, leaders of the local Christian faith have said they see the parallels in Easter, as well.
Easter has historically been celebrated, in the Christian and Catholic faiths, as a time to reflect on the first four books of the new Testament, when Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave three days later.
“This year we’re the theme that we’re running with is ‘United in Hope,’” said Crossroads Pastor Todd Smith. “And coming out of COVID, there’s two things we want to communicate that the resurrection of Christ does for us: It’s what unites us in a divided world — we believe the gospel the cross and the resurrection is what unites humanity together. And then the second thing that we believe is the resurrection does give us great hope.”
Smith said a primary driving message for his sermon this Sunday is set to revolve around the idea that if Christ can rise from the dead, he said, then the community can survive COVID-19.
“The most discouraging, depressing and disparaging words that anybody can say is, ‘Things will never change,’ or they’ve lost all hope,” said Smith. “But the resurrection, the empty tomb, is what tells us things will change, things can change.”
On Resurrection Sunday, David Hegg, senior pastor at Grace Baptist Church said he would be asking his congregants, as it relates to the Empty Tomb, to reflect on who they are, where they come from, why they’re here and where they’re going.
“And those are the things, that if you can answer those questions properly, that’s really what gives you peace of mind,” said Hegg, “and, you know, a sense of refuge and safety in an increasingly broken and divided world.”
Bob Seigler, a deacon at Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Church, said the celebration of Easter, and the Catholic Church uses Lent, Good Friday and Palm Sunday as a time to reflect on self-sacrifice.
“It’s a different time compared to the rest of the year,” Seigler said during Lent. “It’s a time of self-sacrifice, and we ask those who participate that whatever they decide to do during this time will benefit others.”
Crossroads, like many other churches in the Santa Clarita Valley this coming Easter, are set to hold a COVID-19 sensitive slate of events, from holding their traditional Easter day service in their parking lot — as opposed to at COC as it normally is — with the usual continental breakfast being pre-packaged, to holding online services for their 9 a.m. celebration.
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha officials said they would be holding similar programs this week, with various masses being held for Easter at Saint Kateri Church at 10 a.m. and noon, which can be viewed online or in person following COVID-19 health guidelines.
For more information about the plans being made at your respective parish or church, visit their individual websites to learn more on how to join in on this year’s celebrations.
To learn more about the services being offered, visit the church’s respective websites: Crossroads, lifeatcrossroads.org; Grace Baptist, gracebaptist.org; and Saint Kateri, saintkateriparish.org.Crossroads is located at 25300 Rye Canyon Road, Valencia. Grace Baptist is located at 22833 Copper Hill Drive. Saint Kateri Tekakwitha is located at 22508 Copper Hill Drive, Saugus.
While Santa Clarita is not hosting the aforementioned popular egg hunt, there are a number of community organizations holding events that are family-appropriate.
Kevin MacDonald, the executive director of the SCV Senior Center, said the Senior Center would be closed on Easter Sunday but had provided a drive-thru lunch on Friday that would be decorated in an Easter theme with a piano player present.
In addition to the drive-thru food, the 800 Meal on Wheels deliveries made Friday included Easter candy.
Gilchrist Farm is hosting an all-day Spring Fling and Egg Hunt that starts Saturday morning but will continue until 5 p.m. with a host of events.
Gilchrist Farm is located at 30116 Bouquet Canyon Road, in Santa Clarita. The Senior Center is located at 27180 Golden Valley Road, Santa Clarita.