Parkview Church of God is celebrating Passion Week with a variety of Easter programs dedicated to bringing visitors closer to Jesus Christ.
Beginning on Sunday, April 14, also known as Palm Sunday, Pastor Ken Lynch along with Choir Director Ellie Coleman and other church volunteers will host a church-wide Sunday School service in the sanctuary beginning at 9:30 a.m. This Sunday school program will feature "Bible Alive!: Israel's Passover Remembered," where church members will reenact the first Passover in the Bible.
"We are trying to give the Biblical story all the way back to its roots," Lynch said. "We are going to see an Israelite family on that night in Egypt when they followed Moses's commands to take shelter in their homes, eat the unleavened bread, and covered their doors in the blood of a lamb to find mercy from God's judgement."
This reenactment will establish the connection between the first Passover to Jesus' Passover, and the Lord's Supper.
At the end of the church-wide Sunday school service, visitors and church members alike will remain in the sanctuary for the Palm Sunday worship service starting at 10:45 a.m.
Choir Director Ellie Coleman said that this year's Palm Sunday service will be a worship service where members and visitors can see Jesus's Passover portrayed, as well as Jesus’ grand entrance into Jerusalem.
"Jesus Christ will be entering into the sanctuary, and he will be greeted by children waving the branches," Lynch said. "They will also have Jesus observing the Lord's Supper with his disciples on the night before he was crucified, and the church will be offered the opportunity to take communion as a part of that."
On the following Sunday, April 21, which is known as Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday, the members of Parkview will host "Believe: A Journey Through Easter."
In lieu of Sunday School on Easter Sunday, members and visitors will instead enjoy a free breakfast and guided tours to three stations which depict Jesus's Resurrection.
The first stop on the tour will be to see three wooden crosses in the front gardens of Parkview, which represent the location where Jesus was crucified. Standing near the crosses will be a Centurion, giving his account of what he witnessed on the day that Jesus died.
At the next stop, visitors will find a replica of Jesus's Tomb inside of the Parkview foyer. The stone in front of the tomb will be rolled away, and visitors will be able to interact with Mary Magdalene and John the Disciple as they share their experience of finding an empty tomb.
The last stop of the tour will be at the entrance of the sanctuary, where visitors will find the torn curtain of the ancient temple of Jerusalem, and Caiaphas the High Priest, who will explain that the death of Jesus opened a new connection between the people and God.
"What we are trying to do is to bring the story to life," Lynch said. "We are helping people to grasp the big picture and be reminded of it before we walk into the worship service."
The highlight of Resurrection Sunday at Parkview will be the morning worship service where members and visitors will see the Easter story in an environment stimulating to the senses, which will include a 40-voice choir, a liturgical dance, a biblical drama, scripture and a short homily message from the Bible.
"We want people to have an encounter with Christ through the tour and through the worship service," Lynch said. "That is our goal, and this is the method we are trying to utilize so that people can have an encounter with Christ."
One big difference in this year's Easter program from previous years, is that there will not be a Saturday showing.
Lynch said that they are changing their methods this year as a way to reach people who want to learn more about Christ or are seeking to renew their faith, and also to reach families with children who do not have a church to call home.
"We just want folks to know that if they are unchurched, if their family is looking for a church home, or if they just want to come and enjoy and celebrate Easter in a different way, that they are welcome to join us," Lynch said.