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Religious leaders mark 2nd year of pandemic Holy Week

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 4:53 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - We are in the midst of a Holy Week. Passover started on Saturday and Good Friday and Easter are soon upon us. Our Ike Bendavid spoke with local religious leaders about the second consecutive year of pandemic holiday observances.

At the Victory Baptist Church in Vergennes, Pastor Tim Taylor says the past year of socially-distanced and streamed services has had an impact on the church community. “Older congregants, they really miss contact. Some their whole circle of fellowship and communication is with church friends,” he said.

After taking a break from in-person services, they resumed this past week with Palm Sunday and a goal to keep that going for Easter Sunday. “Easter absolutely is incredibly significant to the Christian faith,” Taylor said. But just a few days out, he says their plan is not firm. They will either hold a distanced service inside, outside or just do it virtually. “We have all the capacity to come in-house to worship this coming Sunday, however, we are seriously watching the COVID numbers in our state and in our county.”

“Passover is a celebration of freedom,” said Rabbi Yitzchok Raskin, as he showed off the future Chabad Vermont synagogue. He says they are having in-person services following the state’s guidelines. Passover Seders are mostly being done virtually to keep households from mixing. “This year, many people did the seder at home, however, we were able to have our services with social distance and masks.”

With a new synagogue in the works and vaccination ramping up on the way, these leaders of faith say they have hope for the future. “We are very hopeful that -- God willing -- we will all be able to be more together,” Raskin said.

“All of our attitudes has been, let’s get through, let’s get through,” Taylor said.

Those that plan to attend any Easter services are urged to check their church’s schedule beforehand.

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