One of the most important Christian celebrations is the Lord’s Resurrection, or Easter, and it’s right around the corner. Whether attending in-person services at church, or spending time with family and participating in Easter traditions such as egg hunts, the holiday is particularly meaningful this year as places start to pick up where they left off before COVID thwarted events and celebrations.
Reverend Michael Wallens of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Marfa is pleased to bring back Easter services on Sunday, April 4, outside on the church grounds. Baptisms will be celebrated in conjunction with the service.
Wallens, the priest-in-charge of Big Bend Episcopal churches, also works with four other congregations, including St. James Episcopal Church of Alpine.
Said Wallens, “Everything is focused on St. Paul’s right now, because we are just coming out of the pandemic. We are planning to meet in person starting on Easter with certain safety protocols, as well as maintain an online presence.”
During Holy Week starting March 28, which is Palm Sunday, to Easter on Sunday, April 4, services will also be live-streamed on Facebook Live at facebook.com/stpaulsmarfatx. Wallens said now that more people were getting the COVID vaccines, the church has other activities planned throughout the year that will take place in person as has always been done.
In August, a children’s back-to-school supplies giveaway will be held for Marfa youngsters at First Presbyterian Church of Marfa, and a trunk-or-treat will be held at St. Paul’s on Halloween. In addition, St. Paul’s doors are open to the public 24 hours a day so anyone can pitch in and drop off canned goods and other food items to benefit the Marfa Food Pantry.
Wallens said there was an event planned in the near future called “empty bowls,” where soup bowls are provided and money is raised to combat hunger for those in need. This will be in partnership with Odessa resident Christopher Stanley and the West Texas Food Bank. Funds will be split between the Marfa and Alpine food pantries to help combat food insecurity.
Wallens said he also plans to work with Marfa schools, as well as with Marfa Live Arts.
Despite the challenges the coronavirus presented over the past year that precluded in-person worship services, there is still a message of hope for those looking ahead to normalcy.
Darkness to light and sin to grace serve as stark reminders of Easter approaching.
Wallens aptly stated, “Because Easter is about new life and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, celebrating Easter this year in person, outdoors, is also celebrating the new life that is coming back to us after quarantine.”