PHOENIX — It's a tradition for many: attending church on Easter Sunday. Last year, during the height of the pandemic, churches across the Valley canceled in-person services.
But on Sunday, parishioners once again gathered to celebrate.
At North Phoenix Baptist Church, volunteers waved signs and cheered as cars drove into the parking lot.
A stage and chairs were set up on the lawn, with thousands expected in attendance.
Pastor Noe Garcia said they had three choices: either sit on the lawn, listen from inside their vehicles, or sit outside of their cars.
Deina Alvarado chose to sit on the lawn Sunday morning.
"If it gets really packed, I'll probably put my mask on just to be extra safe," she said.
After a tough year, Alvarado said it was nice to see people coming together.
“It’s been a while since I’ve come to church, so I told myself I’m going to come today and see what the Lord has in store for me," she said.
Hannah Rowlands said she was also feeling hopeful on Easter Sunday.
“I’m also a teacher, so I’ve been on the frontlines and being affected through all of this," she said. "So, two weeks ago we were finally in person, so I think this is another big step of [where] we’re able to be back gathering together."
North Phoenix Baptist Church held its service online last year. Pastor Garcia said he was excited to welcome parishioners safely back to worship.
“In this world we all anchor our hope to different things. For some of us, it’s our careers. For some of us, it's financial statements and for us as believers, we anchor our hope on Jesus Christ and the fact that he is real he is alive and that there’s a greater hope that we can look to," he said.