Black pastors rebuilding in-person worship attendance this Easter

Written by on March 31, 2024

Black pastors are viewing this Easter as a crucial opportunity to rejuvenate in-person worship attendance, which has dwindled significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many churches had to transition to online services, a shift that was challenging for pastors like Rev. William H. Lamar IV of the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. However, as more congregants are returning to in-person worship, pastors see Easter as a moment to both celebrate the holiday’s message of hope and resurrection and to counter the trend of falling attendance. The pandemic has hit Black churches hard, exacerbating already declining numbers, with a Pew Research study showing a 15% drop in monthly church attendance among Black Protestants from 2019 to 2023. Despite the rise in virtual service options, the desire for the communal and vibrant traditions of Black church culture, especially during Easter, is prompting efforts to draw back parishioners. Churches are using innovative strategies to engage both their in-person and virtual congregations, from sending care packages to online members to revitalizing church facilities. Pastors like Rev. Otis Moss III of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ and Rev. Cassius L. Rudolph of Saints Memorial Community Church in New Jersey are also weaving the complexities of current global and local challenges into their Easter messages, aiming to provide a spiritual and communal healing experience for their congregations.

Source: AP News

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