Life and hope: Celebrating Easter at Calvary Baptist

Sofie Thurn, of Dover, works on her Easter hat alongside her mother at Calvary Baptist Church on Fulton Street in Dover on Saturday morning. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

DOVER — Easter Sunday, much like the fabled egg-delivering bunny, is known for hopping around from date-to-date on the springtime calendar every year.

Most importantly, for Christians around the world, it marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead following his crucifixion on a cross three days before, making it the most important day of the year in their religion.

To Calvary Baptist Church, Bishop W. James Thomas II, Easter is a celebration that is simply too important to contain to one day.

Hence, Calvary Baptist’s “Resurrection Weekend,” which includes two days’ worth of remembrance and praise, including a Saturday designed for children.

Serenity Beckett Nieberg, a freshman at Dover High School, enjoyed the time that she spent during the arts and crafts portion of Resurrection Weekend at Dover’s Calvary Baptist Church. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

“This is always the highest and holiest day on the church calendar,” Bishop Thomas said of Easter. “It means a lot to us and gives us time to really reflect and thank God for what this season means to the church and to the world.

“This weekend gives us a chance to celebrate with everybody. We’re a multi-generational church so we get to celebrate from our youngest to our oldest and we kind of make a whole weekend out of it. This is usually a big time for us, as it is for many churches.”

Calvary Baptist, located at 410 Fulton St., in Dover, got the kids in on the act Saturday.

“This is our annual Easter celebration,” Calvary’s Youth Pastor Rev. William Guy said. “We start things off with arts and crafts and kids from the church and the local community come out and participate.

Anthony Rolsal, 7, works on decorating his airplane at Dover’s Calvary Baptist Church as part of Resurrection Weekend. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

“After that, we go outside and do the Easter egg hunt and then they’ll come back in and we’ll actually do our Easter Sunday School program where the kids will do different recitals, scriptures and dancing, and then we’ll put on our Easter production, which is ‘Pilate’ this year.

“You could say we have a full morning-afternoon.”

The production was about Pontius Pilate, the man known for adjudicating on the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Following the play, the children enjoyed lunch in the church’s basement before going home and getting ready for the official day of Easter today.

“This helps us get the kids involved in the different activities and hopefully teaching them some things about Resurrection Sunday, as well,” said Rev. Guy. “This is the foundation. We’re laying some great groundwork for the children.

“We actually have more kids coming from the community than we actually have in our church, as well. I’m seeing a lot of new faces, so the word gets out.”

Serenity Beckett Nieberg, a freshman at Dover High School, said that she enjoys both the religious and commercial parts of Easter.

“Easter is a day that means that Jesus is there for us,” she said. “For me, Easter also means me having a great family, having great times, having great lives and, of course, Easter eggs and chocolate. Easter really means everything to me because I love the Easter bunny. The bunnies are so cute, and I always like designing hats like (the one she decorated Saturday) and I usually hunt a lot of eggs.”

Church members packed about 50 or 60 Easter baskets stuffed with goodies for all the kids who participated to take home with them.

Now, today, Easter Sunday, will kind of be like the Super Bowl for Bishop Thomas — and he’s the quarterback charged with inspiring the team.

That’s because Calvary Baptist will host a Breakfast Outreach program at 7 this morning, and Bishop Thomas, the senior pastor at the church, will preach his sermon “It’s Already Done” at both the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services. Sunday School will take place at 9:30 a.m.

Rev. Dr. Nellie Foster, Sunday School superintendent at Calvary, said today should be a day filled with life and hope because it celebrates the most blessed event — the resurrection of Jesus.

“The Easter season to me, personally, is a very holy week,” she said. “I call it the holy week and I feel the reverence of God all during this week. Being that I work with children, I try to make activities for the children, and I’ve been doing it for about 10 years.

“We try to have a lot of events for the kids and children. We have a very active Sunday School and teach the children about the Bible and hopefully teach it in a way that they can have fun.”

Judging by the smiles and laughter, the children certainly were on a busy Saturday morning at the church in downtown Dover.

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