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Drive-in Easter Sunday service held in Fort Saskatchewan parking lot amid COVID-19 pandemic

Drive-in Easter Sunday service held in Fort Saskatchewan parking lot amid COVID-19 pandemic
WATCH: It's the holiest day on the Christian calendar but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many churches are celebrating Easter Sunday differently this year. Masses have moved online, to your TV and even to parking lots. Nicole Stillger reports.

Bridge Church in Fort Saskatchewan held a drive-in Easter Sunday service, allowing community members to come together in faith while keeping their distance.

READ MORE: 82 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta as death toll hits 44

Churchgoers gathered in the parking lot of the Dow Centennial Centre, where they listened to the service on the radio in their cars.

“There’s a lot of hopelessness out there and Easter is all about hope,” pastor Ryan Pedde said. “We wanted to — in a safe way — gather together and be able to celebrate this big day.”

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The service was presented on a stage with big screens nearby.

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“Easter is often kind of like the Super Bowl in that you don’t watch NFL games throughout the whole year but everybody watches the Super Bowl,” Pedde said with a laugh.

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“In the same way you might not go to church the rest of the year but a lot of people at Christmas and Easter come to church.”

READ MORE: Spruce Grove Easter egg hunt spreads hope around the world

Pedde said the event was approved by the province, Alberta Health Services and the City of Fort Saskatchewan — though it had to follow strict rules.

Those guidelines included cars two metres apart, windows shut and no more than 15 people running the event at a time.

“Definitely a lot different than a traditional Easter Sunday service,” Pedde said.

They are not the only ones who had to get creative.

Public health restrictions forced many other Easter weekend traditions to adapt.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Edmonton churches go virtual for Easter weekend services

The 40th anniversary of the Good Friday way of the cross procession had to move indoors and online.

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At St. Joseph’s Basilica, the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton livestreamed mass, like many other churches.

Pedde said he is proud of his team at Bridge Church.

“In the midst of the [COVID-19] pandemic, we went online. We didn’t shrink away and we did everything we could to put on a good Easter service,” he said.