Will more people attend Easter Church because of hit movie? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Will more people attend Easter Church because of hit movie?

April 9, 2004

Albany -- This is Good Friday, leading up to the Easter Sunday celebration in the Christian faith.

This year the life and death of Jesus Christ has been widely discussed because of the Mel Gibson movie "The Passion of the Christ." But local pastors are not sure if the renewed interest in Jesus will lead to more people attending Easter services Sunday.

First United Methodist Church in downtown Albany decorates their sanctuary with lilies, preparing for Easter service. The great success of the movie "The Passion of the Christ" has brought the life and death of Jesus Christ back into the headlines.

Reverend Robert Beckum hopes that interest will bring South Georgians to church Sunday. Beckum said "I think the Passion movie, but I think there is still a great deal of concern about our nation. What's going on in Iraq. Great deal of concern for the world as it is, and I think that will also bolster Easter attendance, in looking for hope."

Youth Minister Jonathan Haefs is playing the role of Jesus in a drama they will perform in their Easter service at the Gillionville Baptist Church. He says attendance has risen since the "Passion" movie came out.

Haefs said "We have visitors coming in every Sunday. I think it definitely has helped. Especially in our people inviting others."

C.E. Christians is the term church leaders have for people who attend Church only at Christmas and Easter. Beckum said "We would certainly welcome them, as I'm certain every church would, to hopefully begin a new relationship."

 The resurrection of Jesus is celebrated on Easter, and it usually brings South Georgia churches their biggest congregations of the year.

 These ministers are hoping for record attendance Sunday.

Lilies became a symbol of Easter back in the middle ages, because they bloom this time of the year. Their fragrance reminds people of spring and new life.

posted at 4:15 PM by jimw@walb.com