Good Friday church traditions altered during pandemic


MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Easter is upon us, and several Grand Strand churches are hosting Good Friday and Sunday services with a few tweaks this year.

The holiday, described by some church leaders as the “Church Super Bowl,” usually has churches rolling out different traditions in worship.

Church leaders are approaching the holiday in new ways. Beach Church in Myrtle Beach had to figure out how to welcome everyone, create a safe environment and still recognize tradition.

The church’s 1900-seat auditorium will not be as packed of a house this year, unlike Easters in the past. Every other row will be blocked off and people will be spaced out.

On Easter Sunday, a third service will be held to avoid congestion at services, and rows will dismiss at different times to encourage social distancing.

There is one tradition at the Beach Church they had to do without this year on Good Friday.

“One of the things we have traditionally done is have these big wooden beams that people would come up and nail a nail into, simulate nailing Jesus into the cross with their sin. We are not able to do that because of the social distancing and sharing of the hammers and so forth,” Beach Church’s Lead Pastor Todd Elliott said.

The Good Friday service at Beach Church usually brought in 700 to 900 people before COVID-19. In person, attendance has been at about 60% of what it was pre-pandemic.

Pastor Elliot says he is excited for Friday’s service as it is a unique one. One annual tradition that will continue this year is what the church calls a ‘wordless service.’

“Which is kinda a misnomer, meaning we say things, but we don’t have a message. It’s been a tradition of ours that is very creative and kinda transitions from poetry songs and video graphics and so forth,” Elliot said.

There are some Good Friday traditions performed by Beach Church that will have to hold off another year. However, communion is not one of them. Normally, communion would be passed down rows offering-style. This year, it was time to come up with a new strategy.

“Now they are going to be receiving them as they come into the auditorium, and it’s a self-contained package,” Pastor Todd said.

Beach Church’s Good Friday services will be held from 6:30 -7:30 p.m. and can be accessed on livestream here. You can find a list of more local church services across the Grand Strand here.

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