Local neighborhood celebrates Easter Sunday outside their front door


PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — For millions of families across the world, Easter Sunday is a time to celebrate the resurrection of Christ and to spend time with loved ones. But with COVID-19 quarantining everyone at home, this holiday has not been how many families would have pictured it.

However one local neighborhood in Lynn Haven got creative. They gathered together, still social distancing, but hosted their church service outside.

The idea began between neighbors of the Grants Mill Neighborhood as they knew their neighbor was a practicing pastor.

“I was just honored, almost brought me to tears, I thought well somebody thinks a little bit of me besides my congregation and my family, yes it was just a joy to do that,” said Dr. Marcelious Willis JR.

With many neighbors attending the service, it was an emotional reunion.

“It’s been moving for everyone, I even cried when they were singing the songs, just to be together even though it’s outdoors, we’re all different faiths it was just beautiful today (Sunday) because today (Sunday) is all about Jesus and Easter and He is risen so it was lovely.” said Neighbor, Veronica Kemeny.

“And because we can’t go to our church service regularly, I thought well this will be a good experience after having watched our church service by live streaming it on the computer,” said Neighbor, Roland Palmer.

After preaching to those gathered on his lawn, Preacher Willis said he hopes everyone took his message to heart.

“I just pray that and touch somebody’s heart, and lift their spirits such that this covid-19 just to remind them that our god is bigger than this virus,” said Pastor Willis.

And as church parking lots across Bay County are left empty, another option for many families this sunday was watching online services. Different churches across the Panhandle offered live sermons and music to help celebrate Easter Sunday the best way they knew how.

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