Northwest Florida churches head outdoors, socially distance for Holy Week, Easter
Area churches are hosting services and celebrations during Holy Week — Palm Sunday, March 28, through sundown Saturday, April 3 — leading up to the celebration on Easter Sunday, April 4.
Palm Sunday is a celebration of Jesus' victorious entry into Jerusalem a short time before His crucifixion, and Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of the Lord on the third day following His crucifixion — the core of the Christian faith.
Point Washington United Methodist Church, 1290 N. County 395 in Santa Rosa Beach, will have an Easter egg hunt, games, activities, crafts and treats for all children through fifth grade from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 28.
Hope on the Beach
Hope on the BeachChurch, with four locations across southern Walton County, hosts Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter services. On Palm Sunday, gather at 8 a.m. at Ed Walline Beach in Santa Rosa Beach; 9:30 a.m. at the tent at Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar; 11 a.m. at the campus at 3834 U.S. 98 West (second floor) in Santa Rosa Beach; and 4 p.m. at Seascape Beach by Whale’s Tail in Miramar Beach.
Area residents and visitors are invited to attend all worship experiences. There will be a Bible-based message and praise music. Guests attending at Ed Walline and Seascape are asked to bring chairs or blankets for worship on the beach. In the event of inclement weather, see Hope on the Beach Church’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HopeontheBeachChurch. For more information, call 850-267-0322 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Andrew's By-the-Sea
St. Andrew’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, 307 Harbor Blvd., in Destin has scheduled daily services, all drawn from the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church of the United States, during Holy Week.
On Palm Sunday, known as Sunday of the Passion, a 10 a.m. service will feature will begin with a blessing of palms, followed by a brief social time. Then everyone processes into the church for the more solemn reading of the Passion (the narrative of Jesus’ crucifixion) and Holy Eucharist. At the conclusion of the service, all depart in silence.
On Monday, March 29, a 5:30 p.m. service, Stations of the Cross, also known as "Way of the Cross," entails a procession to 14 “stations” depicting events on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. Everyone pauses at each station for Scripture reading and prayer. The Stations of the Cross service also will take place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, and Wednesday, March 31.
On Wednesday, March 31, a noon service, Healing Healing Holy Eucharist, also is scheduled. While anointing and laying on of hands are excluded due to pandemic precautions, the service does include a special litany of healing. This service is not live-streamed to preserve the privacy of all seeking special prayers for their afflictions.
On Thursday, April 1, a 5:30 p.m. service includes Stations of the Cross, with Holy Eucharist and Stripping of the Altar at 7 p.m. Known as “Maundy Thursday” in the Episcopal tradition, this day commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion) by Jesus at the Last Supper on the night he was betrayed and Jesus’ new commandment “to love one another as I have loved you.”
The Good Friday service is set for noon Friday, April 2. This solemn service reccounts the narrative of Jesus' crucifixion from the Gospel according to John, devotions before the cross, ancient prayers known as the solemn collects, and “Reproaches” recalling “God’s mighty acts for salvation and reproaching humanity for unfaithfulness.”
At 9 a.m. Saturday, April 3, the Holy Saturday Matins (Morning Prayer) the service includes a short Scripture reading and prayer on the last day before Easter.
The week culminates with a new beginning on Easter Day, April 4, with the 10 a.m. Holy Eucharist. Everyone is encouraged to bring bells to ring in Alleluias.
Services will take place in the main sanctuary of the church, which is spacious enough to easily allow for social distancing, and masks will be required. Except for the noon Wednesday Healing Holy Eucharist, services will be live streamed and posted on St. Andrew’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/standrewsdestin).
Also during Holy Week, St. Andrew’s By-the-Sea will continue to live-stream and post “An Order for Compline” at 8 p.m. nightly. For more information, contact the Revs. Jo or Jim Popham at email@example.com or
Emmanuel Baptist Church
Emmanuel Baptist Church, 3252 E James Lee Blvd., in Crestview invites the local community to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ in-person or online.
On Good Friday, April 2, the church hosts at Outdoor Family Movie Night with seating at 5:30 p.m. before the 6 p.m. showing of Disney’s and Walden Media’s "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." Bring your own chairs and blankets; a snack and refreshment table will be set up, and literature connecting the movie to the Gospel story will be handed out. Register online for this free event at ebccrestview.com.
Four Easter services are planned for Easter weekend, beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 3, for families who might find a Saturday evening service more convenient. Easter services will resume Sunday, April 4, at 8, 9:30, and 11 a.m. Masks are required for the 8 a.m. service, but masks are optional for the 9:30 and 11 a.m. services. Preschool and elementary services will be available at 6 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 and 11 a.m. Sunday. Two photo opportunity areas in the outside common area and the Discovery Park foyer on campus will be provided for families to capture their 2021 Easter together. The church also livestreams every 9:30 a.m. Sunday service on the church's YouTube channel. For more information, visit ebccrestview.com.
Destin United Methodist Church
Destin United Methodist Church hosts a Good Friday service at 7 p.m. April 2, at the Destin Life Center, 200 Beach Drive, and four Easter Sunday services, including two outdoors.
Easter Sunday begins with a Sunrise service at 6 a.m. at Henderson Beach State Park, 17000 Emerald Coast Parkway in Destin. Then at 7:30 a.m., a beach service will be held at Crab Trap, 3500 Scenic U.S. 98 E., in Destin with a complimentary shuttle bus running from the Best Buy parking lot to the beach starting at 6:30 a.m. A contemporary service will be held indoors at 9:30 a.m. Easter Sunday at the Destin Life Center, followed by a traditional service at 11 a.m. in the sanctuary. The 7:30 and 11 a.m. Easter Sunday services will be live streamed.
Destiny Worship Center
Destiny Worship Center's Destin and Fort Walton Beach campuses host Good Friday services at 7 p.m., and Crestview (419 Stillwell Blvd.) has Good Friday services at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Childcare registration is available at DestinyWorshipCenter.com.
Destin and Fort Walton host Easter services at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 3, after their Eggstravaganzas. (Crestview campus also hosts an Eggstravaganza at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 3, at Spanish Trail Park.)
On Easter Sunday, services at the Destin (122 Poinciana Blvd.) and Fort Walton Beach (233 Hill Ave. NW) campuses are at 8:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m., plus a fourth service at Fort Walton Beach at 5 p.m. Crestview will have Easter Sunday services at 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m. at the Marquis 10 Movie Theater. For more information, visit DestinyWorshipCenter.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Navarre BeachSide Church
The Navarre Community-Wide Easter Sunrise Service will be hosted by the Navarre BeachSide Church, 8579 Gulf Blvd., on Sunday, April 4, at 6 a.m. in the main parking lot for Navarre Beach and Pier. Everyone is welcome to come as they are.
The Navarre BeachSide Church's 9 a.m. Easter Congregational Service will follow at the same location. This is a non-denomination Christian church offering contemporary worship. Children's church is provided and everyone will have an opportunity to "Nail Your Burdens to the Cross" at the end of the Easter Service.
All are invited to bring canned goods to be shared with the local needy and homeless.
MORE EASTER SERVICES
Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 307 Beach Drive, in Destin hosts Vigil Mass at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sunday Mass at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., and Daily Mass at 8 a.m. Please come to mass early, as some masses fill up due to CDC distancing criteria. For more information, call 850-654-5422.
Gateway City Church hosts an Easter Sunday service 9-10:30 a.m. at the Downtown Music Hall, 212 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Fort Walton Beach.
Immanuel Anglican Church, 250 Indian Bayou Trail, Destin hosts an Easter Sunday Resurrection Worship at 9 a.m.
Laurel Hill Ministerial Association hosts the community's annual Easter Sunrise Service at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, April 4, under the shelter in Gene Clary Park, New Ebenezer Road with the Rev. Mark Broadhead of the Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church. Music will be accompanied by organist Leon Curenton playing the church's restored 1920s portable missionary pump organ. Folding chairs provided, but worshipers invited to bring folding sports chairs. Mask use is encouraged.
Oceans Church, 834 U.S. 98 E, in Destin, hosts Easter Sunday services at 8:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m.
Resurrection Catholic Church, 259 Miramar Beach Drive, Miramar Beach hosts Easter Vigil Saturday mass at 7:30 p.m., and Easter Sunday services at 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m. (also live streamed), and 11:30 a.m. with 1 p.m. drive-thru communion.
Shoreline Church hosts Easter Sunday services in-house at 140 Palmetto St., in Destin at 8 and 10 a.m. and noon, as well as at AJ's at 10:30 a.m. with live music, teaching and food.
Shalimar United Methodist Church, 1 Old Ferry Road, hosts Easter Sunday services at 8, 9:30, 11 a.m., plus an online service airing at 11:07 a.m.
St. Mary Catholic Church,110 St. Mary Ave. SW, Fort Walton Beach hosts Holy Saturday Easter Vigil Mass at 7:30 p.m. April 3, followed by Easter Sunday services at 7:30, 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. and online.
St. Rita Catholic Church, 137 Moll Drive in Santa Rosa Beach, hosts 5 p.m. Saturday Vigil (mask required) and Easter Sunday Mass at 8 a.m. (mask required) and 11 a.m. (mask optional), plus 5 p.m. Misa en Español (mask required).
Trinity United Methodist Church, 403 Racetrack Road NW, Fort Walton Beach, hosts Easter Sunrise Service at the Flagpole at 7 a.m., followed by Traditional Worship at 8:30 a.m., Contemporary Worship at 9:45 a.m., and Traditional Worship at 11 a.m.