|Packed Easter services signal thriving Christianity|
|Written by Dr. Garth Rose|
|Thursday, 12 April 2012 13:45|
The Christian faith has long been claimed as a sacred tenant among Caribbean-Americans. And this Easter, church leaders within South Florida's Caribbean-American community confirmed a renewed resurgence of the faithful, acknowledging a "much larger than usual" turnout.
At the St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Kendall, the congregation was so large that extra chairs had to be provided to accommodate the overflow.
Pastor Miriam Burgess of a non-conformist church in Homestead said she's always encouraged by the large return of irregular attendants. "It means the core message of Christianity, Christ's resurrection from the dead, continues to resonate powerfully. The resurrection and its message of new life pulls people who otherwise stay home during the year to come out at Easter. It means people are seeking their own spiritual rebirth, seeking cleansing."
She said although pastors are buoyed by large congregations in their church, it doesn't mean churches are failing if they are not filled regularly.
"If only a handful of that large congregation is motivated to worship in church regularly, the church's work isn't in vain," said Pastor Burgess. "Spreading the Christian doctrine is like casting bread upon the ocean which takes that crumb far and wide. Many good Christians aren't regular church goers, but profess their faith by loving Christ and their brothers/sisters as they love themselves."
Bonitta "Bonnie" Rawls, who welcomed Easter Sunday with others at dawn on a Fort Lauderdale beach, also has confidence in Christianity's influence beyond the church.
"I don't need to be in a church building to be a Christian," said Bonnie. "My faith is strong, and because of that the wider world is my church."
Anthony of Perrine, Florida, who is entering Bible College in Kansas later this year, said the message of Easter urged him to enter the ministry.
"The message of the resurrection, after the cruel crucifixion, is such a strong message for mankind's eventual salvation regardless how cruel and challenging life is. The large turn-out of worshippers on Easter Day, in or out of a physical church, is evidence there's really hope for mankind."