Easter at New Hampton Community Church is always a celebration. Palm Sunday and Good Friday worship services set the stage for Easter. This year as we were breaking out of Covid restrictions God burst forth!
Palm Sunday was a meaningful worship, followed by Good Friday which was a reminder of the distance God will go to reach people with His love and grace.
To understand the significance of this Easter, some history is necessary. New Hampton Community Church is located on main street, New Hampton in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Across the street is New Hampton School. New Hampton School is a prep school, home to 300 high school students. New Hampton Church has for years prayed and extended invitations to the students and faculty. Occasionally a few students or families worship with New Hampton Church Family, and I, as Pastor, have participated with prayer at graduations, but by in large, it has been dry ground. A few years ago the Church helped initiate and establish a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) group on the school campus.
Two weeks prior to Easter (2021) I received an email from a NHS Faculty member asking if I would consider leading an Easter service for a few students who were requesting one. Responding immediately, I offered to lead the service in the school’s auditorium and asked if students would like to participate. I also expressed my curiosity as to how many students would attend to print adequate programs. The conclusion was 10 students would be nice, 20 would be terrific.
The Students requested the service be in the Church sanctuary. Because of Covid’s physical distancing, this had to be a separate service dedicated to the school students. This meant NHCC would celebrate with three services on Easter.
Easter morning early service was outside with a magnificent view of Franconia Notch. We even Livestreamed the service on YouTube. At 10 am the sanctuary was alive with a crowd eager to celebrate and worship, and that we did, including those joining us on the NHCC YouTube Channel.
At 12:30pm the students and faculty began to arrive in the sanctuary to celebrate Easter. One student pianist played a beautiful Beethoven piece, an accompaniment combination of a bass saxophone and electric guitar played a moving rendition of Amazing Grace followed by two students reading an Easter poem and Matthew’s narrative of the Resurrection.
Preaching the historical reality of the Resurrection and Jesus’ impact on billions of people for more than two thousand years, the students were challenged with “the question for you is, what are you going to do with Jesus?”
God burst forth on Easter bringing three new families to the early morning outside worship, a crowd eager to celebrate at 10 am, and not ten or twenty students; 84 students concluded Easter service singing “Stand in Your Love” by Josh Baldwin followed by singing and clapping in celebration to “My Redeemer Lives”. Yes He Does!
May the Grace & Love of Jesus inspire you to action
Rev. Scott Mitchell
Pastor, New Hampton Community Church
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