ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Church officials call Easter Sunday the Super Bowl of the Christian calendar. It’s a day when most places of worship are crowded and this Easter Sunday, one church in Roanoke held its first in-person Easter service in two years.

Almost everyone coming out of Elevation Church at Roanoke’s Berglund Center on Sunday, April 17 was smiling. The church saw nearly 1,000 people pack the seats.

“The community component alone, the energy, the excitement of having people together, I feel like that’s something we’ve been missing the past two years, just the sense of community,” said Brandon Hostetler, a member of Elevation Church.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, church services were held online and the in-person services were socially distant.

“Now that the regulations have relaxed a bit — unless someone is not comfortable with it, we’ll space them out — but typically, we don’t have to do anything like that on our end,” said Joe Burwell, a member of Elevation Worship’s safety team.

Burwell says there is socially-distant seating, as well as a separate room for those who felt uncomfortable being in such close quarters amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Julnette Moon and her family, who are members of the church, say they really missed coming to in-person services and Easter Sunday was a great time to be back in church.

Pastor David Shearer says it is all about the reaction he gets from the church community which can be hard to get virtually.

“I don’t think you even realize how much you missed being able to look someone in the eye, have someone look you in the eye and say that you matter, and I think that’s the message we wanted people to feel today,” Shearer said.

Churchgoers say they are concerned about COVID-19, but trust the church to take the right precautions.