(Gananoque – March 26, 2021)
Starting in 2015, the Saturday of Easter weekend has seen The Cornerstone Church in Gananoque holding a colossal Easter Egg Hunt on the church grounds as a way to reach out to the local community. But due to COVID-19, things are going to be different this year.
“This year has been hard,” said Pastor Mike Hatheway (Lead Pastor at The Cornerstone). “Plain and simple. We’re all tired, stressed and we really miss being with people. And so the Easter Egg Hunt gives us a chance to love our neighbours and bring back some of that joy and hope that’s been missing. That’s what Easter is all about. And our church wants to shout that new life is on the way.”
“Every year, The Cornerstone Church welcomes all members of the community to come to the church for an outdoor Easter Egg Hunt,” said Fiona Chaperon of the church. “You don’t have to be a member of our church or even live in Gananoque – everyone is welcome. In past years, there has been face painting, crafts, bouncy castles, baked goods from our café, lots of free give-aways and numerous door prize draws that have been donated from businesses within the community, as well as a hot dog lunch, in addition to over 10,000 chocolate eggs. We want everyone to know that we love them – we are not just a building on Highway 32, we have amazing programs that everyone in the community can enjoy and we are a safe place to worship and get to know Jesus.”
In a normal year the doors at the church would open at 10 a.m. to give people a chance to enjoy all of the different activities for an hour before gathering on the lawn for the Easter Egg Hunt.
“At 11 o’clock the kids would be divided into 3 age groups and there would be a fun introduction with our kid’s mascot Zion the Lion,” said Chaperon. “The kids would then proceed to their respective egg-hunting field and the hunt would begin. Once all of the eggs had been gathered, we would return to the auditorium where the door prizes would be drawn and then our guests would have the opportunity to continue enjoying the activities and a hotdog lunch. All said, the event normally lasted from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.”
Every child was guaranteed a fair share of the loot, and extra eggs were available to make sure that even those who are slow starters or have other troubles collecting went home with plenty of goodies. But COVID-19 came along and threatened to destroy everything.
“We had to cancel our 2020 hunt, so this year we were working really hard to come up with a plan that would allow us to hold an in-person Easter Egg Hunt,” said Chaperon. “Speaking with the local Health Unit, we had a great plan that would have allowed the community to join us once again at our property for an amazing day. Unfortunately, when we moved back into the red on March 22, we felt that it would prudent to change our plans once again.
“The biggest change is the requirement to ensure proper social distancing – many of our original plans for this year were focussed on this aspect. And now that our community is in red, we have decided that the safest route for the Easter Egg Hunt will be home delivery – all the fun, delivered right to your door.”
In the spirit of their traditional Easter Egg Hunt, the “hunt” is open to anyone living in the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands (TLTI) region, but you will have to register with the church in order to participate.
“This year, as we will be doing home deliveries, we will need the address and number of Easter Egg kits that the family requires,” she said. “We are preparing 400 kits and hope that they are enjoyed by the recipients. Each kit will contain an entry for a colouring contest (winners to be announced on April 11), a small Easter toy, an Easter Story booklet, a ‘Chalk the Walk’ challenge (with chalk), a juice box and, of course, chocolate eggs.”
To participate in the fun, go to www.thecornerstonegan.ca/events/easter-egg-hunt/2021-04-03 and click on the link. Follow the instructions to register.