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Valley Stream Christians discuss faith and Easter plans

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When most people think of Easter they think of bunnies, candy and egg hunts. 

But for Christians it is a day to commemorate their belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In the days leading up to the special day, a handful Valley Stream residents reflected on the meaning of Easter, and how they will spend the holiday differently this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Easter is not just about bunnies and coloring eggs, but it’s a serious holiday about Jesus, who really died and suffered pain, beating and scorching to give Christians eternal life and forgiveness for our sins of our past, present and future,” said Valley Stream resident, Elizabeth Reyes, 57, who attends Edge City Church in Lynbrook. “Christians have to then go and spread love, give a listening ear to others and help others financially, mentally, psychologically and emotionally and in any other way.” 

Reyes, who became a Christian in 2003, said that despite the pandemic she has been going to church every Sunday since September, and this past week, and was still excited for Easter. In normal times, she would host a family dinner with many extended family members. With the danger of virus transmission still high, however, she still won’t be able to see them, including her daughter, who is away at college in Ohio.

Instead, Reyes said, she looked forward to attending church with her immediate family; her husband and son, and having dinner with them afterwards.

Valley Stream resident, Steve Vaccaro, 56, said on Easter he and his wife and family planned to attend service at the Valley Stream Presbyterian Church. Throughout Vaccaro’s youth, he grew up in various foster homes, where he was exposed to a number of different religions. However, he said he always found that Christianity stood out to him the most, and he said his relationship with Jesus was always strong. 

“Easter is a time of reflection while rebuilding and maintaining your relationship with Jesus Christ,” Vaccaro said. “Easter is also a time to remember how important family is and that God wants humans to be united no matter what nationality, race or creed we are.”

He would be hosting a smaller gathering with only immediate family due to the pandemic, but his family made plans to have a Zoom meeting with extended family to pray together throughout meal time. 

“It’s a bit disappointing and sad that our family gathering will be smaller this year, but, I still believe that Easter is about sharing God’s love with others,” he said. “I’ll be handing out turkeys for free to families who can’t get out of the house during the pandemic to get food to make Easter dinner. I can’t sit down for a meal this Sunday knowing that there are others who can’t do so.”

Valley Stream resident, Nameet Harish, who attends Bethlehem Assembly of God Church in Valley Stream, where he serves as the young adult ministry director, said that for Easter he planned to attend church with his family.

“We’re all seekers of truth and we all have hope hardwired into our DNA …  and Easter  has meant since the beginning; victory, truth, hope and eternal life through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Harish said. “None of us likes to lose when it matters and we’re desperately looking for things to bring our lives meaning, and the resurrection of Jesus brings to us a much needed and long forgotten message of victory … Without Jesus there is no Christianity and no Easter.”