CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The French Huguenot Church in Downtown Charleston will have in-person Easter mass for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

A full congregation is expected at the church on Sunday where the capacity is 200 people. Church goers are excited to be back.

“I think it’s important to be together for this most special time of year,” said Anne Baldwin. “I love the people. The people are warm, loving, kind and sweet.”

The French Huguenot Church reopened in the fall of 2021 and some worshippers were hesitant to come back in person. But Reverend David Woody says that there is a great benefit to having people in the pews.

“We realized that we can worship at home. But there’s something special about gathering in this space together,” said Reverend Woody. “There really is something wonderful about gathering together in God’s name that you don’t get when you sit on your sofa.”

The mass will be a major difference from Easter in 2021, when congregants had to watch the service on a live stream.

The online broadcasts have helped the church through the pandemic and given them a larger reach. Up to 200 people will watch mass from their computers.

“It means a lot to the people to be able to come and worship here. They feel that they are closer to God in this place and we are just delighted,” said Reverend Phillip Bryant. “We have found that people have started coming back when we reopened the church last fall.”

Reverend Bryant says that he is happy to preach in front of a crowd that has grown more every week.

“It’s all the difference in the world. If you have a response from people whether it’s humor or seeing the people’s faces without masks on it makes a lot of difference,” said Reverend Bryant.

The church donated to charity throughout the pandemic. This year they are donating to the Star Gospel Mission.

“This year we focused on the Star Gospel Mission. We sent some Easter baskets over there ready for the men to open them up on Easter Sunday. We have food going in. Our church wants to provide the Easter meal again,” said Reverend Charles Baldwin.