Easter is a time for the renewal of hope and faith.
As a society still struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic and all of its ramifications, goodness knows we need some good news and encouragement.
Rev. Hunter Hickman, senior pastor of Real Life Church of the Nazarene (Real Life Naz) in Galion, said he hopes an initiative his congregation is involved in will help bring some light into the community during this Easter season.
The church is hosting a citywide Easter egg hunt this week with four-foot tall eggs hidden in plain sight at seven locations around Galion. In a different spin on the traditional egg hunt, instead of physically collecting the eggs, participants collect clues about the location of the next egg. The clues are located on the back of each egg. The hunt began Monday with the first egg stashed at Phil’s Deli on Harding Way West.
“COVID has changed how we can do Easter egg hunts,” Hickman said. “So why not do a community-wide event where families can be involved? Families can get connected and enjoy time as a family and go outside and do something that’s still COVID-safe. So we worked with the (Galion-Crestline Area) Chamber of Commerce to set up these eggs throughout Galion and intentionally put them in places that could use the business, that would love having people come into their place. It’s been cool to have the businesses partner with us in this project.”
Hickman said the clues on the eggs carry the message of Easter to those who find them.
“Every egg has a section of the story of Jesus, this passion narrative,” Hickman said. “A short scripture passage is included and I give a ‘so what’ statement. It’s a brief explanation of why this matters for us. And there’s a ‘today’ statement. It might be a prayer or what we’re hoping for them to get out of it today, what it means and how it impacts them. That’s on the back of every egg along with the clue for the next location.”
People who participate in the hunt can register to win Easter baskets that will be given away during the Easter Sunday service at Real Life Naz. The service begins at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.
The final egg is located in the sanctuary at Real Life Naz, Hickman said. The other egg locations are H&K Watkins, DK’s Drive In, Beca Coffee House, Magnolia Terrace, and the Galion Community Center YMCA.
“Magnolia Terrace has the Easter bunny there ready to take pictures with people for free,” Hickman said. “And they did the two Easter baskets for us as well to give away on Sunday.”
Get to know the pastor
Hickman was installed as senior pastor of Real Life Church of the Nazarene in November 2019. It’s his first time being a senior pastor after serving as a youth minister at churches in California and Tennessee for the six years prior to coming to Galion.
Hickman said serving in Galion has been a wonderful experience for his family. He and his wife, Ashley, have two children.
“We’ve enjoyed being here and being part of this church,” said Hickman, who is an alumnus of Mount Vernon Nazarene University. “This church has been phenomenal, just inviting us in. Been great for our family. Excited to be in Galion.”
Hickman grew up in the area and attended Gospel Baptist Church in Galion when he was a youngster. He said he felt the call to be a minister at a young age.
“I knew I was going to be a pastor when I was 10 years old, and I’m here now,” Hickman said.
For information about Real Life Church of the Nazarene, visit www.reallifenaz.com. The church is located at 777 Fairview Avenue.