Originally created 04/12/98

Service caters to golf fans



Worshipers at a Saturday Easter service weren't dressed in the typical church attire. Rather, they went wearing shorts, sunglasses and Masters Tournament T-shirts.

That's because many of them went to the service after leaving Augusta National Golf Club, where the tournament concludes today.

Trinity-on-the-Hill United Methodist Church held a special Easter service Saturday evening to accommodate those who were planning to be on the course this morning.

"I wouldn't feel right going to Masters and not going to church," said Frances Ellis of Augusta. "This is a super idea."

This was the first time the church has held a special Saturday service for Easter, because it has been several years since the Masters fell on the same weekend, said the Rev. David B. Jones.

"It is better for people to worship than not to," he said. "Some people may say we're making it easy for people. The fact is, it's Masters, and a lot of people are not going to come (to church)."

By the time the 7 p.m. service began, the small chapel was already filled to capacity, and the Rev. Jones was contemplating moving the more than 150 worshipers to the main sanctuary.

"I don't know if we'll get 10 or 200," he said before the service began. When he realized the attendance was getting close to 200, he was convinced that the effort wasn't in vain.

"This tells me that we'll do this again when Masters falls on Easter," he said.

The hour-long service included a two-person skit, a brief sermon and musical performances.

Attendees said they were grateful that they didn't have to choose between attending Masters and worshiping God on the holy day.

"I'm surprised that more churches aren't doing this," said Alice Norville of Cummings, Ga. "There's such a great need for this. Many people are going to be lining up at the gate (at Masters) at 8 a.m."