HANCOCK COUNTY — The shopping list includes 7½ to 8 dozen eggs.
They’re made into various egg casseroles: one with ham and cheese, one with sausage, one with Southwestern flavor and one with sausage, ham, mushroom and green pepper. Some eggs, instead of starring in the dish, become part of a French toast casserole.
Lee Guthrie will see that the casseroles are assembled tonight and popped into the oven Sunday morning at McCordsville United Methodist Church. He leads a team of men who cook for Easter breakfast at the church. Women of the church supplement their efforts with handmade breads or Danish rolls.
They’re among the cooks at countless churches who make Easter breakfast on a congregational scale as many Christians rise early Sunday to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection with songs, sermons and often food.
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Carolyn Swinford buys some corn flakes for the hash brown casserole she takes to a pitch-in breakfast at Otterbein United Methodist Church. The spread there typically includes egg casseroles, coffee cake, and a slow cooker filled with gravy and accompanied by biscuits.
Swinford said she doesn’t consider herself a stellar cook, but the casserole is easy to make, seems to consistently turn out well and often has been polished off by the end of breakfast and the socializing that accompanies it.
“It’s just a nice time to sit around and catch up … to visit with the people in the congregation,” Swinford said.
With childhood memories of a country church and a big Easter breakfast, Paul Bravard is pleased to see the congregation at Westland Friends Church come together in that way on Easter morning — so pleased that the pastor makes custom omelets for his parishioners.
They choose from green peppers, mushrooms, onions, cheese, ham, sausage and bacon. They fill a bowl with their choices and hand it to Bravard at his station. With his college-age son beating eggs, Bravard’s omelet process is streamlined to about 1 minute, 45 seconds.
With the sermon written and other preparations for the service already made, he finds the breakfast a relaxed time.
“Easter’s a great time for celebration and fellowship, and of course the best way to do it is over a nice meal,” Bravard said. “It’s a blessing to be there. Now it’s just a time to relax and have fellowship and enjoy it.”