In this town where basketball is almost a religion, something has to give.
Tip-off for the nationally televised contest between the Kansas University Jayhawks basketball team and the Maryland Terrapins in Atlanta will be at 7:47 p.m. Saturday on CBS-TV. That's just about the time many Lawrence churches will be having their Easter vigil services.
So observant Christians who are also big Jayhawk fans could face a difficult choice unless they belong to one of several Lawrence congregations that have found ways to squeeze the divine and the sublime into a single big evening.
"We have a PowerPoint screen in the front of our church, and we're going to project the game onto it. It's huge, and the sound's going to be great," said the Rev. Darrel Proffitt, senior pastor at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, 5700 W. Sixth St.
St. Margaret's will move its Easter vigil to earlier in the evening 6:45 p.m., well ahead of tip-off and wrap it up just before the game begins.
Then the after-service basketball party with the game projected on the PowerPoint screen begins.
"We did move (the vigil) forward. It's an opportunity to reach some people that we maybe wouldn't have reached otherwise," Proffitt said of the after-vigil party. "If there's something going on in the world that people are excited about, we want to take every opportunity to uphold that, get people to come into our building and celebrate with them and at the same time, share God's love."
Proffitt is a 1979 KU graduate and loyal Jayhawk.
It'll be much the same at KU's Episcopal and Lutheran (ELCA) Campus Ministry at Canterbury House, 1116 La.
"We're going to our Great Vigil of Easter at 6 p.m., and then we'll have our Final Four party afterwards. We'll have a full-blown meal with pretty fancy sandwich making, and we'll watch on a big TV we bought for the Super Bowl a few years ago," said the Rev. Joe Alford, Canterbury House chaplain.
The ministry would normally start its Easter vigil services around 7:30 p.m. But not this year, when the Jayhawks are making their much-awaited appearance in Atlanta.
"We know that no one would be here if the vigil was during the game. We might have four or five people, literally. We know where people's loyalty lies, and we just try to work it out," Alford said.
But in other Lawrence churches, tradition will reign.
They will have their Easter vigil at the usual time at least 30 minutes to an hour after sunset.
At St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 1229 Vt., services will start at 8 p.m. and last a couple of hours.
"My inclination is to think there will be folks who are going to sneak off and watch a TV or listen to a radio and report back to other folks what's going on," said Pat Lechtenberg, pastoral associate.
"There won't be any public announcements (from the pulpit) the liturgy is too solemn and important to interrupt. But the word will get around."