Monday, April 05, 1999

Easter observers up early

Sunrise service treasured tradition

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Some Tristate Christians managed to greet the daybreak on Easter Sunday with song and worship, despite the time change that deprived many of sleep.

        “I'm not a morning person, but it was really worth it,” said Joan Effertz of Mount Lookout, who celebrated Easter at Ault Park Pavilion at 6:30 a.m.

        More than 100 people joined Ms. Effertz at Ault Park at a service sponsored by Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church. Arriving in the dark, the faithful held candles, sang and prayed as the sky lightened to gray. Such hymns as “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” were accompanied by a keyboard, two guitars and birds scattered throughout the park.

        The congregation has held the Easter dawn service for about 25 years.

        The service attracts members of the church and people from other congregations and denominations.

        “It's outdoors and it's a beautiful setting,” said Margaret Champion, 53, of Anderson Township, who belongs to Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church. She has attended the Ault Park service for more than a decade.

        “Since I was 5 or 6, I can remember my father getting up early on Easter mornings,” she said.

        At Southern Baptist Church in Avondale, members and visitors alike sang with the robed Sunrise Choir at the 7:30 a.m. service and prayed with Pastor C. Dennis Edwards.

        “This is the high point for Christians,” said Ken Johnson, 56, of Roselawn, who was visiting Southern Baptist. “It should be the focal point, because without the Resurrection we don't have any hope.”

        On Easter, Christians celebrate their belief that Jesus rose from the dead.

        Sunrise services recall a Gospel passage from Matthew, when Mary Magdalene and another Mary went to Jesus' tomb at daybreak and found an angel.


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