Photos: Churches greet Easter sunrise with worship

Churches across the United Church of Christ rose before the sun on Easter morning and gathered at gardens, beaches, and a variety of outdoor settings to join the longtime tradition of holding Easter sunrise services.

Some bundled up and built fires, while others sang in warm church courtyards to greet the morning light coming into the world on the resurrection holiday.

Below are photo highlights of Sunday’s Easter sunrise services at UCC gatherings around the country.

Folk hymns and flower cross in California

First Church Berkeley in Berkeley, California.

First Congregational Church of Berkeley, California, has been meeting before dawn on Easter in a parking lot on the University of California, Berkeley, campus for around 25 years, which offers sweeping views of the Golden Gate bridge and San Francisco while being fully accessible.

“We sing traditional and folk Easter hymns to guitar and ukulele (‘Lord of the Dance’ with silly dances!), have a fire pit to warm ourselves around (most welcome!), donuts and coffee, sometimes a version of communion (this year rock candy to simulate rolling away the stone from the tomb), and last year added a flower cross — children put a variety of flowers into a cross covered in chicken wire,” said the Rev. Molly Baskette, co-senior minister at First Church Berkeley.

‘Anticipation and hope’ in Florida

Coral Gables Congregational UCC in Coral Gables, Florida.

Coral Gables Congregational UCC in Florida held a sunrise service in the church’s courtyard.

“While we have several services on Easter Sunday, the sunrise service is unique,” said Elena Korallis, communications coordinator for Coral Gables. “We gather in the early light of our verdant courtyard amongst flowering orchids and the music of the morning birds. We imagine ourselves with the women going to the tomb and finding the stone rolled away. With a harp, vocal quartet, and the pastors, this quieter, more peaceful service is filled with anticipation and hope for the wonderous news of what this day brings.”

Youth lead in Connecticut

First Congregational Church of Vernon, Connecticut, gathers outdoors. Photo by Allan Newton.

In Connecticut, church and community members gathered in the Memorial Garden of First Congregational Church of Vernon for their Easter Sunrise Service.

“We have a tradition of confirmation students assisting in leading this special service,” said the Rev. Alisa Dickhoff, associate pastor.

Red Rock celebration in Colorado

Thousands attended the Colorado Council of Churches’ event at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado. Photo by Dee Cooper.

Thousands attended the Easter Sunrise Service at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, held annually by the Colorado Conference of Churches.

The Rev. Erin Gilmore, Acting Conference Minister for the UCC Rocky Mountain Conference served as the preacher for the gathering. The event was livestreamed and is available for viewing.

To see more photos from Easter sunrise services, click through the slideshow below.

Beavercreek United Church of Christ in Oregon gather for a sunrise service near the church which includes music and adorning a cross with flowers.

Union United Church of Christ in Neffs, Pennsylvania, kindled a fire for their Easter morning Sunrise in the Grove service.

First Filipino-American United Church of Christ in San Bruno, California, gathers at the home of a church member for a Sunrise Service on their deck, followed by food and fellowship.

Pilgrim Church of Duxbury in Massachusetts gathers for the sunrise over Duxbury Beach during Easter Service. Photo by Dwight B. Shepard.

The Rev. Erin Gilmore, Acting Conference Minister for the UCC Rocky Mountain Conference, preaches at the Colorado Council of Churches Easter Sunrise Service in Colorado.

First Church Berkeley in California hosts an interactive sunrise service overlooking San Francisco.

Coral Gables UCC in Florida hosts communion at the Sunrise Service in the church courtyard.

Attendees at the Beavercreek United Church of Christ Sunrise Service in Oregon affix flowers to the cross.

Students of the confirmation class help lead the Sunrise Service at First Congregational Church of Vernon, Connecticut.

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Categories: United Church of Christ News

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