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Symbolic sunrise service is traditional start for Easter

Oklahoma City area Easter sunrise services, some held outdoors, are aimed at celebrating Christ's Resurrection with themes of nature.
by Carla Hinton Published: April 7, 2012

Christian churches throughout the metro area and state will host special services and activities on Easter Sunday — all expected to draw the largest crowds of the year.

One service in particular, the Easter sunrise service, remains popular though attendees may be relatively small in number.

Church members gather before dawn for an Easter ritual that links them to many of the themes found within the Passion story, particularly the early morning visit to Jesus' burial place made by several women, as chronicled in the biblical book of Luke: “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus (Luke 24: 1-3).”

Numerous churches, such as United Methodist Church of the Servant, host the sunrise services. The Rev. Tim Travers, the church's minister of congregational care, said the church's sunrise service, set for 6:30 a.m. Sunday, has been held at the Resurrection Memorial Cemetery Chapel, 7801 Northwest Expressway, for many years.

He said the congregation formerly met at the chapel when the church initially started, and even with the church's permanent church building at 14343 N MacArthur Blvd., some members still like having the sunrise service at the chapel.

“It's a long-standing tradition that people enjoy,” Travers said.

He said the service is held inside the chapel, but Communion is served under a canopy outdoors if weather permits. “We time is such that the sun is peeking up at the East and they get to take Communion as they face East. There's symbolism there.

He said the chapel includes a mausoleum so some church members may be reminded of the tomb from which the resurrected Jesus arose. “It serves a little bit deeper meaning and in a modern way, we experience the Resurrection of that day,” Travers said.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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