Group Celebrates Easter Sunrise Service

Knoxville (WVLT) -- For many of us Easter is a time when we look to reaffirm our faith and traditions. One such tradition is attending Easter Sunday church services at sunrise.

On the holiest day of the Christian year, temperatures rivaled that of the brisk Christmas season.

It was Easter Sunday at the East Tennessee Veteran's Cemetery and a new day was beginning to dawn.

Rising majestically into the sky, the Sun did little to warm up record low temperatures, but a group had still gathered to prove that morning frost can put no chill on the faithful.

They arrive just before 7, a few hours earlier than their normal church service and in weather that was a few degrees colder than the April date would suggest.

"I have on my winter coat," said Amy Leslie who attended the service, "not spring or summer. It is winter today."

As the Sun rose in the sky, songs of praise echoed through the cemetery's rotunda. It was the perfect symbol for the group's nearly four decade old Easter tradition that started years ago at Lakeshore Park.

Even though the sunrise service has only been at this location for the past three years, talk of the resurrection, has been ongoing for centuries. It only makes sense that this denominationally diverse group would meet on the sacred ground of a cemetery, perhaps as a way to remember man's mortality.

Group members spanned the protestant christian ranks and included Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Church of God members.

"It's ecumenical, said Rev. Chris Carrasco from the Westminster Presbyterian Church, "we try to include as many churches as possible in this service."

Rev. Mark Moreland from the Central Baptist Church of Bearden sees the multi-denominational service as a way to see Christianity's big picture.

"The church is not just one particular building with it's brick and mortar," he said. "It's a larger body of people, which is referred to as the body of Christ."

As the service progressed so too did the Sun's position in the sky, finally providing warmth to the congregations bodies to match the warmth the service provided their souls.

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