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Alliance continues Easter tradition

Worshippers at Havens Gardens greet the sun with song and prayer on Easter morning at the community Easter sunrise service last year. The service, a project of the Interfaith Alliance, is free and open to the public. (WDN File Photo/Christ Prokos)

Sunrise at Havens Gardens is a wash of pink sky mirrored by the Pamlico River, budding trees on the banks a frame for the break of day. The place, the time, inspire reflection, and next Sunday, April 8, pastors and worshippers of four Washington churches will be gathering riverside at 7:30 a.m. to reflect upon the most important holy day in the Christian Church: Easter Sunday.

The pastors of First Baptist Church, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), First Presbyterian Church and First United Methodist Church will jointly lead the assembled congregation in an interfaith service open to the public.

“It’s a come-as-you-are, casual, however you’re dressed, event,” said First Presbyterian Church pastor Lee Kinney. “We’ve had people come in suits and ties and others dressed like they just got off the boat. It’s a nice mix of people.”

The Easter sunrise service tradition began three decades ago, the creation of the Interfaith Alliance, in which members of the different churches worked together to unify the church community. Their work has continued with the current iteration of the Sunday service: special music by a contemporary praise band; each pastor leading part of the service, with pastor Jimmy Moore (First Baptist) speaking the sermon, and pastor Danny Allen (First United Methodist) reading scripture.

“(The service) shows that while we are diverse in the expressions of our faith, we are unified in the resurrection of Christ,” explained Kinney.

Kinney expects a large turnout for the event, as historically “well over 200 people” have attended, none of which are required to be members of the four churches, according to Kinney.

“The public is absolutely invited,” said Kinney. “This service is for the community.”

A pancake breakfast will be held at First Baptist Church, on the corner of East Main and Harvey streets, after the sunrise service.

Havens Gardens is located at the 400 block of East Main St. In case of rain, the service will be moved indoors to First Baptist Church, 310 E. Main St.