Celebrating Easter Sunday in God’s setting was enough to bring many community people out early Sunday morning.
Lloyd Beach at Maryville College saw more than 200 folks come to worship at the area overlooking the Maryville College soccer and softball fields as the sun came up.
“It was lovely,” said Rev. Anne McKee, who led the service. “We printed 200 bulletins and ran out. We probably had 225 to 250, so it was a good crowd, and it was just a lovely service. People bring chairs and blankets and watch the sun come up. The music was good, with a brass quartet of folks from the college and some who play in a community band. The music was led by Alcoa High School band director Bryant Adler.”
The service started at 6:30 a.m. and lasted about 45 minutes.
McKee said there were a good mix of people at the event. “There are some people who are very aware of the long tradition of sunrise services at Maryville College, and they always come. It has meaning for them for the present but also for this long tradition they are familiar with,” she said. “Because the Easter story takes place at sunrise, for many people the service and setting has tremendous meaning -- to see the sun come up and remember the events surrounding the resurrection.”
Students also come to start their Easter Sunday at sunrise. “I think there are also folks connected to the college, especially students who live on campus, who roll out of bed to attend. We also have quite a few faculty and staff from the college who come,” said McKee.
The service can also provide an Easter home for others in the community who may not have a regular place to worship.
“There also some who may not be part of a worshiping community but who want to recognize Easter in some way. This is a very welcoming place to celebrate Easter and to worship for people who may not have normal church home.”