South Mississippi Christians welcome Easter sunrise - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

South Mississippi Christians welcome Easter sunrise

By Sylvia Hall – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) – Christians across South Mississippi were up early Sunday morning, welcoming Easter at daybreak church services.  The Easter sunrise tradition reached its 45th year Sunday at the Home of Grace addiction treatment center in Vancleave.   

Voices rang out in song as the sun peeped over the trees.  The voices were that of the Home of Grace Men's Choir, and a soloist.  Prayers and praise welcomed the first shards of Easter light over Bluff Creek in Vancleave.

"We celebrate that Jesus of course walked out of the tomb on that morning many, many years ago," said Pastor Philip Price, who conducted the sunrise service.   "And so through the celebration to begin the day with a sunrise, is a very important experience to Christians all over the world."

Three crosses overlooked Bluff Creek and the crowd of early risers who came to celebrate.  They included community members, men and women enrolled in the program, staff and family of the program's founder, Brother Billy Barton.

"This service means a lot to us," said Business Manager Josh Barton, who is also Brother Billy Barton's grandson.  "It's a good time for the community to come out and see what's taking place at the Home of Grace, and it's just a wonderful service to see the sun come up."

"If we simply humble ourselves and ask him to save us then we will and we will repent of our sins, he will because of the fact that Jesus walked out of that tomb," said Price to the crowd.  "We're talking about powerful forgiveness."

Pastor Philip Price talked about the gift of forgiveness Christians believe comes from Christ's resurrection.  He said he's honored to celebrate Christianity's most important day in a place that gives new life to so many people.

"The real significance of the resurrection really is what goes through everything that's done here at the Home of Grace," said Price.  "Because there are many people that have kind of come to the end of their road, and through faith in Christ they have found hope."

It's a hope that Price and many others believe is easy to find in the early morning hours on the banks of Bluff Creek.

"We celebrate and praise you this morning," Price prayed.  "In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen."

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