Churches celebrate Easter sunrise services on the beach

Churches celebrate Easter sunrise services on the beach

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - As the sun crept up past the horizon early Easter morning, hundreds of people were outside to greet it.

The group came from five different congregations to have sunrise service at Long Beach Pavilion, a tradition that has lasted decades.

"I came out here to worship the Lord on this beautiful Easter morning and to support my church," said Long Beach resident Candis Reif.

"I love it, yeah. Especially all the people that are here, they're all friendly people, we love the church and everybody." added first-timer Angel Hargraves.

Besides being outdoors, the service was fairly traditional; including several hymnals and readings from Corinthians.

Father James Smith says although it is unusual to combine different denominations in one service, it's something the Coast is used to doing after Katrina demolished church buildings.

"St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, we actually used one of the other faith's worship space for our services for a while," said Smith. "This is sort of a way of expressing our gratitude for the community and our love for the community, and that we are able to work together in mutual strength."

The uniqueness of the sunrise service lies in its symbolism.

"The sun rising in symbolic of Christ himself rising from the dead," Smith added.

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