Sunrise Service

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For Christians around the world, Easter marks the celebration of the resurrection of a sacrificed Savior. Churches in the Meridian area were packed this morning and many held sunrise services.

Shortly after six on Sunday morning, the sun began to rise over Okatibbee Lake. Soon after that, several churches from Collinsville began their sunrise service at the beach. Organizers say that having the congregations from all of the churches together for one service is something that brings Christians together.

"Bringing all these churches together is a wonderful thing. We've been doing this for quite a number of years. I've been here for about ten years and the pastors always get together before this time and we plan this service," said Pastor Hal Bates of the First Baptist Church of Collinsville.

All of the planning for Sunday's service was contingent on the weather. Bates says that he couldn't have asked for better weather this year. The last two Easter Sunrise Services in Collinsville have been moved inside.

The music was provided by the Collinsville United Methodist Church and Pastor Richard Smith of the First Church of God delivered a message of faith and dedication to God.

"We wanted to bring all of the churches together this morning to celebrate as a show of unity. And as a community to worship the Lord together and show the foundation of our community as being faith," said Pastor Smith.

Bates says that the Bible provides the meaning behind the Sunrise Service.

"The reason why we have a sunrise service, we feel like that in Matthew and Luke, the Bible tells us that a great while before day. Mary and some other ladies went to the tomb. And there they found the tomb empty," said Bates.

Church leaders say that empty tomb provides the reason for Christians around the world to celebrate, not only on Easter Sunday, but every day.