Sidney Churches Hosting Community-Wide Easter Sunrise Service
April 8, 2020
In the darkest days of the novel coronavirus pandemic, some Sidney clergy are convinced that it’s all the more important to remember that the sun will still rise, and that the Son has still risen. Planning a sunrise service on Easter morning with several churches, Audrey Rydbom of Pella Lutheran Church spoke to the Roundup about their plans to host the gathering with both traditional and creative components that will give community residents an opportunity to celebrate their faith in relative safety.
Rydbom told the Roundup, “People are divided enough and people are struggling. Followers of Jesus the Christ are to be a witness of our common bond. Jesus willingly and humbly went to the cross and died a horrendous death for all people and then, God raised Jesus from the dead to overcome the greatest fear people have, death. What Jesus accomplishes for us in these three days is a freedom to hope in life in all situations. This one hope crosses the barriers of all Christian denominations.”
The service is open to all the community and is being organized by Pella Lutheran, Fellowship Baptist, and the First Church of the Nazarene. The churches all have varying doctrines and, a point not lost on the organizers, and hold some stark differences in belief.
But Rydbom added, “We may be different in our piety, but can think of nothing more powerful to help heal division and be a light of hope in the midst of a pandemic then for all believers in Jesus to come together and be a witness to what Jesus accomplishes on the cross and the empty tomb.”
When asked if the pandemic complicates logistics of such a gathering, Rydbom said, “During this pandemic we need to be smart about how we worship. This means we will come together to worship by being apart. According to the CDC staying at least 6 feet apart, and not touching one another and common items, is working to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are fortunate that we have the technology to be able to worship and abide by these safety precautions. Therefore, come to worship, park your vehicle, stay in your vehicle, tune in to FM 98.1, and worship. You will hear God’s Word proclaimed and are encouraged to sing along to familiar Easter hymns. Worship is about God and what God does for us. God has given us the ability to worship safely; let’s do it. Thank you, Fellowship Baptist for providing the FM transmitter.”
Rydbom said it was important for the whole community to be invited. She asserted, “It would be wonderful if the parking lot was over-flowing on Easter morning. God sent His only Son for the salvation of the world, emphasis on ‘the world.’ The world is invited to worship and give thanks to God for what God has first done for us. There are no limits or exclusions for God’s love; there are no limits or exclusions for worship.”
Easter is a holiday of Christian tradition celebrating and commemorating the resurrection of Christ. Of this historic tradition, Rydbom claimed, “We are a resurrection people. Each day we are given the ability to wake up and give God the glory by loving and serving others pandemic or no pandemic. People are sick; people have lost their livelihood by no fault of their own; people are struggling emotionally due to isolation; people have died; and people are struggling spiritually wondering where God is in all of this. The significance of Easter, this year, is the proclamation that there is hope; all of these worries are temporal. Jesus is alive and loose in the world creating something new.”
Rydbom concluded, “The followers of Jesus need to be on the front lines proclaiming this Good News. Sunday morning at sunrise we will proclaim for all the world to hear that Christ is alive!”
The service will be held at the Sidney Country Club parking lot, with adjacent parking lots of Fellowship Baptist Church and Miller’s Corner gas station as overflow parking if necessary. Clergy, who will be reading scripture in between hymns, will be lifted via a scissors jack so the entire crowd can see them. Fellowship Baptist Church is providing the worship music and equipment.
Clergy who would like to participate in Scripture readings can call Pastor Richard Evans 1-719-244-4743. The gathering will start at 6 a.m. and the sun rises at 6:10 a.m.