Local churches celebrate Easter
Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 23, 2011
All week long, local congregations have been worshipping together in anticipation of Easter Sunday.
Traditionally, it is the most well-attended Sunday service of the year as Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ.
For Christians, this is the day that Jesus came back to life, or was raised from the dead, three days after his death on the cross on Good Friday.
First Baptist Church Pastor Fred Karthaus said that his church celebrates Jesus’ resurrection every Sunday, but especially on Easter Sunday.
“The Holy Week, which begins Palm Sunday, continues on Good Friday, and culminates with Easter Sunday, is a special time in all Christian churches,” he said. “We believe Good Friday is the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, and God’s once and for all sacrificial atonement for mankind’s sin.”
Karthaus said Easter is the day Christians celebrate God’s raising Jesus from the dead and once and for all, conquering death.
“Both days are essential to our salvation and our relationship with God,” he said. “We celebrate Easter with a worship service focused on Jesus’ resurrection. It is a very exciting day of worship, where we emphasize our new life in Christ.”
“On the third day, He said He would rise again, and He did,” said First Presbyterian minister Dale Sallans.
In the Western world, Easter marks the end of the Lenten period, which is a 40-day period of fasting, repentance and spiritual discipline to prepare one’s heart for Easter.
“We started the Lenten period with Ash Wednesday,” Sallans said. “We had a Maundy Thursday service, in which we remember Jesus giving us the command to service. We had the service of Tenebrae. The church is dark, and you have 12 disciple candles and a big Jesus candle.”
During the service, Sallans said there are passages read and the candles are extinguished, until only the Christ candle remains.
“Finally, the Christ candle goes out,” Sallans said. “People sit in the dark for about a half minute and then they leave.
“This really sets the tone for Easter service,” he said. “It is dark and very solemn music is being played. A young lady will light the Christ candle, and it will signify the resurrection. It helps remind us what a joyous time the time of Easter is.”
On Friday, local churches commemorated the crucifixion with Good Friday services.
Christians believe that through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, he paid the penalty for sin, thus those who believe in him will have eternal life in Christ.
Fr. Tony Pullukattu, parish priest at Christ the King Catholic Church, said Easter is about “peace, joy and hope.”
“The resurrection of Jesus, for us is the feast of all feasts,” he said. “It is the basis of our faith.”
Pullukattu said at the crucifixion, all seemed to be defeated and lost.
“From there it’s a long journey to resurrection – even though its only three days,” he said. “It brought all hope for a new life. We are created by God with a plan to enjoy the eternal life after death.”
• Annual Easter sunrise service – Andalusia Memorial Cemetery at 6 a.m.
• Rawls Baptist Church – Easter cantata and homecoming, 11 a.m. Lunch follows.
• First Baptist Church Whatley Street – sunrise service at 6 a.m.
• Eldridge’s annual sunrise service – 6:30 a.m. beside the pond at 811 Sanford Road in Andalusia.
• Fairmount Baptist Church in Red Level – Easter sunrise services at 6:30 a.m. with breakfast to follow. Sunday school at 10 a.m. and worship at 11 a.m. with the Easter musical and sermon. No evening services.
• Bethany Baptist Church – sunrise service at 6:45 a.m.
• East Highland Baptist Church – sunrise service at 8 a.m.
• First Baptist Church Whatley Street – morning worship and children’s program after worship.
• Philadelphia Baptist Church – Easter worship service at 10 a.m.
• Mobley Creek Baptist Church – Easter program “Christ Arose” at 10 a.m. Breakfast at 8:30 a.m. No evening services.
• Bethany Baptist Church – Easter cantata at 10:30 a.m.
• Greentree Christian Fellowship – Easter service at 10:30 a.m.
• Andalusia First Baptist Church – Easter service at 10:30 a.m.
• Westview (Opp) Baptist Church – Easter message: “History’s Greatest Question” at 10:30 a.m.
• Bethel AME – Easter worship with program to follow at 11 a.m.
• Andalusia First United Methodist Church – Easter cantata at 11 a.m.
• Florala First United Methodist Church – Easter service at 11 a.m.
• East Highland Baptist Church – Easter morning worship at 11 a.m.
• St. Peter Baptist Church – Easter worship program at 11 a.m.
• Andalusia First Presbyterian Church – Easter worship service at 11 a.m. Church-wide fellowship afterward.
• Christ the King Catholic Church – Easter Sunday resurrection of the Lord confessions at 10:30 a.m.
• Christ the King Catholic Church – Easter Mass at 11:15 a.m.