FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Today marks Good Friday, and at sunrise on Sunday, different congregations from across Southwest Florida will be celebrating Easter together at City of Palms park for a Sunrise Service.
About 3,000 people usually attend this service, which is now in its 21st year. Here today to tell what you can expect from this year's service and all the details is Pastor Gary Cox.
Doors open at 5:30 a.m. for the Easter Sunrise service, which begins at 6:30 a.m. There is no admission for the service or for parking at City of Palms Park (former Red Sox stadium). Free coffee and pastries also will be served both before and after the service.
The inspirational message will be delivered by Pastor Cox of First Christian Church in Fort Myers. Ministers from a dozen area churches participated in the planning of this year's annual Easter Sunrise service, which has become a tradition in Fort Myers.
Supporting the program will be Rev. John Q. Daugherty and Rev. David Pleasant, co-pastors of CityGate Ministries (formerly known as First Baptist Church of Fort Myers and Elevation Ministries); Rev. Jeff DeYoe of Covenant Presbyterian Church; Rev. Paul deJong of First Presbyterian Church of Fort Myers; Rev. Chris McNeill of First United Methodist Church; Rev. Arlene Jackson of Grace United Methodist Church - Fort Myers Central; Rev. Dr. William Glover of Mount Hermon Ministries; Rev. Philip D. Read, II, SSC, of St. Luke's Episcopal Church; and Rev. Dr. Israel Suarez of Templo Cristiano El Buen Samaritano.
Additional churches are encouraged to bring their congregations to the service as well, according to organizers. The Community Easter Sunrise Service has been a tradition since the 1950s and has moved over the years from the Fort Myers High School Stadium to Centennial Park to City of Palms Park.
"We welcome and encourage everyone to join us on Easter Sunday for this community-wide worship service," said Rev. McNeill, who is the chairman of this year's planning committee. "We have room for 7,000 people at City of Palms Park and we'd like to pack the place with people who wish to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
Music will be provided by the Bower School of Music Chamber Choir with praise music by Grace United Methodist Church - Fort Myers Central Campus. The service will be inter-denominational.
For more information about the Community Easter Sunrise Service, call (239) 332-1152 or visit www.cityofpalmssunrise.org.