A community Easter sunrise service will be held at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 4, on the levee at Marietta. In case of inclement weather, the service will be moved to Christ United Methodist Church at 301 Wooster St., Marietta.
Area residents and visitors are invited to participate in this community tradition, at whichever location it will be held.
The tradition of outdoor sunrise services, which are often held in cemeteries, goes back many centuries to the Dark Ages in Europe, according to Pastor Doug Stockton of Christ United Methodist Church.
In the United States, Easter sunrise services did not become established until the latter half of the 1800s and, as the tradition grew, entire communities also began scheduling sunrise services to mark Christ's resurrection. By the 1920s, thousands were turning out in communities to relive and celebrate the first Easter.
This Easter, many churches and communities around the world will be meeting outdoors just before dawn. There will even be services in the Holy Land at the spot believed to be Jesus Christ's tomb.
All these services serve as an echo of the most important moment in Christian history, when sin and death were conquered and the world was greeted with a Sonrise at sunrise, Stockton said.
Barlow Presbyterian Church in Barlow will have a Lenten service at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Maundy Thursday services will be held at 7 p.m. on April 1 at the church.
Easter Sunday services will held at 10 a.m. April 4 at the church.
Crown of Life Lutheran
Crown of Life Lutheran Church invites families in the community to share the good news of Easter with "The Easter Experience," a program being held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 27, at the church at Third and Wooster streets, Marietta.
The re-enactment of the first Easter morning will take place in the fellowship hall, which will be decorated to look like the scene at the open tomb. The angel will explain that Jesus is no longer there.
An "apostle" will guide guests through the events of Easter and the Ascension. A video, "The Road to Emmaus," will run continuously.
The "Easter Experience" lasts about 30 minutes with groups of six or more starting every 15 minutes.
Children's activities will include games, a craft, story, songs and an indoor egg hunt. Light refreshments will be served.
Theme for the church's Palm Sunday worship service at 9:30 a.m. on March 28 will be "Hail to the King!" Pastor Joel Vogel's sermon text will be Isaiah 45:22-25. A brief fellowship time with light refreshments will follow the morning worship.
Sunday school will begin at 11 a.m. with classes for all ages. After watching "The Road to Emmaus," the adult class, under the direction of Vogel, will critique the video.
For more information: 374-3664.
The Easter portion of Handel's "Messiah," including the "Hallelujah Chorus," will be presented at 7 p.m. on Palm Sunday, March 28, at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1710 23rd St., Parkersburg.
The concert, a collaborative effort by Parkersburg area churches, will be directed by Jean Singer.
The concert is co-sponsored by Emmanuel Baptist and St. Andrews United Methodist churches. The choir consists of singers from both churches, as well as from Christ United Methodist, First Presbyterian and First United Methodist churches, and from the community.
Proceeds from a freewill offering will benefit Habitat for Humanity and Old Man Rivers.
A reception in the church's fellowship hall will follow the concert.
Faith, Norwood UM
A combined Easter cantata will be presented by Faith and Norwood United Methodist churches at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 28, at Faith United Methodist Church, 503 Seventh St., Marietta.
The churches' combined choirs will present "Hosanna" by Joe E. Parks. The cantata will be directed by Michael Dunaway and accompanied by Robin Littleton.
A freewill offering will benefit Harvest of Hope. A fellowship reception will follow the performance.
Also, there will be Maundy Thursday services at 7 p.m. on April 1 at Norwood United Methodist Church, and Good Friday services at 7 p.m. April 2 at Faith United Methodist Church.
Easter Week services are planned at First Baptist Church, 301 Fourth St., Marietta.
Palm Sunday, March 28 - Worship will be at 9:30 a.m. with the Sanctuary and Children's choirs performing. Sunday school will be at 10:45 a.m.
Maundy Thursday, April 1 - Pastor Steve Bilyeu will be officiating for the 7 p.m. service and the Sanctuary Choir will be singing. Commemoration of the Last Supper will be observed in the church sanctuary.
Good Friday, April 2 - A service on "The Way of the Cross" will be held at 7 p.m. in the church sanctuary. Mary Nuzum will perform a solo.
Easter Sunday, April 4 - In "Celebration of the Resurrection" there will be a sunrise service starting at 6:45 a.m. at the Harmar School parking lot overlooking the Ohio River. Emily Garrity, the church's children's and college minister, will bring the message on "Love's Redeeming Work Is Done."
There will be a Resurrection Worship Service at 9:30 a.m. in the church sanctuary at 301 Fourth St., Marietta. Pastor Bilyeu will bring the message on "When An Ending Is Actually A Beginning" based on John 20:1-18. The Sanctuary Choir will sing the Easter Anthem. The new Rotation Sunday School Model, for students in kindergarten through the fifth grade, will begin at 10:45 a.m.
For more information: 373-1273.
Holy Week and Easter services have been planned for First Presbyterian Church, 501 Fourth St., Marietta. They include:
Palm Sunday, March 28 - The Palm Sunday service will begin at 10:15 a.m.
Holy Week - The readings of Holy Week will be held from 7 to 7:15 a.m. Monday through Friday, March 29 to April 2, in the church chapel.
Maundy Thursday - The Maundy Thursday service will begin at 7 p.m. April 1 in the church sanctuary.
Easter Sunday - First Presbyterian will join with First Congregational Church at 318 Front St., Marietta, for an Easter sunrise service at 7 a.m. A carry-in breakfast will follow in the First Congregational Fellowship Hall.
First Presbyterian's regular worship on Easter Sunday will begin at 10:15 a.m. in the church sanctuary.
Special April services are planned at Gilman United Methodist Church, 312 Gilman St., Marietta. They are:
Maundy Thursday - There will be a Maundy Thursday service at 7 p.m. on April 1 with a special message by Pastor Diann O'Bryant. There will also be a presentation of "The Day Before He Died," a re-enactment of the Lord's Supper and Jesus' arrest.
Good Friday - A Good Friday service will be held at 7 p.m. on April 2 with a message on "The Office of Tenebrae" to be delivered by O'Bryant. The service will include Scripture and the extinguishing of candles.
Easter - A special Easter message on "From Despair to Hope" will be delivered by O'Bryant at 10:30 a.m. on April 4.
Little Hocking UM
The Little Hocking United Methodist Church will be celebrating the Easter season with the following services:
Maundy Thursday - A Maundy Thursday service on "Jesus in the Passover Meal" will be held at 6 p.m. on April 1.
Easter Sunday - A sunrise service and breakfast will be held at 7 a.m. on April 4. The church's Easter worship service will begin at 9 a.m.
For more information: (740) 989-2374.
Low Gap CU
Low Gap Christian Union Church on Ohio 26 at Graysville will be having a Palm Sunday service at 4 p.m. on March 28.
A carry-in dinner will follow.
Lower Salem area
The Lower Salem United Methodist, Pleasant Hill United Methodist, Lawrence Baptist and Muskingum Valley Baptist churches have been having special Sunday evening services during Lent.
The final service in the series will begin at 6 p.m. March 28 at Muskingum Valley Baptist on Tice Run Road (Washington County 406) in Ludlow Township. There will be special music by Kristi Shawver. Speaker will be Pastor Lou Verdi.
For more information: 373-8510.
Marietta Bible Center
There will be a day of preaching featuring "The Seven Last Sayings of Christ On the Cross" on Friday, April 2, at Marietta Bible Center Church.
Sessions will begin at 9 a.m., with additional sessions at 1 p.m. and at 7 p.m.
Speakers will be Tim Jaynes, pastor of Buffalo Valley Baptist Church in Huntington, W.Va.; Mark Surrett, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Rio Grande, Ohio; Joe Offenberger, of Marietta Bible Center Church; John Powell, pastor emeritus of the Reimer Road Baptist Church in Wadsworth, Ohio; Charles "Mac" McDonald, pastor of the Brooksville Baptist Church in Grantsville, W.Va.; Dale McAllister, pastor of the Maranatha Bible Church in Zanesville; and Tregg Spicer, associate pastor of the Maranatha Bible Church.
An Easter sunrise service will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Easter Sunday, April 4. There will also be a special resurrection service at 10 a.m. with the Marietta Bible College Choir to sing and Pastor Myron K. Guiler to preach.
For more information: 373-5551.
"The Way of Sorrows," a contemplative Good Friday service based on Christ's journey to the cross, will be held Friday, April 2, in the great room of Andrews Hall at Marietta College.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with the main program to begin at 7 p.m. The service, which is being sponsored by Marietta Community Church, will include music, drama, multi-media and interactive displays.
For more information: 376-9816.
Norwood, Faith UM
Norwood United Methodist and Faith United Methodist churches will combine to offer an Easter cantata at 7 p.m. on Palm Sunday, March 28, at Faith United Methodist Church, 503 Seventh St., Marietta. There is no charge to attend.
A Maundy Thursday service will be offered at 7 p.m. on April 1 at Norwood United Methodist Church, Oakwood Avenue and Colegate Drive, Marietta.
A Good Friday service will be offered at 7 p.m. on April 2 at Faith United Methodist Church.
Easter morning worship services will be offered at both churches - at 9:30 a.m. at Norwood United Methodist Church, and at 11 a.m. at Faith United Methodist Church. The Rev. Don Archer is the pastor at both churches.
St. Luke's Lutheran
Special services for Easter Week are planned at St. Luke's Lutheran Church, 401 Scammel St., Marietta.
Palm Sunday, March 28 - A Service of the Word/Communion will be held at 8:15 a.m. on Palm Sunday, and the Liturgical Service/Communion will be held at 10:30 a.m. with the adult choir singing a cantata written by Jan Bigger. Brunch will be served after the second service.
Maundy Thursday, April 1 - The Maundy Thursday service will begin at 7 p.m. There will be communion and the Bell Choir will be performing.
Good Friday, April 2 - The Good Friday service will start at 7 p.m. The choir will be performing.
Easter, April 4 - The Easter morning Service of the Word will begin at 8:15 a.m. and the Liturgical Service will begin at 10:30 a.m. Both services will offer communion.
Sand Hill UM
Holy Week services are planned at Sand Hill United Methodist Church in Reno.
Maundy Thursday - A Maundy Thursday service will begin at 6:15 p.m. in the sanctuary with Pastor Jeff Walker of Hills United Methodist Church to bring the devotions. A meal and Holy Communion will follow in the fellowship hall at 6:30 p.m.
Easter - An Easter sunrise service will be held outside the church's education building at 7 a.m. with a light breakfast to follow. Worship in the sanctuary will begin as usual at 10:30 a.m.
For more information: 373-8712.