No place to go for Easter Sunday? You may want to consider attending the service in Portsmouth’s Greenlawn Cemetery Chapel, where you can take in the history of this chapel and its current restoration, while attending a nice Easter sunrise service.
The historic Greenlawn Cemetery Chapel will be the setting for an Easter sunrise service for the first time in its 134-year existence. The event, hosted by the Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery Foundation (FOGCF), will be held on Easter Sunday.
Rev. John Gowdy, pastor at the Temple Baptist Church and a FOGCF board member, will lead the service with a call to worship beginning at 7 a.m. “The greatest news on planet Earth actually came from a cemetery just outside of Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago,” Gowdy explains. “We want to invite the public to celebrate Easter sunrise at the historic chapel — their chapel — and to celebrate the fact that ‘He is risen’.”
A cemetery in Winston-Salem, N.C., was the setting of America’s first sunrise service, and was conducted early enough for the congregants to witness the first rays of sunrise. The service is held to mark the empty tomb that greeted Mary as dawn broke on Easter morning. Throughout time, Easter sunrise service has been held in churches as well as unusual places such as the Lincoln Memorial, beaches, public parks, hilltops, Arlington National Cemetery and many other public locations.
Many local churches no longer offer Easter sunrise service, but those that do offers individuals who do not have a home church the opportunity to gather with family and friends and rejoice in the promise of new beginnings, according to Debbie Gambill of FOGCF. “We are hopeful to see many faces joining together in celebration at the historic Greenlawn Cemetery Chapel, the beautiful stone building that has served this community since 1884 and is a focus of our organization’s restoration and preservation efforts.”
The event is free to the public, and light refreshments will be provided at the closing.
The Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery have been persevering with their work to raise money to upgrade the cemetery, and their first project is the chapel. This service is just another way for them to get the word out that the chapel is able to be used, and the public can visit this service and any others that follow to see the improvements and work as it is continually changing as this group brings this chapel and cemetery to its former glory.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins at 740-353-3101 ext. 1928
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