Providence to hold sunrise service April 20By Emily Etheredge Published 2:40pm Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Although last year’s Easter Sunrise Service presented by Providence No. 2 Baptist Church was cancelled due to severe weather, the service this year will be held rain or shine on April 20.
“We decided after last year’s weather threat that if it does rain, we will just hold the service inside,” Pastor Glenn Bonds said. “People put so much work into the program, and we want to be able to have it during any type of weather.”
The live musical and drama has been held annually since 1981, with the exception of a few cancellations due to weather or construction of a new site for the service.
Bonds said the service has grown throughout the years and is now attended by people across Alabama and other surrounding states.
“People enjoy attending the service, and because we have held it each year the word has gotten out and we have people coming from all over to watch it,” Bonds said. “It is really neat but it is a great way for the community to come together. For our church, it is a way to present the life of Christ in a different or unique kind of way.”
Bonds said the location of the service changed a few years ago to a site located adjacent to the church with an “amphitheater” look that allowed more room for props.
“We used to have the service in the cemetery across the road from our church but we outgrew that,” Bonds said. “We purchased the property on the same side of the road as our church building and worked to develop that into an amphitheatre, and it works great for the service.”
Bonds said the Sunrise Service has about 100 people participating as the story of the birth of Christ to the Ascension is told.
“Each year we maybe add or focus on a different aspect of the story and just change it minimally each year,” Bonds said. “We keep the major events of the life of Christ as the central focus, and the bulk of the program is centered around the cross.”
Bonds said a neat aspect to the service is seeing different generations of families participate.
“We have at least two sets of families with four generations involved in the service,” Bonds said. “Throughout the years you have had small children who started out in the service, and they have now grown to have their own children participate. It has been a neat thing to watch, and it is something that a lot of families in our church have really enjoyed throughout the years.”
Members of the church make all of the costumes for the service with many of the costumes being passed down throughout the years.
“Different people over the years have played different characters, but we have made all of the costumes,” Bonds said.
Rehearsals for the service start a month in advance on Sunday afternoons before Easter.
“We spend Sunday afternoons for about a month making sure the new people are familiar with what they should be doing,” Bonds said. “We also have a dress rehearsal the Sunday before Easter at 3 p.m. so anyone who can’t make it on Easter can still come see the service.”
The Easter Sunrise Service will be April 20 at 6 a.m.
The event is open to the public, and everyone is encouraged to dress warmly and bring a lawn chair as the service will be outside if weather permits.
If it rains, Bonds said the program will be held in the sanctuary of the church.
Providence No. 2 Baptist Church is located at 6197 County Road 97 in Clanton.
For more information about the service, Bonds said to call 755-4126 or visit the Facebook page “Providence No. 2 Baptist Church.”