Multiple local churches will congregate on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean at Wrightsville Beach as the sun rises on Easter morning for their annual Easter sunrise services.
As they have done for years, parishioners from Little Chapel on the Boardwalk, Wrightsville United Methodist Church, Wrightsville Beach Baptist Church, St. Therese’s Catholic Church and Pilgrim’s Rest Baptist Church will meet on the beach at Oxford Street Public Access No. 19.
Little Chapel on the Boardwalk Pastor Pat Rabun said the service would begin at 6:30 a.m., just in time for the sunrise, which begins at 6:45 a.m. On average 1,500-2,000 people show up to the beach for the service, he said.
“To have the sun come up right when we are finishing the service is just an awesome thing,” Rabun said. “It is quite a sight to stand near that stage and watch the people coming from every direction. Everybody comes with blankets and beach chairs, and it is a very relaxed setting.”
The service is a collaboration between Rabun and other church pastors, and will consist of songs, an invocation, scripture reading and a short sermon.
Rabun said the whole service would last around 40 minutes. Afterward Little Chapel on the Boardwalk will have coffee and doughnuts in its fellowship hall for any in attendance at the service.
On the south end of the beach, North Pointe Community Church will host its 14th Annual Easter Celebration at the Beach on the south side of Crystal Pier at 7 a.m.
North Pointe Community Church Pastor Jeff Loman said the event started in 2001 with the intent to attract the tourists visiting Wrightsville Beach on Easter weekend.
“Many of the people who come into the area as tourists over Easter weekend don’t know a lot about the local churches or may not want to get dressed up and go to a church,” Loman said. “We felt like it would be a great way to connect with the local community and the tourist community by presenting them with a very casual worship environment.”
Loman said the Easter service would feature live music, a challenging Easter message and activities for kids, like puppets, clowns and balloon art.
The entire event concludes around 8 a.m., Loman said.