26th Annual Easter Sunrise Service
Larry Krejci and JoAnn Criss Krejci model their backpack beach chairs. This is the first year the two will attend the Easter Sunrise Service as a married couple. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

26th Annual Easter Sunrise Service

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

Rosemary Tolliver is ready for the Easter Sunrise Service on the Beach. This will be her seventh year.

Rosemary Tolliver is ready for the Easter Sunrise Service on the Beach. This will be her seventh year.

The Easter Sunrise Service evokes a joyful sense of community for some and a sacred pilgrimage for others.

“It was pure joy, something I wished I experienced sooner,” said Islander Rosemary Tolliver who was overwhelmed the first time she attended six years ago.

Tolliver tries to gets there early to watch as the people stream down the beach. She enjoys seeing the different collections of people from various walks of life, families and neighbors gathering and discovering each other in the crowd.

“It’s dark when you get there,” she said. “The boats have lights on and it’s exciting to see the sun rise between the buildings.” She is happy that all denominations are welcome.

She prepares the night before by putting her beach chair in the car, and laying out her water bottle and thermos for coffee, clothes, beach hoodie and sunglasses.

It’s relaxed, and everyone is welcome. She enjoys hearing from the different ministers and there is no collection. “All that happiness and joy, and they ask for nothing.”

Tolliver always carries the joy forward. “If you feel good you can transmit that joy to others.”

JoAnn Criss Krejci and Larry Krejci have been attending the service almost since the very beginning. They look forward to attending this year as a married couple. The two have been friends for over 40 years. She was a widow for 11 years and he was widowed for one year; they married last summer. Over the years, they have attended many sunrise services, but this is the first one “that you don’t freeze to death.”

JoAnn appreciates the uniquely beautiful setting while Larry finds it inspiring. “You will not find a more beautiful setting.”

Walking down the beach in the dark, with a chair on her back, and listening to the music is like a pilgrimage for JoAnn. “Everyone is so quiet and reverent,” she said. “Afterwards you leave recommitted to living the way we should.”

Larry looks forward to communing with the people and the Lord. “Everyone is in a joyous frame of mind,” he said. “You can feel the Spirit of God at the service.”

JoAnn’s advise for newcomers: “Be prepared for an unforgettable experience.”

Corky Trebilcock looks forward to Marco’s Annual Easter Sunrise Service.

Corky Trebilcock looks forward to Marco’s Annual Easter Sunrise Service.

Corky and Shirley Trebilcock have attended nearly every sunrise service since 1990. The couple loved going to sunrise services back in Ohio, but they were always indoors. They moved into their Madeira penthouse in 2007 and are just tickled that the service is right outside their balcony.

“The unique service is hard to get anywhere else,” he said. “The sky, the boats and the breeze build as the sun rises.”

Although they can watch the service from their balcony, the Trebilcocks prefer to be a part of the action. Two-thirds of their family lives on Marco, so it will be a family affair. They listen to the music and watch the people stream down the beach with their flashlights before it’s time to descend and set their chairs up on the beach.

“It warms my heart to be with the crowd sharing the spiritual aspect of the day,” Corky concluded.


If you go:

What: Marco Island’s 26th Annual Easter Sunrise Service on the Beach

When: 7 a.m., Sunday, April 20, prelude begins at 6:45 a.m.

Where: Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, 400 South Collier Boulevard, Marco Island

Beach Access: North of the Marriott Spa and the public access north of the Madeira Condominium

Participating clergy: The Rev. Kirk Dreiser, Wesley United Methodist Church; the Rev. Thomas McCulley, New Life Community Church; and the Rev. Dr. Steven Schoof, Marco Presbyterian Church

Guest soloist: Dawn Birch of Billy Dean and Dawn

What to Bring: Blanket or chair

Information: 239-394-8186

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