Pastor Casey Nowlin, The Family Church, will lead the opening prayer; Rev. Kirk Dreiser, Wesley United Methodist Church, will lead the prayer prior to the preaching of the Word; and Rev. Thomas McCulley, New Life Community Church, will lead the closing moments and prayer.
The Rev. Dr. Steven Schoof, Senior Pastor at Marco Presbyterian Church, will give the Easter message titled, “Can You See Through Your Tears?”
“By telling the Mary Magdalene story of weeping at the grave,” said Pastor Steve, “and then hearing Jesus say her name, I want people to see how tender and caring Jesus is towards us no matter what our situation might be.
“He calls us by name and when we hear Him call our name, we can finally see through our tears, pain and anger and respond in belief as she did.”
Beginning 30 years ago with 240 people, the event is now the largest, onehour event on the island with last year’s attendance estimated to be 10,000. The Easter sunrise service is essentially still being held in the same location as it was 30 years ago thanks to the generosity of the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort and the Madeira Condominium Association. In the past 30 years, there have been numerous pastors helping to officiate the service with nearly every Christian church in the area involved. Musically, the service has featured soloists from many island churches as well as the Marco Island Concert Choir of 40 voices, the Naples Jazz Band and Lely High School jazz band, flute, trumpet, and saxophone solos, trios and quartets, and professional musicians from around the country.
Music for the 30th anniversary service will feature Linda Sandlin singing “Were You There?” – a cappella as she sang during the original service. Sandlin will also join Dawn Birch, of the professional duo Billy Dean and Dawn, in singing the duet, “I’ve Just Seen Jesus,” by Bill and Gloria Gaither. During the prelude, Sandy and John Stein will perform on flute and piano, respectively.
Beach access is north of the Marriott Spa and the public access path north of the Madeira Condominium. The Marco Police and volunteers will direct traffic and assist with parking, including double parking along Collier Boulevard. Additionally, the Resident’s Beach parking lot will open at 6 a.m. for member parking. Dress is casual; bring your own blanket or chair. Musical prelude begins at 6:45 AM. For those who need assistance, handicap parking will be available near the Marriott Spa with golf carts to assist to the edge of the beach.
For information call Marco Presbyterian Church at 239-394-8186.