On Sunday, March 27th Marco Island’s tradition of the Sunrise Service continued, drawing even more faithful to the beach early Easter morning than ever before.
It was dark when people arrived at the Marco Island Marriott for the 28th Annual Easter Sunrise Service on the Beach. But when they left, Marco’s glorious sun had risen, and there was a feeling of joy and community among the worshippers.
A crowd of thousands filled the beach, people watched from balconies, and boats lined up on the water for this special Easter service. They sat in chairs and on blankets, some even stood, listening intently. The beautiful setting of Marco Island’s pristinebeach and the brilliance of the sunrise, helped to make this service an unforgettable spiritual experience for all those who attended.
The Sunrise Service is a tradition throughout the United States, dating back to the 1700s. Here on Marco Island it began in 1990.
The tradition on Marco involves many houses of worship: Marco Lutheran Church, Wesley United Methodist Church, New Life Community Church and Marco Presbyterian Church. Reverend Kevin Koenig, Reverend Kirk Dreiser, Reverend Thomas McCulley, and Reverend Dr. Steven Schoof joined together in unity to lead the faithful on this most holy of holidays. All denominations are welcome, and each reverend contributed a special portion of the service.
Providing harmonious music forthe service was singer Dawn Birch, from Billy Dean and Dawn, flutist Sandy Stein, a member of Flute Cocktail and the Naples Concert Band, and pianist John Stein, Marco Presbyterian Church’s music director.
Alan Sandlin, Marco Island Easter Sunrise Service on the Beach committee co-chair said, “This year is the 28th anniversary of an event that started with a handful of people who wanted to celebrate the ‘abundant life’ so obvious here on Marco Island. This original small group, has through the years, grown into an amazing gathering of over 8,000.” This year an astounding 10,000 was estimated to be in attendance, an indication that the Sunrise Service has become one of Marco Island’s most popular traditions.