As the sun rose through the trees of Westover Memorial Park in Augusta, a crowd gathered on a hill at the foot of a cross to sing He Lives and other hymns of praise on Easter morning.
Three churches invited their members to the annual sunrise service at the cemetery off Berckmans Road. This year, about 100 members of Aldersgate, Saint Mark and Woodlawn United Methodist churches gathered to usher in the dawn.
Westover, however, isn’t the only cemetery to host a local church’s Easter morning services.
In North Augusta, Grace United Methodist Church sponsored a sunrise service with Posey Funeral Directors at Pineview Memorial Park. In Grovetown, members of Grovetown United Methodist Church planned to gather at Bellevue Memorial Cemetery.
“The cemetery is a reminder of the first Easter miracle that occurred,” said the Rev. Charles Broome of Saint Mark. “It’s a natural place for us to gather as Christians.”
Sunday morning at Westover, the Rev. Gary Dean, the superintendent of the Augusta District of the United Methodist Church, preached from Matthew 20:17-19 and 28:5-6.
“My Christian friends, we all make promises, don’t we?” he said.
While we don’t always keep our promises, Jesus does, Dean said.
“We are all here this morning out of expectation,” he said. “Early on this Easter Sunday morning, Jesus has kept his promise to us. Jesus got up from the grave early this morning and said, ‘Grave, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?’
“The empty tomb is the proof our savior lives,” Dean said. “I don’t know about you this morning, but I am so thankful that Jesus kept his promise.”