The brassy sounds of cornets, trombones and tubas from the Salvation Army Band will open Easter sunrise services at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater at Riverwalk Augusta.
Sunrise is forecast for 7:02 a.m. Sunday. The musical prelude will begin about 6:45.
Abundant life is the message the Rev. Herb Chisenhall, pastor of St. John United Methodist Church. "In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have a living God who offers us life, life with meaning, life with quality, life with hope," he said.
The event is sponsored by downtown churches.
Capt. Willis Howell, commanding officer of the Salvation Army in Augusta, estimated last year's crowd at 500 to 700 people.
Traditional hymns such as Christ the Lord Is Risen Today and Up From the Grave He Arose may be played, but the selections haven't been finalized, he said.
"I've done sunrise services for years and this is the prettiest setting," said Capt. Howell of the Riverwalk, on the Savannah River. "You see the sun reflect off the river, and the river is still and glassy. I get to look out over that."
Worshipers in Easter best or warm-up suits are welcomed at North Augusta's Pineview Memorial Gardens service at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, said organizer Sheran Proctor. "As the sun starts rising, you see cars streaming in and see families walking from the nearby subdivision," she said.
The interdenominational service has been a tradition for at least 25 years. Many people in North Augusta have loved ones buried in the cemetery, and it is a chance to be near them during an Easter service, she said. "After the service, you see people getting flowers out of their cars and putting them on the graves."
Crowds range from 200 to about 350, she said.
Dr. James E. Hunter, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, will deliver the sermon, titled Easter's Message of Love. Dr. Joe Lusk, chaplain at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Augusta, and his wife, Laura, will provide the music, with Danny Dunaway on harmonica.
About 100 turned out for Open Door Baptist Church's first sunrise service last year, said Carol Underwood, a church member. Seeing so many willing to brave the early hour and worshiping with others from her Barton Chapel Road church made it more meaningful to her, she said.
The service at daybreak means new beginnings, "knowing that Christ died for us and rose again to cleanse us of sins that we had not even committed yet," she said.
Open Door's service will start at 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
For more Easter sunrise listings, see Seasonal Events in the Church Bulletin, Page 2.
Who: downtown churches
When: 6:45 a.m. Sunday
Where: Jessye Normal Amphitheater, Riverwalk
Who: Open Door Baptist Church
When: 7:30 a.m. Sunday
Where: 2629 Barton Chapel Road
Who: Dr. James E. Hunter
When: 6:30 a.m. Sunday
Where: Pineview Memorial Gardens, Five Notch Road, North Augusta