Churches throughout Columbia County will commemorate the holiest days of Christianity with special Easter services and events this week and next.
On Easter Sunday, First Baptist Church of Evans and Wesley and Mosaic United Methodist churches will hold a 7 a.m. sunrise service at the new outdoor amphitheater behind the new Columbia County Library.
The service will feature music by the Mosaic worship and the Wesley praise teams and a message by the Rev. Mac Enfinger, of Wesley.
"It's the first time (the amphitheater has been) available at Easter time. It's brand new," said the Rev. Philip Hedgecoth, minister of music of Evans Baptist. "It's accessible, it's open to the whole community, and we want to invite everyone to come."
In the event of rain, the sunrise service will be canceled.
Mosaic also will hold a viewing of the Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ, at 6:30 p.m. on Good Friday at its new facility at 478 Columbia Industrial Blvd. in Evans.
The annual Fort Gordon sunrise service will take place at 6:30 a.m. Easter Sunday at Freedom Park on Rice Road on post, according to a military news release.
In the event of rain, the service will be moved to Alexander Hall, according to the release.
Several churches in Columbia County will present Easter cantatas throughout this week, including Harlem United Methodist Church and Abilene and Gospel Water Branch Baptist churches.
The Harlem Methodist cantata, Grace That Amazes, begins at 11 a.m. today, according to a church news release.
Continuing its tradition of holding the Augusta passion play on even-numbered years, Abilene Baptist Church in Martinez presents Crown Him King of Kings, a re-enactment of the death, entombment and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and on Easter Sunday.
Tickets are free and are available at the church office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, said the church's music minister, the Rev. Greg Bearden.
Crews have been constructing a tiered set. The cantata will feature a 90-piece choir and 35-piece orchestra, he said.
"It should be an exciting production," Bearden said.
Gospel Water Branch Baptist Church on Furys Ferry Road, in Evans, will present an Easter cantata at 6 p.m. Friday and a special children's message during the Sunday Easter service, said church member and cantata coordinator Petonya White.
Their Cantata, A Love that Giveth Much, will feature a recreation of the death, entombment and resurrection and inspiring music, she said. The Easter children's message will show the true meaning of the observance, she said.
Children will be visited by a bunny who has a message of God's love and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ inside Easter eggs, White said.
Harlem's Old Union Baptist Church is holding a special Easter service at 10:30 a.m. at Grovetown Middle School featuring children's church and Easter music, according to a news release.
There will not be a regular Sunday service at Old Union on Easter Sunday.
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