TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)–Hundreds gathered in Downtown Tampa for a sunrise Easter service.
“We are celebrating the risen christ,” said rev. Justin larosa. “We are celebrating Easter; we’re celebrating the day where sin couldn’t hold life.”
Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his death by crucifixion.
It’s something Rev Justin LaRosa celebrates with his church each year here at water works park in Downtown Tampa for a sunrise service.
“It’s absolutely beautiful to have the surroundings of the river, and the birds and people coming and sitting together outside like it was in a garden like when the women came to the empty tomb,” Rev. LaRosa said.
Tien Ryan and her daughter Camryn picked up their corgis and worshipped Jesus, saying it’s a memory they won’t forget.
“That’s probably one of the reasons we love coming here is because the dogs can come out with us,” Tien said.
They weren’t the only ones.
Lisa and John Monaco brought their dog, Snickers, to the sunrise service, allowing them to take in a little nature while hearing the Word of God.
“Being indoors, talking about the miracles of our wonderful world, [now] we get to see the sunrise and the pink clouds and it’s really beautiful,” John said.
Churches across the world hold traditional sunrise services on Easter.
It serves as a sign of recognition that Jesus no longer lies in the tomb on Easter morning.
The service starts early in the morning and is timed perfectly so that everyone can see the sun rise as the service is going.
“I think the light came into the world and the darkness can’t overcome it,” Rev. LaRosa said. “We start in the dark and end in the light and that’s what the message is all about.”
-You can learn more about what Hyde Park United Methodist Church does year-round here.
You can watch their Sunday services live here.