As has become a longstanding tradition, local churches will welcome all to a gathering high on Pilot Mountain to celebrate Easter Sunday morning at sunrise.
The service will take place rain or shine in a clearing near the summit parking area, beginning at 6:30 a.m. According to organizers, sunrise has been projected to take place at 6:47 a.m. on the day. The service will last about 30-40 minutes.
Past host churches, including First Baptist Church, First Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church and Brims Grove Baptist Church, will again be taking part. After weeks of planning, this year’s service will also involve the support of several other local churches, with varying degrees of involvement and participation.
Guest speaker for the morning will be Pastor J.K. Best of Lovells Chapel Church in Pilot Mountain and Lovells Chapel International Ministries in Mount Airy.
While sharing details of the morning, Pastor Robert Dixon of First Baptist Church wondered if Best was to be the first African-American minister to ever serve as speaker at the annual service.
“I don’t know that he is,” Dixon said, “but it’s a tremendous thing that he will be speaking to us. It sends the message that we’re all part of the Christian church with no divisions and no barriers.”
”And the participation of a non-denominational church sends another important message. This is not just for denominations or establishment. We want to reach out to all the Christian churches in town, encouraging fellowship and support as we work together to minister to the people of Pilot Mountain.”
Live music will be coordinated by Sherri Collins of First Presbyterian Church. In addition to hymns, a brass quartet composed of local high school musicians will perform.
First United Methodist Church will also be represented with Pastor Tom Hunter leading in prayer, Bill Hancock reading scripture and Jason Goins sharing a song.
A box will be on hand at the site for collection of any non-perishable food donations to the Pilot Mountain Outreach Center.
“I feel honored to be able to speak to so many of the people of God from our community,” Best said, “and to share what God has put on my heart. I pray that God will allow people to see Him as He is and to see what He wants to do through us. I have seen a shift that is bringing people together to break down barriers and to see Him as He is.”
“I look forward to bringing out the death, burial and resurrection and what it means to us,” he continued. “There was a divine exchange that gave back all we lost in Adam and allows us to walk together as the body of Christ.”
“I thank God for all the pastors in our area. I pray that God will bless them and bless the body of Christ that we will fulfill what He has ordained for us.”
Dixon said that the location of the service, atop Pilot Mountain, adds a special significance to the important morning.
“The view reminds us of the creative and restorative power of our God,” he noted. “It’s a beautiful place to celebrate Easter morning.”
“Easter is the highest holy day of the Christian calendar,” Dixon explained. “Christmas is important but the focus is on the birth of a child, filled with potential and promise. Easter fulfills and validates that promise. As Christians, we have something to celebrate that no other religion can claim – a risen Savior.”
Casual dress is welcomed for the morning with attendees reminded that mountain top temperatures may be cooler than at lower elevations.
“This is a service for the entire community,” Dixon said. “Last year we had people who were here camping come up and join us. All are welcomed to be a part of this morning.”