Sunrise service brings thousands together to share Easter message

ALTO PASS, Ill. (KBSI) – As the sun crept its way over the mountaintops Sunday morning, some 2,000 people made the ascent to Bald Knob Cross for its 86th Annual Easter Sunrise Service.

“What makes the service so special is that everybody comes together,” said Casey Pollard, pastor at the Shawnee Worship Center. “It doesn’t matter what religion, what cultural background you are, to get this many people coming to Bald Knob Cross for one purpose is what makes it so special.”

The significance of this tradition’s longevity is not lost on Bald Knob Cross Executive Director Jeffrey Isbell.

“For me, it’s just an honor to be a part, to stand on the shoulders of giants who started having this service back in 1937, to know we’re here, a part of something like this,” he said.

Despite temperatures in the 40’s, there was plenty of warmth and energy to go around.

“You could feel the energy. It’s cold outside, but at the end of the day, we’re ready to worship,” Pollard said. “We’re here to worship a risen savior.”

“It’s not an easy trip. It’s always cold. It’s always windy, so to know that folks are willing to come out, to experience Easter here at the cross, and to unite to experience the presence of God is quite awesome,” Isbell said.

And the message of Easter was ever present.

“It represents the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Pollard said. “We love the miracles, but he came to die for us. That’s the plan of salvation. That’s the message of Easter, that there’s hope beyond this life.”

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