CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A dreary forecast and wet stadium seats didn't stop local churchgoers from celebrating a sunrise service on Easter Sunday.
While the original plan was to have the service at Appalachian Power Park, drizzling rain moved the sermon indoors to St. Marks United Methodist Church.
"Of course I wish we were at the Power Park, watching the sunrise as we have our sermon, but there's something great about all of us coming together for one day," said Janet Harman, deacon at St. Marks United Methodist Church.
The service had participants from up to 45 area churches, including those in the East End, West Side and Kanawha City. Three denominations were represented: Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist.
Participating were the Rev. Janet Harman of St. Marks United Methodist Church, Rev. Monty Brown of St. Marks United Methodist Church, Rev. Sharletta Green of Simpson Memorial United Methodist Church, Rev. Todd Wright of Village Chapel Presbyterian Church, Rev. Rick DeQuasie of Morris Memorial United Methodist Church, and Rev. Randolf Richardson of Trinity Lutheran Church.
Nancy Dunst of Asbury United Methodist Church played piano. Green, being the newest of the group with only one year, led the main sermon.
"It's a tradition for us to come to a sunrise service," said Sara Slamick, 40, of Kanawha City. "We got to Village Chapel in Kanawha City, and it's a wonderful experience to celebrate with other Christians who may not go to our church."
The service, which began at 6:30 a.m., has become a tradition.
"We've been doing this for about 10 to 12 years," Harman said. "It's a day of resurrection; Jesus rose after death. So we celebrate at sunrise, which today is 7 a.m."
Elliot and Sara Birckhead had never gone to a sunrise service before, but were excited at the thought of multiple denominations coming together under one roof.
"We think it's very cool," Elliot said. "This is our first, and we're happy to be here."
With about 70 people in attendance, the service included a welcome, a call to worship, a prayer of the day, a hymn, prayers of the people, a call for an offering, dedication of the offering, and a blessing.
Debbie Sokolosky, 57, of Charleston, helped by passing out pamphlets for the service.
"I haven't gone every year, but there is just something special about the sunrise service," she said. "While it's particularly nice at the Power Park, it's great to have everyone together."
Offerings were made for Manna Meal and Common Grounds. The Ecumenical Worship Group, an interfaith group of area churches, held the service.
"Many others have their own sunrise service, and it'd be wonderful to have a lot more join us," Harman said. "We're happy to have all kinds come. It's a way for us to celebrate together."