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4/3/2012 10:37:00 AM
Rise and shine: Grand Canyon's 77th annual Easter Sunrise Service takes place this Sunday
Service begins at 5:50 a.m. at Mather Point
Photo/Michael Quinn
The sun rises at the Easter Sunrise Service held last year at Mather Point, Grand Canyon Village. The service on the rim of the canyon continues a long tradition. In 1902, a circuit rider clergyman rode horseback two days from Prescott, Ariz. to officiate at the first outdoor Sunrise Service.
Photo/Michael Quinn
The sun rises at the Easter Sunrise Service held last year at Mather Point, Grand Canyon Village. The service on the rim of the canyon continues a long tradition. In 1902, a circuit rider clergyman rode horseback two days from Prescott, Ariz. to officiate at the first outdoor Sunrise Service.
Patrick Dotson
Pastor,Grand Canyon Community Church

"Slowly the soft black lines of the horizon widen to the right and left as the golden glow of the sunrise moves higher and higher.

In a matter of seconds, colored lights are hanging everywhere. The Easter sun is on its way. No longer are we standing on the edge of nowhere. There is movement and form on a gigantic scale, and sound to match the voices and the rustlings of the birds and scampering things along the rim. What has been a dungeon-like darkness below becomes a mysterious combination of enormous black and blue shadows, then the shadows become a vast network of interlocking mountain ranges and ridges. The temple heart of the Grand Canyon."

- Arizona Governor Howard Pyle, providing the radio "call" of the sunrise at the Easter Sunrise Service, ca. 1954.



GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Governor Pyle sought to capture with words what Grand Canyon residents and visitors alike have experienced for over seventy-five years - the unique combination of a Grand Canyon sunrise and celebration of Christian faith.

Those who have walked along the rim at night know how the Grand Canyon becomes a vast, empty darkness, save for the few lights at Phantom Ranch down below. And yet as dawn arrives, and the sun pierces the darkness, the beauty of the Grand Canyon comes to life and provides a reminder of hope and beauty that emerges from immense darkness.

The Easter Sunrise Service on the Rim has been a wonderful Grand Canyon tradition since 1935. The Sunrise Service was broadcast through the radio station KTAR based in Phoenix, and then picked up by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) for broadcast across the country. Millions of Americans would experience the Grand Canyon Easter Sunrise Service through their radios, imagining what it would be like to experience its beauty firsthand. Many allowed that desire to become a reality - in those days, it was not uncommon to have attendance of 3,000-5,000 for an Easter Sunrise Service.

Since its inception, the Easter Sunrise Service has always been interdenominational. And therein lies another beauty of this worship service - the opportunity for members of all Christian faith traditions to rejoice together, reminding believers of the unity Jesus Christ desired for his disciples. In addition, given the visitation of the Grand Canyon from all over the United States and the world, those in attendance at the Sunrise Service have the unique opportunity to celebrate Easter with Christians from countries as far away as France and Australia.

This Sunday, nearly 1,000 residents and visitors from all over the world will join together for the 77th annual Easter Sunrise Service on the South Rim held at the recently constructed and wheelchair accessible Mather Point Overlook. While the early morning temperature will be cold, hearts will be warm with the joy of Easter Sunday morning worship and the expectation of the sunrise. All are welcome to come and take part in this wonderful Grand Canyon tradition.

Easter Sunrise Service on the Rim will be held at 5:50 a.m. at the Mather Point Overlook, located behind the Visitor's Center.

Parking is available at Visitor's Center Parking Lot #2. Look for signs posted in the lodges for shuttle information.




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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, August 19, 2013
Article comment by: Stephanie Day Lovins

Went to sunrise service in 1981 work there at Bright Angle Lodge .Often think of my co workers and pray for them .Would love to see any or all if they are still around may be have a get together at the Canyon. Call me or write me at 5243 Camden Sugar Valley 45311 Camden,Ohio if you can get this together.

Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Article comment by: Kelly McCarthy

I am 45 and I have had the blessing of 3 life changing moments in my life. One the birth of my children, two when I held my Nana (my best friend) in my arms as she passed, and now the experience of breathing in the Grand Cayon (for the very first time) on Easter morn...I'll be back...



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