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Idaho Enterprise

The sun rises on Easter weekend in Oneida County

A Youth Chorus celebrates Easter morning in Malad City Park.

Continuing a tradition that dates back to the 1880s in Malad Valley, a Sunrise Service was held on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2024, at Malad City Park. Although the day was chilly and rainy, nearly 90 people of all local faiths attended the service. The Sunrise Service was a traditional gathering of the Malad Presbyterian Church until 2012 when the local Interfaith Council began hosting it. 

Toni Werk, Moderator of the Interfaith Council, organized the program and conducted the service. Accompanied by Taylor Smith with Brian Jeppsen as chorister, two familiar congregational hymns were sung: “In the Garden” and “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.”

Filling in for Art Martinez, who was ill, Maieli Murray McEntire read John 20:1-18 that told the story of the empty tomb and Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene after His resurrection. Pastor Jack Harwell used scriptures to demonstrate that everything Jesus did showed us exactly who He is and how we should follow his example to have eternal life.

In a short inspirational message, Bishop Richard Nielsen used Easter scriptures from Luke, Matthew, John, and 1 Peter to show that Jesus taught that expressions of hate must be replaced by expressions of hope. 

President Jason Sperry’s inspirational talk was based on the story in Luke about Jesus encountering two men on the road to Emmaus, who did not recognize the resurrected Christ until after He broke bread with them. President Sperry asked if our hearts, like those of the men on the road to Emmaus, burn within us when we recognize Jesus Christ in our lives. Quoting Jeffrey R. Holland, President Sperry said that because Jesus walked that road alone, we don’t have to, we are not alone.  He concluded by stating that we have all stood as caskets have been lowered into graves and perhaps wondered if that is the end. We know that death is not the end; because Jesus was risen from the dead, we also will rise.

Special music numbers were performed by Brian Jeppsen, who accompanied himself on the guitar while singing “I Was Not His Father, He Was Mine”; Carrie Ann Jensen, who sang “Risen,” accompanied by Lorna Brignone; Danielle Pettis, who played a violin solo “There Is a Green Hill Far Away,” accompanied by Taylor Smith; and a youth choir, led by Seth Goeckeritz and accompanied by Taylor Smith, who sang “He Sent His Son.”

A breakfast sponsored by the Interfaith Council was held at the Victory Baptist Church following the Sunrise Service.

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