Crowds greet Easter sunrise

WAILUA — Easter Sunday is the day Christians believe Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead after being crucified by the Romans. Good Friday is recognized as the day Jesus was crucified.

Some 350 celebrated Easter Sunday with a sunrise service at Lydgate Park in Wailua.

The hundreds of worshippers arrived at the park’s main pavilion wearing anything from slippers to running shoes to dress shoes, along with jackets and sweaters to ward off the early morning chill.

Mayor Bryan Baptiste attended the celebration as well. Baptiste pointed out that the past few weeks have been challenging on Kaua’i due to weather-related events, but he believed that islanders will rise to the challenge and overcome the hardships.

“God is with us always,” said the mayor.

A prayer was said for the families who lost loved ones.

The non-denominational service was sponsored by the United Christian Fellowship of Kaua’i.

The Rev. Charlie Ortal, president of the organization, pointed out that the public was invited to share in the spirit of unity and aloha on the celebrated day — Easter Sunday — recognized in Christianity – as the day that Christ rose from the dead after his crucifixion.

He said that members from about 10 churches within the organization were at the service, along with at least 12 pastors.

A continental breakfast was held after the two-hour service. Ortal said that the offer of breakfast was extended to those who are homeless as well.

Linda Tani of Kapa’a said she was at the park to celebrate the day recognized as Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

“He’s my savior,” she said, adding that it was good to see others come together to celebrate a glorious time.

Connie Nadarisay of Lihu’e was at the park early. She was among the volunteers who arrived at about 3 a.m. to help get ready for the service.

She pointed out that having the sunrise service at the park made it easier for visitors to join in. The annual service was previously held at the Kapa’a ball park.

“This is easier for us because we don’t have to put up tents, and the parking is better. And we have a lot of visitors come here, and they keep on coming back at Easter to celebrate with us,” she said.

Aaron Cummings of Kilauea was at the park to celebrate the day Christians recognize as the resurrection of Christ.

“I think it’s wonderful,” he said. “It is a hope that we have, as Christians, that we can have life after this life, to live forever and ever and ever, and Jesus Christ proved it through his resurrection,” he said.

Like Cummings, the Rev. Jesse Layaoen of the New Hope church in Kilauea said he was at the park to celebrate the life of Christ.

“He gave his life for every single one of us. Today, he rose from the dead, and we celebrate and remember his passion for humanity,” said Layaoen.

The pastor pointed out that the past few weeks have been difficult times for everyone on the island, especially for the families on the North Shore who lost loved ones.

“No matter how difficult the situation may be, we should still have hope in him, that we can still lean on him,” said Layaoen.

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