Reaching for hearts — and souls

Whether it’s walking with a cross on Ke Ala Hele Makalae, a Last Supper play, a pancake breakfast or offering a sunrise service on the beach, churches across the island are ready for Easter Sunday.

Pastors have prepared special sermons. Sanctuaries are decorated. Choirs are ready to sing. Greeters will be offering even bigger smiles, handshakes and hugs.

“Easter is what defines Christians as Christians,” said Ryan Newman, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church. “We believe Jesus is the Son of God, and what happens during Holy Week — his death, and most importantly, his rising from the dead — is proof he is God’s son.”

All Saints in Kapaa is offering about 15 services to mark Holy Week.

“The best way to experience Easter is to go through the drama of Holy Week,” Newman said. “So I try to give people options, and to create ways for people to experience it.”

Easter Sunday, along with Christmas, are days more people will attend church services and pews will be packed as Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after he was crucified some 2,000 years ago, as told in the Bible. His rising is considered the cornerstone to the Christian faith.

Some pastors will take that message, “He is Risen,” beyond the church walls.

Calvary Chapel Lihue is having a sunrise service at Nawiliwili Beach Park and will be serving a pancake breakfast at 8:30 a.m. New Hope church is having its Easter service at 9:30 a.m. at War Memorial Convention Hall, followed by a free concert, luau and egg hunt. Lihue United Church is having Easter sunrise service at Lydgate Park.

Crossroads Christian Church is having a mini-drama, worship hula, children’s choir and testimonies during its 9:30 a.m. service. There’s also a 6:30 a.m. sunrise service.

Aloha Church is marking Holy Week with a drama, said Grace Galiza, associate pastor. At 7 tonight, Aloha Church will be putting on an Easter musical drama, “The Last Supper,” complete with costumes and sets. It will include about 30 actors.

This is the second year Aloha Church has put on the play.

“Illustration is the best way to reach people’s hearts,” she said.

Easter is one of the most important holidays in the Christian faith, Galiza said.

“Jesus came to bring salvation to mankind, and His mission was fulfilled with His dying on the cross and being resurrected,” she said.

Commemorating Holy Week is important because it is a time to reflect on Jesus’ love, added Sister Ana Celestial, of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena.

“Jesus went though suffering, death and resurrection so that we could be reconciled with the heavenly Father, and be forgiven of our sins,” the nun with Immaculate Conception Church said. “Through Jesus’ Resurrection at Easter, we are granted redemption and eternal salvation.”

Kapaa Missionary Church and Lihue United Church will see its regular members as well as an influx of visitors on Easter Sunday.

“We get a lot of calls from hotels, confirming Easter service times,” said Jewel Rapozo, secretary of Lihue United Church.

At Kapaa Missionary Church, the 6:30 a.m. sunrise service on the beach at Mokihana is the popular, said Stacie Victorino, church administrator, with about 200 expected.

All Saints is offering four services to mark Easter Sunday. The first is a sunrise service on Baby Beach at 6 a.m. Morning services also include 7 and 9:30, followed by Easter Festival, complete with a potluck and Easter egg hunt.

That evening, at 5:45 p.m., Newman will lead the congregation, for the first time, up Sleeping Giant for an Easter service.

“I’ve always thought it would be awesome to hike the Sleeping Giant, and close our celebration with the setting of the sun,” Newman said.

Easter Sunday morning services on Kauai outside the church walls:

• Lihue United Church, 6 a.m., Lydgate Park

• United Christian Fellowship of Kauai, 6, Lydgate Beach big pavilion.

• All Saints Episcopal Church, 6, Baby Beach, Kapaa

• Ohana Christian Fellowship, 6:15, Kapaa Beach Park

• Crossroads Christian Fellowship, 6:30 at the foot of the cross.

• Kapaa First Hawaiian Church and Kapaa United Church of Christ, 6:30, Kauai Coast Resort

• Kapaa Missionary Church, 6:30, beach at Mokihana of Kauai

• Calvary Chapel Lihue, 7, Nawiliwili Beach Park, Lihue

• New Hope church, 9:30 a.m., War Memorial Convention Hall

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