Churches join forces with Easter services

Flo Johnston Faith in Focus

April 16, 2014

Two neighboring congregations out in the county, Snead’s Grove United Methodist and Old Laurel Hill Presbyterian, will hold a joint Easter Sunrise Service in a long-standing cooperative effort by the two churches.

This year for the first time they have invited the congregation at Laurel Hill United Methodist to attend as guests, because the two Methodist churches share a pastor, the Rev. Lamar Smith.

The service at 6:30 a.m. will be held lakeside at Monroe Camp and Retreat Center and led by Lucinda Kasak Campbell, lay leader at Snead’s Grove. About 60 people usually attend this Easter event.

A full breakfast after the service, provided primarily by the good cooks from Snead’s Grove, will include breakfast casseroles, grits, ham biscuits, fruit and coffee. Old Laurel Hill members will add juice, doughnuts and danish.

Breakfast is served in a screened in shelter at the lake where there’s an electrical outlet so the coffee is always hot.

This bucolic lake setting is an ideal venue for this service, said Doris Smith of Snead’s Grove. She reckoned about the only distraction might be the Canada geese and a few ducks that always fly in and swim right up to the worship service, competing with the speaker for attention. (No flyover by heavenly doves is expected, however.)

Snead’s Grove Church is located at the corner of Old Wire Road and Snead’s Road. Old Laurel Hill is located on McFarland Road.

And for anyone new to the area, the best way to find Monroe Camp and Retreat Center is to take Aberdeen Road and look for the sign on the left. All are welcome.

Here in the city, Trinity Presbyterian, 13000 Blues Farm Road, will host members of neighboring Faith Presbyterian for a service to be held under the cross at the front of Trinity church at 6:30 a.m. The Rev. Becky Kahnt, pastor, will lead the service with special vocal music by Janie and Shelly Sutton.

Afterward, a light breakfast to which all are invited will be served in Trinity’s fellowship hall.

Both churches will hold 11 a.m. worship services. Faith Church is located at 2220 Elm Ave.

First United Methodist in downtown will show the film “The Passion of Christ” at 7 p.m. in the fellowship hall tonight. Be aware, however, that the film is very graphic and is R-rated.

An Easter Sunrise Service is set at 6:30 a.m. “on the hill,” the vacant lot beside the main parking lot of the church.

Coffee will be served in the church fellowship hall at 8:30 a.m.

The 11 a.m. traditional worship service will be held in the sanctuary. Everyone is invited to bring flowers or greens from their yards for the flowering of the cross. Sunday services will be led by the Dr. Jonathan Jeffries. pastor.

The congregation at Laurinburg Presbyterian will offer its traditional Service of Healing and Wholeness to the larger community at 5:30 p.m. on Holy Saturday in the church chapel. Dr. Neal Carter, pastor, will lead the service.

A far cry from the television prototype of a healing service, this one uses special liturgy found in the Presbyterian “Book of Common Worship.” As in TV versions of healing services, the minister does do the laying on of hands and does anoint with olive oil. But all of this is accompanied with prayers that call on God the source of healing and wholeness, Carter said.

“Those who attend are young and old. All different types of folks. People with long hurts who feel they have lost their way. I have no idea why they are there. It is not really important to me why they come, just that they do,” the pastor said.

Holy Communion will be part of the Easter Sunday service at 11 a.m. as will music by guest musicians: Joshua and Noah Altman, trumpets; Brittany Wilson, euphonium; Joanna Hersey, tuba; Ryan Leonard, horn and Tracy Wiggins, percussion.

In a related musical event, Jose Rivera, director of music at the church, will conduct Pembroke University Chorale’s Spring Concert, featuring the complete Requiem Mass by John Rutter, on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church, 330 S. May St. in Southern Pines.

Admission is free and all are welcome.

St. Luke United Methodist, 1501 Turnpike Road, will hold a Sunrise Service outdoors beside the church’s columbarium at 6:30 a.m. A pancake breakfast will follow in the fellowship hall.

A contemporary worship service is set for 8:30 with traditional worship at 11 a.m. The Rev. Billy Olsen will lead the services, including the flowering of the cross. Worshipers are invited to bring flowers and greens to place on the cross.

Easter events at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 800 S. Main St., will include Good Friday Stations of the Cross beginning at noon today. A celebration of the Passion of the Lord will include Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion at 3 p.m. along with Novena of Divine Mercy beginning afterward. Confession will be available in the church.

Holy Saturday at 9 a.m. the church will be cleaned and decorated in preparation for the Feast of Easter. A blessing of Easter food baskets is set for 10 a.m. and the Solemn Vigil Mass of the Resurrection is set at 8 p.m.

On Easter Sunday at 9 a.m., a Solemn Mass of the Resurrection is scheduled.

Contact Flo Johnston at or call 910-361-4135.