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FUMC holding unique Easter service

First United Methodist Church will hold a “Raising of the Cross” service Sunday beginning at 9:30 a.m. (Courtesy photo)

First United Methodist Church will hold a “Raising of the Cross” service Sunday beginning at 9:30 a.m. (Courtesy photo)

First United Methodist Church will hold a “Raising of the Cross” service Sunday.

Dr. David Saliba, pastor of First United Methodist Church, says he’s been told the service has taken place annually since the 1920s. During the service, a flower cross is raised in the sanctuary; something Saliba says he believes is unique to the church.

“The service features our youth and children, and we have the ‘Raising of the Cross’ prior to the main Easter worship service,” he said. “During the service children bring flowers from their yards to decorate our large Chancel cross, and lilies are also placed on the cross in honor and memory of loved ones. We call this parade of children, the ‘Procession of Flowers.’ While the congregation sings the hymn, ‘Lift High The Cross,’ we do in fact lift or raise the cross. A youth then offers a prayer in celebration of Christ’s resurrection and the transformation of the cross from a symbol of death and crucifixion to a symbol of eternal life and hope. We then have several acts of praise offered by the youth group and one of them reads the Easter scripture passage. We close the service with the whole congregation singing, ‘Up From the Grave He Arose.’”

Saliba said it is truly a “moving service.”

“It captures the hearts and minds of the children as they help tell the story of Jesus’ resurrection,” he said. “It also engages us all in the great celebration of Easter Sunday as we praise God with the powerful imagery and symbolism of a large and beautifully adorned cross raising up before our very own eyes.”

The service will begin at 9:30 a.m.