The Cross is Empty; the Stone is Rolled – Alleluia, Jesus Is Risen

April 8, 2016


by Len Lathrop

The sun rose as members of the First Congregational Church of Pelham worshiped at the Harris’ Pelham Inn on Easter morning.  As has become the tradition of the parish under the leadership of Reverend Bill Ferguson, the faithful met around 6:30 a.m. to celebrate the good news that Jesus Christ is raised from the dead.

The Harris family invited the congregation to use their overlook for the worship service.  The room with walls of windows and fire in the fireplace offered a refuge for the young people of the church to lead the service on one of the most holy days of the Christen faith.

With Easter Sunday arriving earlier than usual this year on March 27, this is based on a decision made a very long time ago in 325 A.D. at the First Council of Nicaea, a gathering of bishops.  They stipulated that Easter should always be celebrated on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, which is the first full moon of the spring equinox, when night and day are exactly the same length.  The earliest Easter can possibly fall is March 22, though this is very rare – occurring most recently in 1818 and the next in 2285.  The next earliest date is March 23, as it was in 2008 – this will not happen again until 2160.  The latest date Easter can occur is April 25, which last occurred in 1943 and will next occur in 2038.

Leading the service this Easter Sunrise Service was Melissa Molettieri with the call to worship, Cullen Michaud who offered the prayer of invocation followed by Sam Blanchard and Angela Getty with readings from the Scripture, while Rev. Ferguson offered the message.  Diana Sauer led the unison prayer and Sarah Hartz gave the benediction.

The sun had risen as the fellowship enjoyed coffee and donuts before leaving the Harris’ Pelham Inn.