Christians gather in cemetery at sunrise to celebrate Easter - Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

Christians gather in cemetery at sunrise to celebrate Easter

Posted: Updated:
The Rev. Ivan Greuter prepares communion for a nondenominational sunrise service at Quincy's Greenmount Cemetery on Easter Sunday. (H-W Photo/Maggie Menderski) The Rev. Ivan Greuter prepares communion for a nondenominational sunrise service at Quincy's Greenmount Cemetery on Easter Sunday. (H-W Photo/Maggie Menderski)

By MAGGIE MENDERSKI
Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Christians gathered at Quincy's Greenmount Cemetery at sunrise Sunday to celebrate their faith in the way it began.

The Rev. Ivan Greuter of Central Baptist Church stood among the gravestones and an interfaith population and preached the message of Jesus Christ. The service honored the Christian belief that Jesus died and rose again on the third day nearly two centuries ago, but the setting brought the population back to the earliest days of the Christian church. Greuter reminded the crowd that the first Christians didn't have churches, so they worshipped their God in tombs and catacombs.

"They didn't have pews," Greuter said. "We didn't have comfortable churches. We didn't have climate control. We worshipped in cemeteries."

Greuter said his church has offered this service for the five years. Each year, a small crowd of 100 to 150 people gathers in darkness and greets Easter morning as the sun rises over a makeshift altar and the tombstones.

Brian and Summer Prenger and their children MacKenzie, 11, and Gaven, 8, joined the crowd of about 100 just before the service began at 6:30 a.m. The family huddled beneath blankets and wore winter coats as they sang hymns and prayed along with the crowd. While the family regularly attends Central Baptist Church, this was the first time they'd celebrated Easter in the cemetery.

"In the past, people did celebrate church every Sunday in cemeteries," Brian said. "It's a step outside of the ordinary."

The crowd listed to a Bible reading from Mark 16:1-8 that described the empty tomb Jesus's followers found on the first Easter morning. Greuter said that Christians believe Jesus died, rose from the dead and believe he will return in a second coming. He said he hopes that this yearly graveyard service reminds Christians that they are waiting for that second coming.

"We do it because Christ rose, and he rose out of a cemetery," Greuter said. "We have hope. Christ died, Christ is risen, and Christ is coming again."

— mmenderski@whig.com/221-3385

  • Local HeadlinesLocal HeadlinesMore>>

  • Durbin visits Quincy church on Sunday after attending Saturday night fundraiser

    Durbin visits Quincy church on Sunday after attending Saturday night fundraiser

    Sunday, August 31 2014 11:48 PM EDT2014-09-01 03:48:28 GMT
    U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and a local religious leader on Sunday encouraged people to make their voices heard at the voting booths in the wake of unrest in Ferguson, Mo. Durbin, a Springfield Democrat, spoke at a service at the Cathedral of Worship in Quincy Sunday morning after a fundraising event at Quincy University Saturday night.
    U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and a local religious leader on Sunday encouraged people to make their voices heard at the voting booths in the wake of unrest in Ferguson, Mo. Durbin, a Springfield Democrat, spoke at a service at the Cathedral of Worship in Quincy Sunday morning after a fundraising event at Quincy University Saturday night.
  • Rauner brings Republican campaign for governor to Adams County

    Rauner brings Republican campaign for governor to Adams County

    Saturday, August 30 2014 11:40 PM EDT2014-08-31 03:40:51 GMT
    Republican Bruce Rauner brought his campaign for Illinois governor to Quincy on Saturday, and he made it clear to supporters he's going to need their help to defeat the Democratic incumbent, Pat Quinn, on election day. ...
    Republican Bruce Rauner brought his campaign for Illinois governor to Quincy on Saturday, and he made it clear to supporters he's going to need their help to defeat the Democratic incumbent, Pat Quinn, on election day. ...
  • Special Summer: Edina man with Down syndrome meets president, speaks at U.N. conference

    Special Summer: Edina man with Down syndrome meets president, speaks at U.N. conference

    Sunday, August 31 2014 11:58 PM EDT2014-09-01 03:58:19 GMT
    EDINA, Mo. -- Jared Niemeyer has hobnobbed with pop stars, shaken hands with the president, and spoken in front of world leaders. And that was just this summer. The 22-year-old from rural Edina man spent parts of June...
    EDINA, Mo. -- Jared Niemeyer has hobnobbed with pop stars, shaken hands with the president, and spoken in front of world leaders. And that was just this summer. The 22-year-old from rural Edina man spent parts of June...
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Quincy Herald-Whig. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.