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>>

  • From 'grease monkeys' to electrical engineers: Auto tech program at Vatterott blossoming

    From 'grease monkeys' to electrical engineers: Auto tech program at Vatterott blossoming

    Tuesday, October 28 2014 10:13 AM EDT2014-10-28 14:13:32 GMT
    Emiko "Emmy" Wagner of Fowler is probably not following the same path as most 23-year-old single moms trying to raise two young children. Emmy is attempting to turn her love of working on cars into a future for her and...
    Emiko "Emmy" Wagner of Fowler is probably not following the same path as most 23-year-old single moms trying to raise two young children. Emmy is attempting to turn her love of working on cars into a future for her and...
  • Will Graham loves how his famous grandfather is 'finishing'

    Will Graham loves how his famous grandfather is 'finishing'

    Wednesday, October 29 2014 6:48 PM EDT2014-10-29 22:48:21 GMT
    Most assuredly, the Rev. Will Graham included life lessons in what was a comfortable conversation with his audience Wednesday. What was also dropped into his address at Hannibal-LaGrange University was plenty of information about his famous grandfather and legendary American pastor, the Rev. Billy Graham.
    Most assuredly, the Rev. Will Graham included life lessons in what was a comfortable conversation with his audience Wednesday. What was also dropped into his address at Hannibal-LaGrange University was plenty of information about his famous grandfather and legendary American pastor, the Rev. Billy Graham.
  • Ameren gets input on Mark Twain Transmission Line at first of three open houses

    Ameren gets input on Mark Twain Transmission Line at first of three open houses

    Wednesday, October 29 2014 2:54 PM EDT2014-10-29 18:54:44 GMT
    Ameren representatives met with curious individuals and concerned land owners Tuesday to kick off a second round of open houses about the company's proposed Mark Twain Transmission Line project. Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois plans to construct a 345,000-volt transmission line through the northeast corner of Missouri.
    Ameren representatives met with curious individuals and concerned land owners Tuesday to kick off a second round of open houses about the company's proposed Mark Twain Transmission Line project. Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois plans to construct a 345,000-volt transmission line through the northeast corner of Missouri.
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.