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>>

  • Last in a Series

    Under the Influence: Change in processing offenders helps lead to reduction of DUIs in Adams County

    Under the Influence: Change in processing offenders helps lead to reduction of DUIs in Adams County

    Friday, November 21 2014 11:18 AM EST2014-11-21 16:18:34 GMT
    As the number of drunken driving cases reaching her desk continued to grow, Jennifer Cifaldi decided something needed to be done to stem the tide. Cifaldi, an assistant state's attorney who handles traffic offenses, went to Adams County State's Attorney Jon Barnard. The result was the institution of a DUI search warrant program. Starting in 2008, the county began to get search warrants for those suspected of DUI who refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test.
    As the number of drunken driving cases reaching her desk continued to grow, Jennifer Cifaldi decided something needed to be done to stem the tide. Cifaldi, an assistant state's attorney who handles traffic offenses, went to Adams County State's Attorney Jon Barnard. The result was the institution of a DUI search warrant program. Starting in 2008, the county began to get search warrants for those suspected of DUI who refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test.
  • Judge rules Illinois pension law unconstitutional

    Judge rules Illinois pension law unconstitutional

    A Sangamon County judge's ruling Friday on the constitutionality of the landmark Illinois pension overhaul could determine whether the matter is ultimately decided by the state Supreme Court.
    An Illinois judge tossed out a landmark law Friday intended to fix the nation's worst government-employee pension crisis, ruling that the plan lawmakers adopted less than a year ago violates the state...
  • All-terrain wheelchair will make hunting possible for wounded veterans

    All-terrain wheelchair will make hunting possible for wounded veterans

    Friday, November 21 2014 11:07 AM EST2014-11-21 16:07:14 GMT
    QUINCY -- As each customer passed by the all-terrain wheelchair parked in the main aisle Thursday inside GameMasters, they stopped and lingered. They leaned on the arms, testing the wheelchair's shocks and sturdiness. They pushed it to see how the tank-like tracks moved. A couple of them even sat in it.
    QUINCY -- As each customer passed by the all-terrain wheelchair parked in the main aisle Thursday inside GameMasters, they stopped and lingered. They leaned on the arms, testing the wheelchair's shocks and sturdiness. They pushed it to see how the tank-like tracks moved. A couple of them even sat in it.

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.