Congregations from throughout Southwest Florida will gather at City of Palms Park in downtown Fort Myers Easter, April 12, to worship and to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Doors open at 5:30 a.m. for the Easter Sunrise service, which begins at 6:30 a.m. There is no admission for the service or for parking at City of Palms Park. Free coffee and pastries also will be served both before and after the service.
The inspirational message will be by Evangelist Brent Crowe, who is the executive director of conferences under the umbrella of the Student Leadership University in Orlando.
Pastors from eight area churches participated in the planning for this year's annual Easter Sunrise service, which has become a tradition in Fort Myers. Supporting the program will be Pastor Chuck Smith of Broadway Community Church, Pastor Gregory Ford of First Assembly Cornerstone, the Rev. John Q. Daugherty of First Baptist Church of Fort Myers, the Rev. Dr. Gerald Wise of First Presbyterian Church of Fort Myers, the Rev. Jim Mitchell of First United Methodist Church, the Rev. Philip D. Read, II, SSC, of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Jon Zehnder of St. Michael Lutheran Church and the Rev. Dr. Israel Suarez of Templo Cristiano El Buen Samaritano.
The Community Easter Sunrise Service has been a tradition since the 1950s and has moved over the years from the Fort Myers High School Stadium to Centennial Park to City of Palms Park. This is the 14th year that the service has been conducted at City of Palms Park. Last year, more than 2,000 people attended the service.
"We welcome and encourage everyone to join us on Easter Sunday for this community-wide worship service," said the Rev. Dr. Gerald Wise, who is the chairman of this year's planning committee. "We have room for 7,000 people at City of Palms Park and we'd like to pack the place with people who wish to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
Music will be provided by the Southwest Florida Symphony Chorus and Brass Quintet. The service will be inter-denominational.
The Rev. Crowe is an emerging spiritual and cultural leader who uses humor and real life situations to relate to people at the heart of their struggles. The roles of husband, father, minister, evangelist, writer and leader have allowed him to influence people from all walks of life throughout his 12 years in ministry.
The Rev. Crowe is a popular speaker and has spoken to tens of thousands of people across the nation and abroad at events such as Universal Studios Rock the Universe, Acquire the Fire conferences, both national and international crusades, leadership conferences such as Youth Pastor Summit, Leadership Rocks, Student Leadership University, Hume Lake camps and a wide array of venues ranging from Sunday morning, See You At the Pole Rallies, Spiritual Emphasis weeks, parent seminars and school assemblies.
In addition to being a full-time evangelist, Rev. Crowe is currently serving as the executive director of all conferences under the umbrella of Student Leadership University. This program has trained more than 36,000 students to commit themselves to excellence and affords
The Rev. Crowe earned a bachelor of arts degree from Bryan College in 2000, a masters of divinity in Evangelism from Southeastern Theological Seminar in 2005, and a Master of Arts in Ethics from Southeastern Theological Seminary in 2006.
The Rev. Crowe and his wife, Christina, live in Orlando with their two children, Gabriel and Charis.
For more information about the Community Easter Sunrise Service, call 334-2261.