BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Easter is April 16 and there are plenty of activities and services for residents leading up to the Christian holiday.
Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter Sunday, will include services hosted by the Daytona Beach Black Clergy Alliance.
On Good Friday, April 14, the alliance will host its major Easter service titled “The Seven Last Words of Christ’’ at Stewart Memorial United Methodist Church, 300 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
The event will feature seven prominent pastors from area churches as well as choirs.
“Easter is important to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The foundation of Black community is our faith. We encourage everyone to come together during this special event,” said the Rev. Derrick Harris, president of the alliance.
Maundy Thursday service
For residents seeking a Maundy Thursday service, the United Presbyterian Church at 730 Beville Road, in Daytona Beach, will present a Maundy Thursday Tenebrae Service on April 13 at 6:30 p.m.
On Easter Sunday, a breakfast is set for 8:30 a.m. followed by a worship service at 10. The choir will perform the cantata “Come to the Cross” by Cindy Berry, arranged by Keith Christopher. The cantata covers the events from the procession into Jerusalem through the Resurrection. The choir is under the direction of Richard Butler.
For more information, contact the church at 386-253-2324. The Rev. Dr. Laura Walters Baskett is United Presbyterian’s interim pastor.
Egg hunt, picnic
The Daytona Beach Black Clergy Alliance also has scheduled an Easter Sunrise service on April 16 at the House of God, 736 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., with Pastor Raynard Bryant.
Master’s Domain Church of God in Christ will host a “Super Easter Egg Hunt and Picnic’’ on Saturday, April 15, from noon until 4 p.m. at 511 Freemont Ave.
“We welcome everyone to come out and enjoy this time with us,” added Harris, who also is the pastor of Master’s Domain.
Encouragement and hope
Harris said the events also provide encouragement and hope to people who are dealing with a variety of issues such as depression from the loss of a job, loss of income, loss of a loved one, and from being away from family.
“That is one of the reasons why churches have these types of events. We want to let people know that there is hope and to be encouraged that all things are possible, especially through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Harris noted.
He also wants to see the area’s homeless participate in services.
“We are also doing a major feeding for the homeless at Master’s Domain on Easter morning beginning at 9:30 a.m. They will have breakfast and Sunday School simultaneously. We also want to spread the gospel and provide them with a meal, which is a part of the helping them with what they need,’’ he explained.
Master’s Domain will resume its Thursday night feedings for the homeless at the Bay Street sanctuary in t upcoming weeks.
Vigil, masses on the beach
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, located at 201 University Blvd., also has a week full of Easter activities scheduled.
The church will host its “Great Easter Vigil’’ on Saturday, April 15, at 8 p.m. which will include scripture, song and prayer.
Easter Beach masses are scheduled for April 16 on the beach in Daytona Beach at 7:30 a.m. followed by a mass at the Daytona Beach Bandshell at 9 a.m.
“All are welcome to join us. We have two services open to all. We’ve been doing services on the beach for probably 50 years and before our church was built. We used to have services at the Peabody Auditorium back then. On Easter…the Peabody was too small,” said Father Phil Egito of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Our Lady of Lourdes also will hold additional Easter masses on Saturday, April 15, at 8 p.m. and on Easter Sunday at 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.
An Easter Festival 2017 also is scheduled for Sunday, April 23, at Our Lady of Lourdes beginning at 12:30 p.m. The event will include an egg hunt, photo booth, games, music, face painting and a children’s fashion show. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own family traditional Easter dishes.
“We actually celebrate Easter for a period of seven weeks. There is too much going on during Easter Sunday, so we have our festival later,” added Egito.
Joint A.M.E. service
Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church and Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church will have a joint Sunrise Service on Easter morning at 6:30 a.m.
The service for the Daytona Beach churches will be held at Mt. Zion, 449 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
New Smyrna events
Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church in New Smyrna also will host an Easter egg hunt on Saturday, April 15, from noon until 2 p.m. The church is at 344 Sheldon St.
On Easter Sunday, the church has scheduled a Sunrise service for 6 a.m. A free breakfast is slated for 8:30 a.m. until 10 a.m.
“We’re just excited about celebrating the life and resurrection of our lord and savior. We invite everyone from all walks of life to come and take a part of the services. We want the body of Christ to do more reaching out to the community,” said the Rev. Jeffrey Dove, pastor of the New Smyrna church.
Calvary Christian Center in Ormond Beach has scheduled a family communion service on April 14 at 6:30 p.m. at 1687 W. Grenada Blvd. A community egg hunt is April 15 at 10 a.m. Easter services are slated for 11 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.