Locals Attend Easter Sunrise Service in Appomattox Despite the Rain

Appomattox, VA - The Appomattox County Ministerial Association held an Easter sunrise service at the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park Sunday.

Under a small tent on a cold and wet morning, a group of pastors gathered to celebrate Easter Sunday. And although it wasn't quite a picturesque sunrise, the rain didn't keep locals away.

Members of at least five different churches came out including local Presbyterian, Catholic, Methodist, Episcopal and Anglican churches.

Many stood in the rain.

"It doesn't matter that it's raining because Christ is risen," said Rev. Loren Mitchell with the Appomattox Court House Presbyterian Church as she welcomed the crowd and started off the service.

The pastors had to shorten the service because of the weather.

"Rain puts on damper on things, but we had a good turnout I think. We try to just do all the important things to make sure people came together and that unity was a really big part of the day," said Mitchell.

That's what attracted a couple of high school students to the service.

"It's good because it's a non-denominational service so you just come together all in one as a Catholic/ universal church," said McKinley Cardwell, who was attending the sunrise service for the first time.

Organizers say it's also special because of the grounds; the place where Generals Lee and Grant negotiated the surrender that ended the Civil War.

"The surrender grounds have such meaning in the community and in the country as well. So it's really important for us to come together as churches in the community and do something out here in the sacred space," said Mitchell.

Those who came out say that makes up for getting a little wet.

"If there was anything that I've been taught is thatit's actually better to endure in order to hear God's word than rather to not hear the word," said Cardwell.

Organizers will continue to hold the service every Easter Sunday at the National Park.