GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Hundreds gathered this morning in some of Colorado's most beautiful scenery for a tradition that has been in the Grand Valley for many years. They celebrated Easter with an outdoor service on the Colorado National Monument.
"Recognizing the first Easter morning as the women came out into the tomb, we come out into nature," Redlands United Methodist Pastor Kerry McCormick said.
Redlands United Methodist Church, Fruita United Methodist Church and Crossroads United Methodist Church joined their congregations together to sing, socialize and listen to an Easter sermon.
"That's what it's all about, to collaborate with our other churches, with our brothers and sisters in Christ,” said Fruita United Methodist Pastor Deanne Sharp.
All three pastors took turns speaking during the sermon. In years past the group gathered at the Bookcliffs Overlook, but this year they worked with the Colorado National Monument to get a bigger space.
"This year we were in the Saddlehorn Amphitheater so that we could watch the sunrise over the Mesa and gather as a community of faith," Sharp said.
The bleachers at Saddlehorn were completely full, with 250 people making the trek to the Monument to attend the sunrise service. All of the attendees were invited back to one of the churches after for breakfast.
"To see that many people take the time to come out and be with us, that's a very special thing,” McCormick said. “I honor their commitment to being with us today."
Redlands United Methodist is also opening a community garden, complete with 20 individual gardens, to celebrate their 40-year-anniversary. People can register for individual gardens through the church.