Easter sunrise service returns to Ocean City, New Jersey

OCEAN CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- "Sunrise reminds us that Christ is still alive," said Reverend Marcia Stanford. "The resurrection of Christ is almost reminding us of the resurrection of life again for us because we have been entombed almost for a year."

It was a year ago when Ocean City's Easter celebration went dark due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, thanks to masks and limited capacity, the lights were shining at the music pier.

"I think it means more this year than ever because we lived to be here today," said Stanford, the pastor at Macedonia United Methodist Church.

Stanford powerfully preached to a full house of devout lovers of their Jersey shore community.

"We like this because it's all of the churches," said resident Kate McCormick. "It's everybody and I think this symbolizes Ocean City."

Even visitors flocked to the edge of the state to see the start of a new day.

"It doesn't get any better," said Linda VanOcker from Chesterbrook, PA. "It's God showing us how much he loves us by painting a canvas in the sky."

As dozens left the pier to feast on Easter breakfast, Reverend Stanford reflected on the lingering sense of community.

"It doesn't matter whether you're Catholic, Methodist, Protestant, it doesn't matter," she said. "We may go to different churches, but we serve the same savior."

Stanford is also the chaplain at United Methodist Communities at The Shores, an assisted living facility where she has brought faith and hope during the pandemic. She has assisted in bringing virtual faith-based services to their residents.

To learn more about visiting Ocean City, visit their website.

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