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Easter services: Making a big splash

April 12, 2009 |  2:03 pm

Tens of thousands of worshipers celebrated Easter in the Southland today. Among activities was the annual sunrise service and baptisms off Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades:

With the moon still high in the sky, about 350 people gathered at sunrise Sunday to mark Easter and partake of a traditional rite of baptism at Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades — one of scores of Easter celebrations that attracted tens of thousands of worshipers across Southern California.

At the beach service, a band made up of twentysomethings — known as Risen — from Trinity Church of Santa Monica set up drums and electric guitars on a plywood platform to play hymns and pop hits, including U2’s “Yahweh.”

The Rev. Will Bredberg, who helped start the nondenominational service 31 years ago, welcomed worshipers, many of whom attended some of the dozen churches that sponsored the event.

“The thing that brings us out at this crazy time of the morning is the absolute conviction that Jesus Christ, a carpenter from Nazareth, died on a cross 2,000 years ago,” Bredberg said, proclaiming, “He is risen.”

The beach worshipers, camped out on blankets and in beach chairs, responded: “He is risen indeed.”

Elsewhere in the Southland, people flocked to Easter services at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine and the Huntington Beach Pier. Crowds also assembled at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles to hear Cardinal Roger Mahony celebrate Mass.