Community services highlight holiday

The holiday weekend kicks off Friday with a community celebration to remember Jesus' life.

First Presbyterian Church in Newton will host a Good Friday service at noon in the church's sanctuary. Mark Watson, a pastor at First Presbyterian Church, said the service is expected to last about 45 minutes.

"It's a time to remember Jesus through scripture reading, meditation and liturgy," Watson said.

In addition to the quiet time and scripture message, Watson said participants will sing traditional hymns and hear a solo by Ann Aichinger, a pastor at New Vision Church in Conover.

Even for residents who have to work Friday, they are invited to take a lunch hour at noon to be sure not to miss this annual event organized by the Newton Pastors Association.

"It's a wonderful way to just prepare for Easter and to get the whole experience of the Easter weekend through contemplating the death and resurrection of Jesus," Watson said. "This is a community event that we hope can be meaningful for everybody."

Also at noon Friday, the community is invited to participate in a Parade of Crosses. St. Paul's Methodist Church in Newton organized the event to start at the courthouse in the Catawba County Justice Center. The parade is expected to arrive at the Square in downtown Newton at 2 p.m.

On Sunday, the community is also invited to an Easter Sunrise Service at 7 a.m. at Eastview Cemetery. Following the sunrise service, the Lutheran Men's group at Beth Eden Lutheran Church will serve breakfast to anyone who attends the morning community service.

Reggie Keener, vice president of the men's group, said they are preparing to serve at least 100 people.

"We have never done this before," said Keener, adding Beth Eden usually hosts its own sunrise service and breakfast is served to members following that morning service.

Eight men from the group will start preparing the food at 6:30 a.m. to be served at 8 a.m. at Beth Eden Lutheran Church in downtown Newton. Keener said the menu includes sausage, eggs, biscuits and pancakes with coffee and juice to drink.

There is no charge for the breakfast, but Keener said donations are accepted. Donations will pay for the breakfast food and any extra money will fund a church program.

"We are reaching out to the community," Keener said. "There is some time between the sunrise service and church services for different churches. (With the breakfast), people have a place to go and eat before going to their different churches or attending our church."

Keener added that any food leftover from the sunrise breakfast will be donated to The Corner Table in Newton.

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