Easter is undoubtedly one of the biggest holidays of the year, and what better place to spend it than in the Grove. For the sixth consecutive year, the Orchard is making that a possibility.
Beginning at 11 a.m. Easter Sunday, the church will hold their service on the stage in the middle of the Ole Miss campus. Led by Pastor Pat Ward, the service is open to anyone in hopes that the community can come together to celebrate the holiday.
“This service is a way for us to be in the heart of the city, connect our neighbors and celebrate a truly special day,” Ward said. “The fun part about the Grove is that we will have a lot of people who may not come to the church, students who aren’t going home for Easter or just families who want to try something new. We don’t just want to be a church that has people come and listen to the service, but one that connects with people in new ways.”
Each year Easter in the Grove has drawn large crowds with the service, different musicians and unfortunately for Ward, a raw Easter egg being cracked on his head. The service itself has evolved as the church began including baptisms last year, a practice that will continue this year.
Ward will lead the service along with five others to bring diversity to the service and allow attendees to hear multiple voices throughout the event. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, and Ward hopes that the message continues to resonate with people.
“Easter has a message that transcends denominations because it speaks to the heart of real life,” Ward said. “It asks ‘is there more than just life as it seems right now for me and what I’m going through; both the success and the difficulties? Is there more to life than bad news which seems to surround us?’ There is great news, and there are reasons for hope. We celebrate the resurrection as the greatest event in history and also as the thing that can give our lives hope and hope for the future.”
Chairs aren’t provided, so attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to sit on as they enjoy the service. Ward discussed how families will often bring picnics and stay in the Grove for the remainder of the afternoon. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, the service will be held at the Orchard Church on Highway 7 at the same time.
The Orchard will also be offering a sunrise service at the church.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.