By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
HAUGHTON – More than 550 people turned out at 6:30 a.m. for an annual Easter sunrise service at Hillcrest Cemetery in Haughton, 8 miles from the First Baptist Church in Haughton, which provided the music and message for the special service.
Gevan Spinney, pastor of First Haughton, said the cemetery was a fitting backdrop to share the timeless story of Christ’s victory over death, and that 15 former sinners were rescued from a spiritual grave that day.
“For many of those in attendance the cemetery has been a place of heartache and defeat, this Sunday morning it was a place of victory.” Spinney said. “We use this service as an opportunity to share the Gospel with our community and it is always a special service, but this year the Holy Spirit showed up in an especially powerful way.”
Though the service was conducted by First Haughton, the event drew members from surrounding churches as well as people who rarely attend any worship service. Spinney said the service has become a tradition for those not connected to a church, which he sees as the perfect opportunity to share the hope of Christ.
“Hillcrest sends out invitations to all the people who have loved ones buried there, and those people end up coming back year after year,” Spinney said. “That gives me an open door to share the Gospel.”
The service was one of three for First Baptist Haughton on Easter Sunday. Three people came forward to accept Christ in the two services on campus.
“Easter is an easy time to share the Gospel,” Spinney said. “Most people in Haughton acknowledge and celebrate Easter in some form or fashion and we have noticed the more we share the Gospel the more people respond to Jesus.”