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Church Services Held Across Philadelphia In Celebration Of Easter

by Tim Jimenez and Anita Oh

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Congregations across Philadelphia were up at sunrise to celebrate the Easter holiday.

A Center City congregation celebrated an Easter Sunday sunrise service in the middle of Rittenhouse Square.

Members of Tenth Presbyterian Church, like Veronica, bring their faith outdoors every Easter Sunday.

Rittenhouse Easter
Outdoor Easter service held by Tenth Presbyterian Church. (credit: Tim Jimenez)

"People passing could hear the word of God. And we need the word of God now, we sure do," she said.

Senior minister Liam Goligher says Rittenhouse Square is a great place to retell the story of the resurrection.

"To be reminded by the trees, and the birds singing in the background that it was in a garden - the tomb was - where Jesus arose, and was seen in a very normal enviornment," Goligher said.

A big part of Goligher's sermon focused on the power of faith in a world filled with doubt - doubt that exists today and during the time of Jesus.

"Those people came to faith, not by wishful thinking, but by the hard facts of here he is standing in front of us," said Goligher.

Meanwhile, in Society Hill, the sunrise service at Mother Bethel AME Church started at 6:30 Sunday morning.

Congregation members, many of them dressed in white, sang, prayed, and took communion.

Reverend Mark Tyler explains the significance of the holiday and what it means to worship at the historic church, founded in 1816.

"This is like the Vatican for Catholics. To celebrate Easter here at Mother Bethel AME is amazing," he said.

Reverend Tyler adds that his message this Easter is not just for Christian believers.

"Right now the world really needs peace. For Christians, for Jews, for Muslims, for Hindus, for everyone right now," Tyler said. "I would hope that, as we're witnessing the ramping up of military tensions from one side of the world to the other, that people of faith can come together in moments like this and send a different message."

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