News: Worshipers gather early for Easters sunrise services
Story by Sgt. Valerie Lopez
FORT BLISS, Texas -- The sun peaks through the clouds, heads bowed down, a voice prays… “in the name of your Son, Jesus,” beyond the serenity of the calm morning sunrise, an echo of voices answer, “Amen.”
On this early Sunday morning, the worshipers on Fort Bliss came together for the Easter Sunrise Service.
It’s a tradition here and mostly Army wide, said chaplain, Maj. Bradley West, Hope Chapel senior pastor. Last year individual chapels did their own ESS, but a post wide ESS is usually assembled.
“Every post I’ve been too has had a post wide ESS… it’s a good Army tradition as well chaplain’s [tradition],” said West.
Fort Bliss Soldiers, Families and civilians gathered at Noel field for the ESS at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, April 24.
“It’s refreshing to be out here,” said retired Command Sgt. Maj. Deleon Weston, a deacon at Sage Hall.
The significance of this early sunrise service is the disciples - the women - who got up early seeking Jesus, that morning he rose from the dead, said West. Having the service at sunrise is like walking in the steps of those disciples.
West said, “It’s a way to physically and viscerally take part in that first discovery… the feeling of getting up early in the morning and everything that goes along with.”
During the service, chaplain Lt. Col. Peter Baktis, Fort Bliss Senior Chaplain read the scriptures of Matthew 28:1-10 describing the event the women experienced the morning Christ resurrected.
The readings lead the message, “The Earth Shook”, by chaplain Col. Bill Phillips. Phillips went on to explain how the resurrection of Jesus is the reason for the believers there.
After the message and throughout the service there were musical pieces from Marsha Hansen, Fort Bliss director of Religious education, Center Chapel One Choir, Sage Hall Men’s Choir, the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Chapel Choir and the 62nd Army Band.
For this service the various congregations on Fort Bliss came together, said West. The simplicity of the early Christians going to the tomb to see what they could do is reflected in this early service.
Weston said, “The service was wonderful, I hope we continue this.”
Easter and Passover season is special for many people, said West. “We’re very involved in supporting all the different faiths that worship here, and are happy to service Soldiers, Families and civilians.”
This year’s ESS was sponsored by the Team Bliss Senior Chaplains Office.
For questions concerning ESS or for more information on Fort Bliss Chapel services call 568-1519.