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Special services highlight Easter celebrations

By Shannon Jenkins

Special services abound this Sunday as area churches observe the Easter holiday.

In Henry County, Liberty Baptist Church will take a harmonic approach to the holiday with its annual Easter musical.

This year, the church's choir and cast will present the musical "The Love of Jesus," which offers music, singing and drama scenes in conjunction with the pastor's message.

The musical has been a church tradition since Roger Prillhart became music director 15 years ago. He said the unique event generally receives a good reaction from audiences.

"It brings people back to meaning of the birth and death of Christ," he said. "We always try to leave them with idea that Jesus is in heaven waiting to come back. We don't focus on him in the manger or on the cross. We focus on him in power and glory, ready to return."

They also enjoy the scenery and special music, he said. About 50 people – from singers to the sound technicians – have been rehearsing since January.

The services begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday at 1410 Valley Hill Road and Highway 42 North in Stockbridge. For more information, call (770) 474-1247.

For early birds in Clayton County, Philadelphia Presbyterian Church will offer its "Sonrise" service in the church parking lot at 7 a.m. in Forest Park. Breakfast will follow with Sunday school beginning at 9:45 a.m. and an Easter Cantata as part of the worship service at 11.

Fred Rohrbach, who helped organize the sunrise service, said the children church members will perform the 15- to 20-minute service.

"It's one of many traditions we have in our church," he said.

The church's pastor, Spencer Frye, said the sunrise service helps members relate to those who discovered the empty tomb shortly after the sun had risen where Jesus had been.

"It's important because we identify with those who went to the tomb," Frye said. "It's spiritual more than anything. It's not a matter of when you have it or where you have it."

The church is located at 351 Morrow Road. For information or directions, call (404) 366-1851 or visit www.philadelphiachurch-pcusa.org.

Some other Clayton County services include the following:

Morrow First United Methodist Church will have its Easter Sunday celebration beginning at the 11 a.m. with a worship service. The Joyful Praise Ringers handbell choir under the direction of Barbara Chambers will perform, and Bill Jackson, the pastor of Morrow First United Methodist Church, will deliver the Easter message. There will be no afternoon or evening activities on that day. The church is at 5985 North Main Street in Morrow, next to the Morrow Wal-Mart. For details, call (770) 961-4668.

Three services will be held at Jonesboro First Baptist Church, 147 Church St., at 8, 9:30 and 10:45 a.m. The Celebration Choir and Orchestra will have special music at the 8 and 10:45 a.m. services. Jonathan and Lisa Moore will be the worship leaders at the 9:30 a.m. contemporary service to be held in the Recreation Outreach Center. For more information, call (770) 478-6710.

An Easter breakfast will be held at 8:30 a.m. at St. Timothy Evangelical Lutheran Church in Forest Park. A worship service will follow at 10:30 a.m. with Palm Sunday service at 7 p.m. The church is located at 5241 Ash Street. For details, call (404) 366-3560.

The following services are just a few available in Henry County:

The annual Stockbridge Community Easter Morning Sunrise Service will begin at 7 a.m. at the Patrick Henry High School stadium at 109 Lee Street. Some of the participating churches include Stockbridge First United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church of Stockbridge, First Christian Church of Stockbridge, North Henry Baptist Church, Stockbridge Presbyterian Church USA, Faith Community of Love Congregational Church. An offering will be accepted during the service to benefit a local Henry County charity. In the event of inclement weather, the service will be held at the First Baptist Church of Stockbridge at 4566 North Henry Boulevard. For details, call Stockbridge First United Methodist at (770) 474-4111, First Baptist Church of Stockbridge at (770) 474-4484 or Stockbridge Presbyterian Church USA at (770) 474-7775.

The Church @ South Edge will hold an "Espresso Easter" celebration at Luella High School at 603 Walker Drive in Locust Grove. Church officials said the service "will make a huge impact in a very short amount of time – only 55 minutes" and will be "fast, creative and powerful." A complimentary breakfast will be held from 9:30 to 9:50 a.m., with the service beginning at 10. Children from birth to fifth grade will have a celebration of their own. For details, call (404) 281-3923.

The Mt. Carmel Road Assembly of God at 45 Mount Carmel Road in McDonough will host a special Praise-Power in Song featuring the Phillips Family beginning at 10:30 a.m. For more information, call (770) 957-3949.

Mt. Bethel United Methodist will have a sunrise service at 7 a.m. Breakfast and Sunday School will follow with no 11 a.m. service. For details, call (770) 954-1194. The church is located at 992 Mount Bethel Road in McDonough.