Christians worldwide are in the midst of observing Holy Week, which started with Palm Sunday and leads up to Easter, the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.
For the past 10 years, Christian denominations in Sierra Vista have been coming together for a multi-denominational Sunrise Service held at 6 a.m. in Veterans Memorial Park.
“This is our 10th annual Comm-Unity Sunrise Service, and we have 14 Christian organizations represented this year,” said Bill Polakowski, who serves on the Discovery Forum Alliance Committee, the group that organizes the service. “Every year, we select a faith-based charitable organization to receive money collected through the event’s goodwill offering. This year, Good Neighbor Alliance was selected, with Bill Goethe, former owner of Mr. Fix-It, as the keynote speaker. He will be sharing his story of how Good Neighbor Alliance helped him through a very difficult time in his life.”
Seminarian Richard Rivera, former youth minister for St. Andrew’s Church, will present the service’s message. Rivera continues to serve youth in a Chicago church as part of his seminary studies, Polakowski said.
“He hopes to be ordained as a Catholic priest in 2022 and would like to return to Southern Arizona to serve in this area,” Polakowski said. “The focus of our 2019 sunrise service is children, youth and young adults, so Richard (Rivera) — as a representative of youth and our future — is a wonderful choice to deliver the message.”
Move City Church is providing music throughout the event and will be joined by young vocalists, in keeping with the service’s “youthful” theme.
Pastor Shawn Buckhanan of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church participates in the service every year and is one of the past speakers.
“Sunrise Service is imperative in bringing together the ecumenical community, because that’s when shared faith comes together,” he said. “In times like these, we need each other. We have unrest throughout the world, our military is being deployed, churches are being burned, children are being threatened and drug use is on the rise.
“Sunrise Service allows people of different faiths to come together to worship and reflect in unity, which is beautiful.”