HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds gathered before dawn at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl for an Easter tradition that goes back 110 years.
"Here we are, together, gathered to celebrate the defining claim of the Christian tradition: Christ is risen," said Rev. Diane Martinson-Koyama, the chaplain at Iolani School. Martinon-Koyama delivered the Easter message for the annual Easter Sunrise Service.
Worshippers gathered in the dim light before dawn, under a sky nearly free of clouds, at the place Hawaiians call Puowaina, the Hill of Sacrifice. They were serenaded by the Royal Hawaiian Band, and heard words of celebration and of faith.
"This is the morning for which we wait. This is the sunrise for which we long," Martinson-Koyama told the gathering.
Representatives of various churches were there, and all listened to the Easter message and contemplated their faith. "A faith that has the audacity to look suffering and death in the face and declare words of hope, of new beginnings, and new life," Martinson-Koyama said.
"Grant courage, we pray this day, to those who struggle with pain and suffering," said Rev. Kerry Grogan, pastor of Christ Church Uniting. "Give strength to those who seek justice and resist evil, even to the point of death."
"Follow this sacrifice with hour blessing, that it may promote peace and goodwill," prayed Cecelia Fordham, a member of the parish of St. Clement Episcopal Church.
Offerings at the service traditionally go to a local charity. This year's recipient was the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.