MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- The Marine Memorial Chapel worked with the Rock Point Church, King’s Chapel, Faith Baptist Church and Cavalry Chapel to host an Easter Sunrise Service at the Kintai Bridge in Iwakuni, Japan, April 20, 2014.
The purpose of the service was to reflect on the principles of Easter and to bring the community closer together.
“Easter is an important event for Christians,” said Lt. Cmdr. Louis Lee, command chaplain with the Marine Memorial Chapel. “It is the foundation of their belief. It’s the time where they celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Lee said he started this event three years ago and what started off as a few members has now grown into more than 100 participants coming together and celebrating their beliefs.
“It’s about unity, it’s about love, churches working with other churches and sharing the love of Christ,” said Lee.
The huge attendance at this year’s service stunned Navy Lt. Latoya Zavala, deputy chaplain at the Marine Memorial Chapel and event coordinator.
“What shocked me the most is when I got to the Kintai Bridge, most of the people were already there waiting for the service to happen, which means to me that people have a hungering to unite for a positive purpose,” said Zavala.
As community members gathered at the Kintai Bridge, they were welcomed with open arms, said Zavala. Afterward, each of the leaders from the other churches played a key role within the service to truly define the joint service.
Members sang songs, worshiped and prayed for the inhabitants of the city, military personnel and for members of the congregation. Zavala said the power of the word brought many diverse people together to worship as one.
“When we talk about the spirit of unity, we have so many differences out there, united in one purpose and one focus; it’s pretty phenomenal,” said Zavala.
Lee said this sermon was a great stepping stone for joint services, particularly aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.