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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Christians all over the world celebrated Easter Sunday today. In our area, some Christians chose to celebrate at the beach where North Pointe Community Church held its 13th annual sunrise service.

After trading in Easter Bonnets for sweatshirts and beach chairs, hundreds of people gathered on Wrightsville Beach. The Atlantic Ocean served as a scenic backdrop as believers celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“It just seems special to watch the sun rise when you know that that’s what Easter is all about, is the Son rose,” said Cassie Spain.

Although it was a cloudy start to the morning, the rain held off and people were able to enjoy the beautiful view.

“It just adds a lot of power to it, it adds to the ambiance, “said Pastor Jeff Loman of North Pointe Community Church.

The ambiance is exactly what keeps Michael Clark coming back year after year. This Easter marks his 7th time attending this service.

“This is a once a year thing that we love to do. It means a lot to us, it’s special,” said Clark.

North Pointe Community Church started its sunrise service in 2001 for tourist visiting the area. Organizers say they wanted to create a carefree atmosphere for visitors where they were able to dress down and give praise.

“They can just come to the beach, come as they are and worship on Easter Sunday morning in a very causal, very relaxed environment,” said Pastor Loman.

The Spain family are visiting from the Raleigh area. They discovered North Pointe’s sunrise service two years ago on a family trip and decided to come back this year and celebrate Easter on the coast.

“We’re making it a holiday tradition, to come out here and enjoy this experience,” said Benjamin Spain.

Pastor Jeff hopes everyone takes the message of hope from their Easter experience.

“There is an empty grave today, the tomb is empty. Jesus has risen from the grave so there is hope for everyone, and that is a powerful message,” said Pastor Loman.

The Pastor estimates half the people in attendance were tourists.

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