First Easter sunrise service held on Bradenton's new Riverwalk

jajones1@bradenton.comApril 1, 2013 

BRADENTON -- For two decades, The Rev. Wendell C. Wilson of Loving Hands Ministry has been in charge of Bradenton's Easter sunrise program sponsored by the Hernando De Soto Historical Society and Manatee Ministries Association.

So, there's little that can happen that fazes him.

Such as during the prayer Sunday when a train rumbled past, blasting its horn.

"We thank you Lord for every blessing, even the train that can run," Wilson prayed, without missing a beat.

The Easter sunrise service was the first at Mosaic Amphitheater since Riverwalk opened.

Last year the service was moved to Veterans Park near Manatee Memorial Hospital due to construction of Riverwalk.

An estimated 800 turned out for the service this year, which is distinctive for having conquistadors in shining armor from the Hernando De Soto Historical Society serve as ushers, and the De Soto Heritage Festival queen and her court sitting in the front row.

The Rev. Paul Scheele,

chaplain of Water's Edge, and past president of the Manatee Ministries Association, delivered the Easter Message, and started reading scripture from Psalms 118:

"This is the day the Lord has made;

"We will rejoice and be glad in it."

The passage is quoted in five books of the New Testament, Scheele said.

"We can be happy because of Easter," said Scheele, noting how Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

Several speakers gave personal testimony Sunday about their faith.

Wilson noted that he became a minister more than 50 years ago at age 22.

He spoke of human frailties and his own health challenges.

"The truth is that my life has only begun. A future forever," Wilson said of the promise of eternal life for believers.

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