PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Many tourists and locals alike woke up extra early Sunday morning to celebrate Easter together on the beach.
Eastgate Christian Fellowship held its annual sunrise service on the beach in front of Pineapple Willy’s Sunday morning.
“We’ve been coming out here every Easter probably for about 20 years at different locations,” Eastgate senior pastor Rob Woodrum said. “Pineapple Willy’s— we’ve been here since 2019, but we just come out to celebrate the day that commemorates Christ rising from the dead.”
Over a hundred people gathered on the sand, pier and condo balconies to learn about the meaning of Easter and sing together.
“We’ll have a lot of locals that come out that know to come out here every year, but a lot of people in the condos here, too, will kind of wake up like, ‘What’s this noise?’” Woodrum said. “But they’ll come on out and share this time with us. We’ve had people who’ve not even known anything about what our faith is declaring who’ve come out and listened. So that’s been a beautiful thing in and of itself.”
Woodrum said if you want to see a sunrise service anywhere, you want to see it on the world’s most beautiful beaches.
“It’s hard to actually put into words… I look forward to this every year,” he said. “There’s something so unique, especially about gathering with your friends and people you haven’t met before, to be able to come out here in this beauty and experience this, and the weather couldn’t have been any better [Sunday]. It was just really wonderful.”
After Hurricane Michael and the COVID-19 pandemic, Woodrum said the Bay County community has come so far and that it’s to be remembered during the Easter holiday.
“The resurrection reminds us there’s hope, that God’s always at work and always at work to redeem things,” he said. “If we’ll look to Him, if we’ll remain positive and hopeful in this, then God meets us there.”