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Fourth Annual Community Easter Dawn Service will go forward, digitally speaking

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Planning the Fourth Annual Community Eastern Dawn Service on April 12 was not easy this year. Not only is Easter landing during a pandemic, but all the parks, including Morgan Park where the service is usually hosted, have closed in Glen Cove to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Yet, the Committee for the Community Easter Dawn Services has found a way around those issues. This year, the Easter Dawn Service will go forward as usual, but people will watch on a live stream from home instead. A property, which has a view of Morgan Park, will be used.

“When people watch the live stream from Facebook they will still be able to see the harbor, the park and the cross that we put up,” said Councilman Gaitley Stevenson-Mathews, who is also a chair on the committee. 

“It’s really a beautiful thing with all the pastors and the churches that are involved,” he said. “We had close to 200 people last year and this year we wanted to find a way to celebrate and keep people engaged without putting anyone in harm’s way.”  

The Easter message, which will be in both English and Spanish, will be shared by local clergy members from Calvary A.M.E Church, First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, Glen Cove Christian Church, Iglesia Ciudad de Refugio, St. Boniface Martyr Roman Catholic Church, St. John's of Lattingtown Episcopal Church, and St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Some religious leaders will participate remotely. 

“I know if there’s something we need right now it’s some hope and through that service, our goal is to be able to deliver some of that hope via the internet,” said Rev. Tommy Lanham of Glen Cove Christian Church, who will be part of the Easter service. “Obviously, there’s so much social distance going on, rightfully so, but people are needing connection and we’re hoping to provide that type of connection.” 

The music will be led by Merle Richards, choir president at Calvary A.M.E, Josue Correa, associate pastor at Iglesia Cuidad De Refugop, Ericka Bautista, song leader at Iglesia Ciudad de Refugio and Stevenson-Mathews, an elder at First Presbyterian Church.

Glen Cove resident Robert Lynch will open the 7 a.m. service that will only last 30 minutes by playing Amazing Grace on the bag-pipes at the foot of the cross on the beach.

“We were just heartbroken that we couldn’t use the park but we understand why that is the case,” Gaitley Stevenson-Mathews said. “But [using the property] makes it so that we will still have a view of the Hempstead Harbor.” 

Alba Gamble, who belongs to the Church of Saint Rocco, is lending use of her property, which has a view of Morgan Park, for the service. “[Gaitley] asked me if I could do it and I was glad to,” said Gamble. “It’s Easter. I’m just sad I can’t have them come in and feed them and be a good hostess.”

Those who are watching will be able to participate in the hymns and responses on Facebook Live. On April 2, there will be a “song-session” on Zoom at 9 a.m. to practice the songs. There will also be a practice-run on April 6 at 10 a.m. to practice the songs and the devotionals. More information is available on www.facebook.com/GlenCoveEaster.