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Island pastors meet to plan Easter

February 29, 2024
By Sheila Evans

The leaders of the Boca Grande churches met this week to begin planning for the 2024 Holy Week and Easter services available to the public. With two of the four churches having new leadership this year, some people were wondering if the traditions would still be followed.

They will.

In Boca Grande there are two major public religious events at Eastertime: the Stations of the Cross and the sunrise Easter service at the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse beach. Both will take place as tradition holds, with a mix of denominations leading prayers and encouraging participation by the entire community.

Fr. Anthony Hewitt, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, will lead the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, moving through the streets of Boca Grande and stopping at various places to recall each of the 14 “stations” that mark a crucial step in the re-enactment of Jesus Christ’s trial and journey to the spot of his crucifixion. 

This year, the Stations will begin in the Church’s courtyard, rather than inside the church building. Fr. Anthony will share the job of carrying the symbolic cross with others from the community. Stations begin at noon on Good Friday, March 29.

The Rev. Daphne Johnson, senior pastor at the Lighhouse United Methodist Church, will lead the Easter sunrise service. She will be joined by the Rev. Michelle Robertshaw, rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, as well as Father Anthony. Pastor Gary Beatty is unable to participate, due to family illness. 

All the ministers will take part in reading from scripture and reflecting on the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Music will also be part of the Easter celebration. The service will begin at 7 a.m., on the beach near the Lighthouse. 

Each of the churches will have additional individual services throughout Holy Week and Easter.

This 2024, Good Friday is March 29 and Easter is March 31