Westport worshippers greet Easter at sunrise
WESTPORT — For years now, Rick and Totney Benson have been the first to arrive at the Easter Sunrise Service at Compo Beach, primarily to start the bonfire that serves as the centerpiece for the multichurch worship event.
“It’s partly tradition,” Rick said, “partly because it’s fun, and partly because Easter’s a special day.”
Around 150 people — mainly members of the participating Greens Farms Congregational, Weston’s Norfield Congregational, Saugatuck Congregational, and United Methodist churches — went at 6 a.m. to take part in a service near the main pavilion.
“It’s great to be here at sunrise,” said the Rev. Dave Stambaugh, of Greens Farms Congregational, noting these same four churches will have combined Sunday morning services at Compo Beach throughout the summer.
Scattered rain showers preceded the start, but held off literally until the moment the service ended. While it remained overcast, participants were able to see the morning light rise over Long Island Sound to the east.
“The sun did rise,” Stambaugh said after. “Make no mistake. It’s just behind the clouds.”
“I love coming together as a community,” said the Rev. Heather Sinclair, of United Methodist. “It’s a wonderful way to start the day.”