- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2008

Thousands of area worshippers are expected to fill churches and attend community events beginning this morning and lasting through tomorrow in celebration of Easter.

At Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church, at 201 4th Street SE, one of the highlights comes near the end of the 11 a.m. worship service, with the community rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus.

“Traditionally, church members rise and sing along,” said the Rev. Andy Walton, the church’s pastor.

Washington’s Catholic archbishop, Donald W. Wuerl, will celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Matthews, at 1725 Rhode Island Ave. NW. At noon, the archbishop will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, at 400 Michigan Ave. NE.

At Capitol Hill United Methodist Church, 421 Seward Square SE, “homeless neighbors” will be among church members for the 11 a.m. service and then a “community meal,” said Rev. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli.

Special programs, including a musical program, will begin at 10 a.m.

Christians believe Jesus died for the sins of His followers and rose on Easter Sunday, the third day after His death, to open the gates of heaven.

Bethesda Baptist Church, at 1808 Capitol Avenue NE, has scheduled “baby blessings” for 10:30 a.m., said church secretary Robin Oliver.

At African Methodist Episcopal Metropolitan AME, 1518 M Street NW, a liturgical dance group will participate in the Easter service, said church administrator Ron Wallace.

The Asbury Performing Arts Theatre, mostly young members of Asbury Methodist Church, will act and sing in reference to the Resurrection, said Tanard Hill, secretary of the church at 11th and K Street NW. Services are scheduled for 6:00, 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.

Hundreds of families yesterday participated in a children’s Easter egg hunt, an egg roll and other activities during the second Eggstravaganza at Tudor Place in Georgetown.

Easter events continue tomorrow, with the 125th annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn. The event — the largest public event held at the White House — takes place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and attracts nearly 40,000 visitors. Most tickets were distributed yesterday, drawing some people who waited in line overnight for passes from the National Park Service. A smaller amount of tickets will be available at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow on a first-come, first-served basis at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion on the southwest corner of 15th and E Streets NW.

Also tomorrow, the annual African-American Family Celebration is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the National Zoo. The event includes Easter egg hunts, African drumming, dance troupes, gospel singing and storytelling.

The family event began more than a century ago — some say the early 1890s — as black families gathered to stroll the zoo’s winding paths or picnic on its rolling hills on Easter Monday.

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