After two years away, Easter sunrise service returns to Red Rocks

Paolo Zialcita/CPR News
Worshippers at the Easter Sunrise service at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Sunday April 17, 2022.

Thousands of Coloradans wore their Sunday best — in this case, down jackets and beanies — to celebrate Easter at the first Sunrise Service at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in two years. 

The service, now in its 75th year, is organized by the Colorado Council of Churches, a group that represents several different Christian denominations. Worship began at just before dawn, in the 6:00 a.m. chill. 

Those in attendance were able to watch the sun illuminate the towering red rocks around the amphitheater as it rose through the service, although that view came at the cost of a good night's rest for many. Olivia Pyke, a student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, started her drive to Morrison at 3:00 a.m. In the end, it was worth it to her. 

“I definitely would wanna come again. The sunrise is really pretty too. I'll do it for this service, definitely,” Pyke said. 

Paolo Zialcita/CPR News
The sun spreads over the audience at the Easter service at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Sunday April 17, 2022.

Reverend John Yu, the lead pastor at True Light Community Church in Aurora, delivered the sermon, which focused on promoting peace and open mindedness at a time of international conflict. Teo Jad, an entrepreneur from Centennial, said the message resonated with him, describing it as unique. 

“Sometimes we just rush with life, not really paying attention to the people who are around us,” Jad said. 

After the ceremony, Tammy Swisher and Lynn Perrich set up a table for brunch in the parking lot, hoping to wait out the traffic. Despite living in Colorado for decades, this was their first time attending the service. 

“After two years of being shut out with COVID… we felt it was the good time to come,” said Swisher, a Loveland resident. 

Perrich described the ceremony as a nice reminder to practice grace after the long period of uncertainty marked by the pandemic. 

“Be thankful for what we have, where we are and what we do, and how we help others,” Perrich said.