The long-running Easter sunrise service atop Riverside’s Mt. Rubidoux will be held via livestream for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s not canceled and it’s never been canceled,” said the Rev. Brenda J. Wood, who sits on the committee that stages the event. “It’s just different.”
A group of local pastors will still celebrate the service April 4 at Mt. Rubidoux, but attendees are encouraged to watch online rather than show up in person. The mountain is a city park and remains open, but the committee wasn’t able to get a special events permit to hold the service in front of a wider audience due to coronavirus restrictions, Wood said.
Christians have been hiking to the top of the 1,337-foot granite hill to worship on Easter morning since 1909. Before 2020, the service was interrupted just twice in its 112-year history: In the 1920s during an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease, and again during World War II, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
Wood, lead pastor of Word of Life Ministries International, said she looks forward to the service each year.
“It’s pretty awesome,” she said. “We start right at sunrise, and when the sun comes up, it’s just real beautiful.”