SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — For the first time in 103 years, sunrise Easter service at Mt. Helix will be virtual.
The tradition started back in 1914, when East County residents made the trek up Mt. Nebo in La Mesa for service. Quickly it became overcrowded and service moved to the taller and larger Mt. Helix, where service has been hosted since 1917.
"From the time I was a little girl my family used to come up. It was a tradition for us and now I bring my two and 5-year-old and it's such an important, vital thing for our community," Executive Director of Mt. Helix Park Krista Powers said.
She described the service as almost magical.
"For some reason, it's always kinda cloudy and a little bit chilly the morning of Easter and then every year, right as the music starts it's like the skies part and these beams of sunlight burst through the sky," says Powers.
When Christmas service was canceled due to rain, and the stay home order threatened Easter, Powers went to work.
"I've been on a mission. I'm not going to let Easter go down," she said with conviction.
She got creative, asked around, and turned to the internet.
"We're all learning to do things online right now."
A local family band has stepped up and the band's father is a pastor who will lead the service. Powers says that way they won't break social distancing guidelines.
A company donated their services to help them stream online.
"I don't know how many people will make it, but it might be something so beautiful that more people than ever end up attending because we have this access," Powers said.
She hopes this opens up the opportunity for more people to connect who can't normally make it to service. She also hopes the service brings hope and unity.
"We could really use some darn unification and caring about each other and loving on each other," she said.
Whether it's the usual 2,000 or 20,000, Powers is excited and a little nervous to see it all come together.
Powers said the park is funded solely by donations and they will need help funding the technology needed to broadcast the service online. If you'd like to help, click here.