Back in 2009, Reverend Laurie Manning of the Skyline Community Church invited the Oakland East-Bay Gay Men’s Chorus to join her congregation for a rather spectacular event: Easter Sunrise Service at the top of Skyline Ridge. The only challenge was to convince a reasonable number of gay men with a fair distribution of voice parts to make it up that hill by 5:30AM. Oh yes, with an accompanist and an Artistic Director, too!
Thus began an annual tradition, satisfying in so many ways to this UCC congregation, their guests, and the OEBGMC singers involved. Early on, our pastel dress shirts were identified as the Easter Egg outfits, and after coffee upon arrival in the dark, the singers learned to yearn for the Hot Crossed Buns that would always follow Services. Warmth and friendship develops this way, and the tradition gains momentum year after year.
A word about the weather: that perfect light upon which these services depend is not always exactly as anyone might expect. Perched high in the Oakland Hills, a huge expanse of glass frames the view East into Contra Costa County. Sometimes right on cue, the sun rises over clear green hills, nearly dazzling the celebrants; sometimes mist and mystery swirl, presenting a subtle experience of growing light.
In every case, the inspiration is magical. To be singing for such purpose, to be welcomed with such vigorous joy, to be guided through the resurrection experience; all these factors combine to make family and to raise songs of glorious celebration. Do join us this year; all are welcome!
Join us Easter Sunday at 6:30 AM, Skyline Community Church 12540 Skyline Blvd., Oakland.