Sunrise Service on the Beach

Every Easter in Lyford Cay, Bahamas, there is a sunrise service at 6 a.m., at the water’s edge.

Sunrise service, Lyford Cay
The lighting of the resurrection fire, to "inflame us with new hope."

The service is sponsored by the Parish Church of St. Christopher and the Lyford Cay Club. The Venerable Keith Cartwright, archdeacon of the Turks & Caicos and the Southern Bahamas, is celebrant. I am not Catholic but the service is open to all. It’s always a full house.

Sunrise service, Lyford Cay
The nave is the beach; the sanctuary, apse and altar are under a small tent. The wind and the waves are the choir.

Like Christmas, the earliest Easters were celebrated to correspond with then-contemporary pagan festivals. The idea was to facilitate the transition to the new faith and frankly to upstage the old one. It worked. Did you know that the name Easter may have even been derived from the pagan goddess of spring, called Eostre or Ishtar? I didn’t.

Palm trees at dawn, Lyford Cay
Palm trees at dawn

And down the beach…

Sunrise at Lyford Cay, Bahamas

Christians believe Christ died for our redemption. It was all about Forgiveness. Whatever we believe, whatever transgression we may have committed, there is a vast body of wisdom that says we best forgive ourselves as well–and one another while we’re at it–in order truly to move on–to grow, to create, to live fully. Today’s a good day for that. Hallelujah.


  1. Thank you for including this article.For several years my husband and I attended this service on the beach.Most moving Easter service I have ever attended.I was just remembering it last Thursday and what a moving experience it was and was missing it this year again.Glad other people appreciated it.Our services in the church on the grounds of L.C. were also memorable.Everyone dressed in their finery and joy in being there will always stay with me.We dearly miss Lyford Cay and hope to get down there next year.Best,Carol Post Pfaelzer,Boston

    1. Carol, how lovely of you to write, and with such lovely sentiment. Thank you for and from all of us. Frances

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