Expect new take on old story at 101st Easter sunrise service at Coleman Hill

Sarah and John Inzetta perform during the 100th annual Easter sunrise worship service at Coleman Hill in 2017.
Sarah and John Inzetta perform during the 100th annual Easter sunrise worship service at Coleman Hill in 2017.

Believers from many churches and denominations will rise early and gather from across Macon again this year to worship and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ high atop Coleman Hill.

It will be the 101st time a sunrise Easter Service has been held on the hill just west of downtown.

“The Rev. Dr. Matt Woodbery is guest speaker this year and I believe he’ll bring a unique perspective on the resurrection,” said Jeff Cook, associate pastor at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church, which helped begin and sustain the community sunrise service through the years.

“I believe he’ll add a new dimension through his military experience and perspective from having lived and served all over the world. It’s something most of us haven’t done. Though he’ll be telling an old, old story, I expect he’ll have a new take on it.”

Cook said music for the celebration will have a new twist, too. Whereas the first gathering on Coleman Hill featured classic hymns sung to the accompaniment of an organ. this Easter’s worship will have a bluegrass flair.

“Musically, there’ll be a combination of traditional and contemporary worship led by the contemporary worship team that leads our NewRoom worship service in the old library ballroom on Mulberry Street and our Fifth Sunday Service bluegrass band. It will be a great combination of the traditional Easter hymns we all love but done with some new arranging for a different musical feel. But the object of our celebration is the same.”

Cook, who is new at Mulberry Street, said it will be his first sunrise service at Coleman Hill.

“I’m excited to be part of continuing a century-old tradition of celebrating Easter in downtown Macon,” he said. “It’s something that’s stood the test of time and been instrumental in our community’s worship and in many people growing in their faith. By no means is it just a Mulberry Street service, but it covers all Macon-Bibb and people from all denominations and walks of life. Easter is really the pinnacle celebration of the Christian faith and we want everyone to come celebrate: those who follow Jesus and those who would like to learn more about him and the truly remarkable event we celebrate. There’s new life for everyone in Jesus Christ.”

Guest speaker Woodbery is a United Methodist minister and recently retired U.S. Army chaplain. He is now lives in Macon and is the UMC’s director of connectional ministries for the South Georgia Conference. In his military career, Woobery had the rank of colonel and served assignments including duty in Bosnia, Germany, Iraq, Afghanistan and Japan. He is a graduate of Emory College, Candler School of Theology and Wesley Theological Seminary.

Contact writer Michael W. Pannell at

Macon Community Easter Sunrise Service

Where: Coleman Hill

When: 7 a.m. April 1