Ocala Easter Events
The First Presbyterian Church on Southeast 3rd Street in Ocala. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2022.
A barren cross constructed of ordinary chicken wire will stand on the campus of First Presbyterian Church of Ocala today, Good Friday, as a solemn reminder of Christ’s agonizing crucifixion on Calvary.
But by the end of the 10 a.m. Easter service Sunday, the cross will have become a colorful concoction of vibrant wildflowers, lilies and spring blooms and blossoms, all placed by congregants to symbolize Jesus’s transition from death to life three days later.
The “Flowering of the Cross,” is a tradition among many Protestant and non-denominational churches and dates back to the sixth century – also as a way to celebrate the continuing presence of God.
“It will be overflowing with flowers to symbolize Christ’s resurrection and new life,” said the Rev. Ron Watson, senior pastor of the historic 511 SE Third Street church for nearly five years.
“For all of us, when we bring flowers to put on the cross, we have someone in mind, someone who’s gone before us,” he said. “The resurrection is a reminder that we will see our loved ones again, it’s God’s promise.”
Founded in 1857, the church will be open for prayer from noon to 3 p.m. Today in observance of Good Friday. An Easter Egg Hunt will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, the public is welcome to attend.
Other churches across Marion County will have services to mark Good Friday and Easter as well, here are a few:
- First Baptist Church of Ocala, 2801 SE Maricamp Road, will have Good Friday services at 6 p.m. today, and Easter services at 10;30 a.m. Sunday.
- Meadowbrook Church will have Easter services at 3 and 5 p.m. Saturday and at 9 and 11 a.m. Sunday. The church is located at 4741 SW 20th St., Ocala.
- Grace Episcopal Church will have a Good Friday service at Noon and a Station of the Cross at 6 p.m. today at the church, 503 S.E. Broadway St., Ocala. The congregation will have Easter observances during the The Great Vigil service at 6 a.m. and a traditional worship service at 10 a.m. Sunday.
- Joy Lutheran Church, 7045 SW 83rd Place, Ocala, will host its annual Easter Sunrise service beginning at 6:30 a.m. Sunday in its memorial garden. The church will also have Easter services at 8:15 and 11 a.m. in its sanctuary.
- New Zion Missionary Baptist Church will hold Easter services at 11 a.m. Sunday, followed by an Easter Egg Hunt for children. The church is located at 728 NW 6th Ave., Ocala.
- St. Paul’s United Methodist Church will have its annual Easter Sunrise Service at 7 a.m. on the church grounds. Traditional Easter worship services will also take place at 10:30 a.m. in the sanctuary. The church is located at 800 SE 41st Ave., Ocala.
- Living Waters Church, 3801 N. U.S. Highway 441, Ocala will have a Good Friday service at 6;30 p.m. today, and Easter services at 8;30 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday. A Spanish service will take place at 10 a.m.
- First Baptist Church of Belleview will have an Easter Sunrise Service at 7 a.m. Sunday at Lake Lillian on Southeast Lillian Circle, and a Living Lord’s Supper Cantata and Drama at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, at the church, 6107 SE Agnew Road.
- Central Christian Church, 3010 NE 14th Street, Ocala, will have a Good Friday service at 7 p.m., today and Resurrection Sunday services at 9 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
- Trinity Baptist Church will have a free Easter Jam for families beginning at 6 p.m. today in its worship center, 1600 SE 58th Ave., Ocala. The festivities will move to the Trinity Kids area after the service.
- The Forest Community Center will have a free, “Color Me Egg-Cited,” Egg Hunt from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The center is at 777 S Hwy 314 A, Ocklawaha.
- Belleview United Methodist Church, 5640 SE Brown Road, will host a free community Easter Egg Hunt for kids up to age 12, from 9 a.m. to Noon Saturday, featuring games, food, crafts, and basket giveaways.
- Silver Springs Shores Community Center’s annual Hoppity’s Easter Egg Hunt will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at 590 Silver Road, Ocala, with photos with a bunny, pony rides, bounce houses, egg painting, face painting, crafts, balloons, music, and treats.
- St. Paul AME Church, 718 NW 7th St., Ocala, is hosting its 2nd Annual Mary S. Rich Easter Egg Hunt from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, with food, music, games, and prizes.
- New Vision Baptist Church in Ocala is having a free community Easter Egg Hunt for kids of all ages at 1 p.m. Saturday at the church, 10461 SE Maricamp Road. Participants will receive a goody bag.