Get Religion has a great reaction to, and analysis of, this Los Angeles Times piece about the decline of Easter sunrise services.

I myself started the day, as I do every Easter, by attending sunrise service and breakfast at my father’s church followed by regular service at the church where I’m a member.

The Rev. William Morris, who retired a year or so ago as bishop of the Tennessee Conference, was the speaker at the sunrise service, as he has been on other occasions. A big black man with a wonderful baritone speaking voice, who can sing beautifully a cappella, Rev. Morris is a beautiful man of God who has been a great friend to my father over the years, since the days when he was Murfreesboro District Superintendent. He gave a wonderful message and sang “Were You There?”

Rev. Morris also spoke last year. Then, he was accompanied by his wife, Mary, who made the effort to attend the early-morning service even though she was in the final months of her battle with cancer. I think we all felt our heartstrings pulled this morning the first time Rev. Morris mentioned his late wife.