Story: Passover tradition
- Easter sunrise service 7 a.m. Sunday, Maranatha Baptist Church, 65 Ebenezer Church Road, Jefferson. 706-367-4383. No Sunday school classes.
- Easter sunrise service, Gainesville. With the Rev. Fred Muckle. 6 a.m. Sunday, St. John Baptist Church, 741 E.E. Butler Parkway, Gainesville. 770-532-0511.
- Easter sunrise service, Dahlonega. 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Brown’s Chapel, Ga. 115 East, Dahlonega. 706-482-8321.
- Easter sunrise service, Jefferson. 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Crow’s Lake, U.S. 129 Damon Gause Bypass and Ga. 11, Jefferson. Sponsored by White Plains Baptist Church. 706-367-5650.
- Holy week services, Gainesville. Easter Vigil at 6 a.m. and Festival Holy Eucharist services 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday, Grace Episcopal Church, 431 Washington St., Gainesville. 770-536-0126.
- Holy week services, Oakwood. Easter Vigil at 6:30 a.m. Sunday and Easter celebration and Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, 2920 Landrum Education Drive, Oakwood. 770-530-7555.
- Easter sunrise service, Jefferson. 7 a.m. Sunday, Maranatha Baptist Church, 65 Ebenezer Church Road, Jefferson. 706-367-4383.
- Easter services, Gainesville. 7 a.m. in the chapel, 9 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. in the Sanctuary, First Baptist Church, 751 Green St., Gainesville. 9 a.m. service includes baptism. No Sunday school or children’s worship.
- Easter sunrise service, Flowery Branch. 7 a.m. Sunday, New Beginning Baptist Church, 4403 Winder Highway, Flowery Branch. 770-967-6280.
- Easter sunrise service, Lula. 7 a.m. Sunday, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Ga. 52 and 365, Lula. 706-677-4428. Breakfast to follow.
- Easter sunrise service, Alto. 7 a.m. Sunday, Crossroads Baptist Church, 534 Yonah Post Road, Alto. 706-778-4534.
- Easter sunrise service, Maysville. 7 a.m. Sunday, Diamond Hill Baptist Church, Diamond Hill Church Road, Maysville. 706-768-1621.
- Easter service, Gainesville. "He came, He died, He lives". 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Newhaven Church, 615 White Sulphur Road, Gainesville. 770-532-1141.
- "Behold," Dawsonville. 9:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Sunday, The Church @ War Hill, 8847 Ga. 53 East, Dawsonville. 706-216-3080.
- Easter Egg Hunt, Gainesville. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, First Baptist Church, 751 Green St., Gainesville. 770-534-7354. 11 a.m. hunt for 3 and under. $5 lunch for family.
- Helicopter Easter Egg Drop, Gainesville. 11 a.m. Saturday, Explosion Church, 2480 Limestone Parkway, Gainesville. 678-943-6323. All ages with 3,000 eggs dropped.
- Spring Fling, Gainesville. Easter egg hunt, food, games and concert. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Redwine United Methodist Church, 3285 Poplar Springs Road, Gainesville. 770-536-5164.
- Easter celebration, Jefferson. Egg hunt, games hot dog supper, 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Maranatha Baptist Church, 65 Ebenezer Church Road, Jefferson. 706-367-4383.
- Easter Egg Hunt, Maysville. 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Diamond Hill Baptist Church, Diamond Hill Church Road, Maysville. 706-768-1621.
Today is Good Friday, the most solemn day of Holy Week leading up to Easter.
On Thursday, a number of churches observed Maundy or Holy Thursday, an observance tied to both Passover and the last supper of Jesus and his disciples.
The word maundy comes from the Latin word meaning mandate.
"Jesus, at the last supper, said ‘This do in remembrance of me.’ That’s a part of the mandate," said the Rev. William L. Coates Jr., pastor of First Baptist Church on Green Street. "Maundy Thursday is one of the most holy times for Christians all over the world, where we have the Lord’s supper on the very night that Jesus did, which is Passover night."
The Rev. Calvin Haney, pastor of St. Paul United Methodist Church on Washington Street, said the observance on Thursday goes back to the roots of the Christian faith and Jewish tradition.
"It takes us back to our Judeo-Christian beliefs," Haney said. "The Jews had a great influence on the Christian faith. This is the time we commemorate the Passover, where God saved the Israelites from Egypt."
Haney said some Christians don’t care for the sadness of the observance of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
"This is not a lot of people’s favorite time. They want to get to Easter and skip over the pain, suffering and agony of Christ," he said. "It is a very humbling experience for me and others."
Grace Episcopal Church’s Thursday service includes washing of feet, another act of Christ for his disciples following the last supper.
Some churches, including First Baptist and First United Methodist conclude their service with Tenebrae, where the church is darkened and the paraments, such as the cross, candles and other items, are removed from the church.
Often, the congregation leaves the building in silence.
Good Friday observances include a number of local services, including a community service at First Baptist and a service at Free Chapel Worship Center, both begin at noon.
Also today, St. Michael Catholic Church will observe the stations of the cross in a ceremony at Laurel Park, beginning at 10 a.m.