Most Chicago churches have their worship services on Sundays, but for the last seven years one South Side pastor has broken away from that tradition.
The Rev. John Hannah, pastor of New Life Covenant Church, will host his 8th Annual Sunrise Service from 5-7 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, a free event open to people of all ages, denominations and race.
According to Hannah, 7,000 people attended last year and this year he is expecting an even larger crowd.
And the prayer service will not be held at his 22,000-member church, 1021 E. 78th St., but at 63rd Street Beach, 6300 S. Lakeshore Drive. All attendees must bring their own chairs and no food will be provided.
“Don’t worry I’ll make sure we’re done in time for people to go to breakfast,” Hannah jokingly said. “The purpose of Sunrise Service is to give people (especially those who normally do not attend worship service) a chance to pray and be prayed for. I want people to have an awesome encounter when they come to Sunrise Service.”
Besides prayer and scripture reading, Hannah said business, elected officials, and community leaders are expected to attend, and there will be lots of singing by gospel groups, choirs and “everyday people expressing themselves to God,” said Hannah.
The Rev. Leonard D. Gilbert, pastor of Sheldon Heights Church of Christ, 11325 S. Halsted St., said what Hannah is doing is part of God’s plan to help people.
“Bringing people together in the sight of God is a marvelous thing to do and I commend Pastor Hannah for his relentless effort to save people from the shadows of darkness,” Gilbert told atombash.com. “Communities all over the city are hurting and it is the responsibility of the church to anchor their communities by providing love, peace and a path to salvation.”
Free bus shuttles will also be available to ensure those we want to attend have an opportunity to do so, Hannah said.
The bus will pick up people throughout the 63rd Street park and make stops at 63rd Street and Lake Shore Drive; 63rd and 67th streets and Stony Island Avenue; and 67th Street and Jeffrey Boulevard.
For those unable to attend Hannah said the program will be taped and and will stream live on newlifesoutheast.org.
With so many things happening in Chicago, such as violence, Hannah said people need to come together now more than ever and pray for peace.
“Prayer changes everything. That is what I want people to walk away knowing,” added Hannah.