Mansfield celebrates Easter

 

Sunrise service Easter morning at Mansfield’s Blue Stem Park. (Empire Press photo/Adrienne Douke)

 

By Adrienne Douke
Empire Press Correspondent

Kenton Smith, son of Kimberly Peters-Smith, experiences his first Easter egg hunt. (Empire Press photo/Adrienne Douke)

Mansfield celebrated Easter weekend the old fashioned way with an Easter egg hunt on March 31 and then on April 1 with an Easter sunrise service and breakfast. All three events are longtime Mansfield traditions that still bring joy and hope to the faithful in this small community.

On Saturday morning, a large group of community members and their children braved blustery winds to hunt for Easter eggs in Blue Stem Park. About 1,200 eggs were hidden for the hunt, according to organizer LuAnne Lester. The hunt was sponsored by the Mansfield Lions Club and the Mansfield Sportsman Club.

The hunt was divided into four age groups: infant to age 1, 2-4, 5-7, and 8-10.

There were prizes of 13 baskets, and three large plush bunnies for the winners.

One young hunter, Barrett Snell from Badger Mountain, held up a basket full of brightly colored eggs and said, “You have to get ‘em fast.”

The Bowen and Steele families at the Easter egg hunt March 31 in Mansfield Blue Stem Park. At left, Justin Bowen (in back) with Gus Bowen, Sheianne Bowen and Raelynn Bowen; and Zach Steele (in back) with Houston Steele and Shenae Steele. (Empire Press photo/Adrienne Douke)

“This is my second year to organize the egg hunt for Mansfield,” Lester said. “I really enjoy creating something fun that all the kids can look forward to each year. I hope next year will be even better. I’d like thank all of our volunteers who helped make this event a success.”

Easter Sunday dawned brisk and cold and a small group of warmly dressed people gathered in Blue Stem Park for the sunrise service. This is a special Mansfield tradition as people from all over Douglas County and beyond attend. It was followed by an Easter breakfast.

The sermon at this year’s sunrise service was given by Pastor LeRoy Harshaw of the Mansfield Community Church. Harshaw’s message was that Easter was God’s glorious response to Good Friday.

During the service the group sang several favorite gospel songs, including “He is Risen” led by longtime resident and music instructor Diana Mickelson.

At the conclusion of the service, guests were invited to a hearty pancake breakfast in the basement of the Mansfield United Protestant Church. The breakfast is another longtime local custom and shared by both churches, that alternate hosting the sunrise service and breakfast each year. Guests enjoy and anticipate the warmth, fellowship and food after the chilly morning service.

UPC Pastor Ric Bayless said, “Having the combined sunrise service and Easter breakfast is special to us for spending time together with our friends and their families, and celebrating the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. It’s an event I look forward to every year.”

Sunday services followed on their regular schedule.