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One of the most beautiful and inspiring gatherings of the year is the Capri Christian Church Annual Easter service which is always held on the Isles of Capri under a big tent on the Business Isle.

Pastor Curt Ayers initiated this event 20 years ago, and says he looks forward to it each year. This year, the service will be held on Easter Sunday morning, 10:30 a.m., April 16.

Families and friends gather from near and far to join the nearly always full-house number of attendees.

“We are anticipating a record number over the 1,100 we had last year,” said Ayers.

Comments from guests who have attended in the past were that Pastor Ayer’s message is always “relevant, down-to-earth, inspiring, and geared to all ages.” Those who attend the church regularly know that this will hold true again this year.

Steve Dawes, music pastor, is working with a talented and dedicated choir and group of accomplished musicians to provide musical selections that will offer a triumphant tribute to the message of the resurrection of Jesus. Selections will offer a blend of contemporary and traditional styles. Invited to join the music celebration this year will also be special professional guest artists.

Mary Williamson has commissioned her helpers to prepare the communion bread and juice that will be offered to all who choose to participate in the Lord’s Supper portion of the program.

There is never an offering requested, and no pressure is placed on attendees to become members of the church.

“The service is meant to offer people a chance to come together and worship with other believers, and for those who don’t know Jesus, it is a time for them to meet Him,” said Ayers. “I am in hopes that this years’ service will inspire all to know Jesus on a more personal basis. Come and bring at least three friends with you; you will be glad you did!” Ayers said.

The crowd is always encouraged to linger and enjoy a chocolate chip cookie and bottle of water together as they meet and greet one another after the service. This year, as was initiated in 2015, Tim Gardiner, youth pastor has planned for another egg hunt for the children. The Easter Bunny will also make his annual appearance.

Capri Christian Church, located at 111 E. Hilo on the Isles of Capri, is a non-denominational independent non-profit organization. It is Bible-based, and known for its friendliness. The church had its beginning with a small group of 11 who met in individual residences. As it grew, services were held in the Capri Community Center, and finally after out-growing the center, land was purchased, and church members built a sanctuary. An addition to the church was made in 2000, which brought classrooms and a social hall. The church has recently expanded and renovated its sanctuary to accommodate the continued increase in attendance. The church has acquired three additional lots to provide the additional parking spaces necessary to support the continuing increase in membership and visitors.

All are welcome regardless of church affiliation, race or nationality.

This annual event is a huge production. Permission to use the land must first be obtained from its multiple owners. Invitational flyers and mailings are distributed to all of Capriers and some neighboring communities. The ground on which the service is held has to be mowed, flattened and treated for fire ants to protect those who come in sandals or open-toed shoes. A portable stage and electronic equipment must be set up and then disassembled. Communion bread and juice has to be prepared and servers provided to deliver the sacraments to each participant.

The Greater Naples Fire/Rescue Station 90 will be available for any medical emergency during the event should it be needed. All of the work with the exception of the enormous tent and portable bathroom facilities is done by volunteers who say they love doing it and look forward to it each and every year!

“Come and bring a friend,” said Ayers, you will be glad you did!”

Contact Ann Hall at ahall7911@coconuttele.net.

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