Now in its 57th year of annual broadcast, Wesley Mission’s Easter Sunday Sunrise Service first went to air in 1961, when television in Australia was only five years old. The program has been a constant through wartime, recession and will continue this year during global pandemic.
“Wesley Mission has a long history of sharing a message of hope at Easter, and this year it is needed more than ever,” says Wesley Mission CEO, the Rev Keith V Garner AM.
Meeting all the appropriate health guidelines, the program moves from its regular location at the Sydney Opera House to a controlled studio environment, with crew operating under strict protocols.
The program directly addresses people’s experiences of COVID-19, whilst remaining uplifting.
“Easter is not simply about eggs, we get beyond the bunny this year to the heart of what really matters at a time when so many in our world are hurting,” says Mr Garner.
An interview between Mr Garner and his senior colleague from Wesley Mission, Gary Izzard, discusses Gary’s recent experience of being tested for the virus and the fearful period he spent waiting for his result and the time that followed in self-isolation.
When asked about sharing this detail in candid conversation, Mr Garner explains, “Providing essential community services to vulnerable people naturally puts Wesley Mission people on the frontline. We have implemented additional protocols to ensure our staff are following all guidelines and remain vigilant to protect the health of our community.
“Wesley Mission’s essential services will remain open and follow the important health advice. Many of our programs are receiving increased requests for help from people across New South Wales and Australia.”
The broadcast directly addresses the experience of anxiety and fear that the global community bring to Easter this year.
Mr Garner shares, “Suffering is very real and the message of Easter not only confirms this but shows us a God who is willing to suffer alongside us and who will not provide slick answers to the deep and painful questions of life.”
The service will feature special music guests including online sensation, Jayesslee, Korean-Australian sisters Janice and Sonia Lee, who have more than two million subscribers to their YouTube channel.
In addition to the broadcast at 6am on Easter Sunday on the Channel 9 Network, the service is being simulcast on radio stations in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and throughout regional Australia with streaming available worldwide at wesleymission.org.au
“The Coronavirus may stop many things that are part of our everyday lives, but it won’t stop the message of God’s love for all, and the hope that is only found in the message of Easter, being proclaimed all across Australia and indeed around the world,” says Mr Garner.
Wesley Mission reaches all faces of Australia—from children, families and the elderly, to those struggling with homelessness, addiction, mental health, financial or domestic challenges. It seeks to walk alongside those most in need to help each person reach their next step.