NORTH CREEK - The cold, biting wind didn't keep them away. No less than 300 worshippers of many differing denominations flocked to the top of Gore Mountain Sunday morning to celebrate one of the most important days in the Christian calendar.
"This is all about everyone being together - it is good, especially with the world as it is today," George Bennett said. "It doesn't matter what kind of Christian you are, we all are here for the same reason."
Bennett traveled from Albany with his brother Rick to attend the sunrise service with their mother Nancy Thorson of Indian Lake.
The hour-long service incorporated the preachings of pastors representing Methodist, Baptist and Catholic churches. Each had a similar message.
"We are here to honor not only the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but to also acknowledge the beauty of God's earthly creations," Pastor Paul Miller said. "This is the most important day for believers - we must pray, for those who don't believe, to see the light."
At 6:30 a.m. - as worshippers boarded the gondolas to make their way to the summit - the clouds hung heavy in the sky. Yet during the service, the heavy cloud cover dispersed, revealing the intense rays of the sun, directly over the shoulder of each of the ministers.
"The beauty adds to the joy of the whole event," said Catholic parishioner Betty Boos.
But the cold wind and hazy conditions weren't lost on those who gathered.
"We thought we were crazy when we first got here," said Boos's fellow Catholic, Judy Jennings. "This is about gathering as a community of Christians."
Area churches spent the holy week celebrating in their own ways, and then came together as a collective on top of Gore Mountain to acknowledge their similar heritage.
The week saw numerous services throughout the area with ancient traditional music and messages conveying the suffering of Jesus in his last days, then the glory of his resurrection.
And for those who believe, his sacrifice was greater than any before or after him.
"In his death, he offers each of us true freedom," said Pastor Chad Heneman.