Easter Sunrise Service at Red Rocks–April 16, 2017

2017 Easter Sunrise Service at Red Rocks Amphitheatre

On Resurrection Sunday (April 16), 2017, the Colorado Council of Churches will host its 70th Annual Easter Sunrise Service at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and we will commemorate the 500th anniversary of The Reformation! This a truly unique worship experience that draws people from all across Colorado, the Rocky Mountain region and rest of the nation. In 2015, the service had an estimated 14,000 attendees (a record crowd) and another 7,000 people watched the service online (an all-time high).  For many attendees who don’t regularly attend church, this is a special opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Given the spectacular venue and the wonderful service, it’s no wonder that so many people have this event on their “Bucket List.”

Important Information and Instructions

4:30 a.m.–Doors Open at Red Rocks Amphitheatre

5:30 a.m.–Pre-worship service music begins

6:00 a.m.–The worship service begins.

7:30 a.m. (approximately)–The worship service ends.

Given the extraordinary turnout that we get for this worship service, we recommend that you arrive at the venue as close to 4:30 a.m. as you can. Once the amphitheatre is at capacity, the police officers handling traffic will not allow you to gain access to the venue. Please dress warmly! It can get quite cold before the sun rises.

This year, we will provide an online, livestream of the event. We also plan a replay at 3 p.m. in the afternoon on Easter Sunday. Stay tuned for more details on this page on how to view the livestream.

You may view past Easter Sunrise Services on our YouTube channel Easter Sunrise Service at Red Rocks playlist.

The Worship Service


Our Speaker: Bishop Jim Gonia, Rocky Mountain Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Bishop Jim Gonia was elected to a six-year term on April 28, 2012, at the Rocky Mountain Synod’s annual assembly in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was installed on September 23, 2012.

He served as a missionary in Madagascar from 1988 to 1998. From 1998 to 2009 he was called as the associate pastor of Atonement Lutheran Church in Denver. Prior to his election as bishop, he served the ELCA’s churchwide ministries as Global Mission Area Program Director for West Africa, Tanzania and Madagascar. In this position Bishop Gonia was responsible for overseeing the ELCA’s programs and relationships with Lutheran church bodies and partners in nine African countries.

Bishop Gonia received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind., in 1982; a Master of  Divinity degree from Luther Northwestern Seminary (now Luther Seminary) in 1988; and a Master of  Theology degree in Islamic studies at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in 1997.

His wife, Kim, is an ordained pastor in the ELCA serving a “Called to Common Mission” call at Intercession Episcopal Church in Thornton, CO. They have three children, all graduates of Lutheran universities:  Caroline, Mallory, and Peter

Worship Leaders


Rev. Gabi Aelabouni

The Rev. Gabi Aelabouni has served as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) since 2005. Born and raised in a small town near Nazareth in the Holy Land, he grew up as a Melkite (Byzantine Catholic) Christian and sometimes jokes that he and Jesus went to the same high school. Gabi holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and has served as pastor to congregations in Chicago and Brookfield, IL and Fort Collins, CO. Currently Gabi is the Director for the ELCA Fund for Leaders, a scholarship fund for seminary students. Gabi and his spouse, the Rev. Meghan Johnston Aelabouni, have three young children and live in Fort Collins, CO.


Rev. Tomas Bayou

Tomas Bayou is an ordained Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He currently serves as Spiritual Care Provider at a local hospice in Boulder.

Rev. Theresa A. Schjang

Terry Schjang, pastor of New Beginnings Worshipping Community, began her theological education at Iliff School of Theology, and earned her Masters of Divinity degree from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.  She has a Bachelor of Arts from Middlebury College in Spanish and American Literature.  Terry is a second career pastor who previously worked as an Account Executive in the Advertising world of New York City.  Responding to a strong sense of call to share God’s Word and Sacraments, particularly on the margins, Terry’s formational journey led her to attend a Prison Congregations of America conference in 2012.  There, among the voices of those who serve prison ministries, her sense of call to this particular area of ministry was affirmed.  She is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, serving both as pastor of New Beginnings (a Synodically Authorized Worshipping Community of the Rocky Mountain Synod) and as chaplain to the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility at large.

Musical Guests

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Sponsorship Opportunities

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