Easter celebrations across the Southland


About 15,000 people attended "Easter at The Bowl" at the legendary amphitheatre. The service was organized by Bel Air Presbyterian Church, the Eagle Rock-based Christian Assembly Church and Fellowship Monrovia.

The 75-minute service featured a 200-member choir, professional orchestra and a modern live worship band led by Tommy Walker.

Bibles were given to everyone. A portion of the proceeds of the offering from the service was set to go to needy children and families living in Los Angeles.

At the newly renovated Forum, an hourlong gospel concert was set to follow Easter services. Grammy winner Fred Hammond and gospel star Tamela Mann were slated to perform.

At the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez delivered the 12:30 p.m. mass in Spanish to a cathedral packed with worshippers. A bilingual mass was also held at 2:30 p.m.

Easter is a great day filled with hope and joy for us," said Gomez. "Christ is risen and we know we will rise with him.

"Easter tells us that God's love is stronger than death and that Jesus is on our side, that he will lead us through all the dark valleys of our lives, through all our disappointments and sufferings. He will lead us to glory, to the light of his love and peace."

Hollywood High School's auditorium was the setting for the Saddleback Church's Easter service. The church's pastor, Rick Warren, founded Saddleback Church in Lake Forest 34 years ago. He is also the best-selling author of many Christian books, including the purpose driven life which has sold over 30 million copies.

The popularity of Pastor Warren and Saddleback Church has grown. Many parishioners who live in Los Angeles find the drive to Lake Forest a bit far and used Sunday's special Hollywood Easter service to take part in Saddleback Church.

On Sunday, Warren announced he will move the permanent home of his Saddleback Los Angeles church to the Hollywood Palladium on Sunset Boulevard. He also delivered his sermon alongside Jeremy Haynes, the new church's chief pastor, for the first time Sunday.

CNS contributed to this report.

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