Civic leaders taking part in the citywide event include Mayor Ed Lee and SF Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White. The program also features an SF Firefighters Honor Guard and musical performances by Sheleen Booker and the YUPP Community Choir, Lynne Miller of The House of Bagpipes, and The Salvation Army Brass Ensemble, which will start the morning off with a Sunrise Prelude at 6:20 a.m. Local clergy presiding at the non-denominational service include Easter Sunrise 2011 chairman Rev. P.T. Mammen of International Christian Center, Pastor Toby Kurth of Christ Church at Park Presidio, Rev. Greg Chisolm of Temple Baptist Church, Rev. Nerses Balbanian of Calvary Armenian Congregational Church and Pastor Jeff Mammen of New Life Church. America's largest cross will be illuminated by spotlights totaling 48,000 watts on the evening of Saturday, March 30, shining as a beacon for Easter morning pilgrims.
Special bus service begins at 5:15 a.m. and runs every 15 minutes from Forest Hill Station to the park gate located at the intersection of Lansdale Avenue, Myra Drive and Dalewood Way – two blocks south of Portola Drive. Call 673-MUNI for further transit information.
Sponsored by local churches and broadcast nationally in years past, the Easter Sunrise Service attendance record was set during World War II, with an estimated 50,000 worshippers in attendance. Originally dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a transcontinental ceremony in 1934, the 103-foot-tall Mt. Davidson Cross has been restored by the Council of Armenian-American Organizations of Northern California, owners of the monument. With the sun rising over the East Bay hills, Mt. Davidson Park’s beautiful forest setting serves as a spectacular backdrop for this cherished Easter event. Adding to the visual appeal of the panoramic view of the downtown skyline and San Francisco Bay is the dazzling springtime array of colorful wildflowers currently in bloom. Those planning to attend Easter Sunrise 2013 are advised to dress warmly and wear comfortable walking shoes for the short walk to the summit. For more details, call (415) 566-8393.
San Francisco Chronicle April 13, 2009: Guided up the predawn trail by Boy Scouts with flashlights, worshipers hiked to San Francisco's highest peak Sunday for Easter sunrise service, where the Mount Davidson cross was illuminated by 46,000-watt stage lights.
Among them was Mike Ring, who got up at 3:30 a.m. to catch a Muni bus from the Mission District to arrive 90 minutes before the 6:30 a.m. ceremony. “Coming up the trail, through the dark and the mist, and watching the sun rise over Inspiration Point and light up the cross - it's just amazing,” he said. In his sermon, the Rev. Scott McLelland of Miraloma Community Church used the theme of resurrection and redemption as solace for today's uncertain financial times.”During the Great Depression, our country pulled together like never before,” he said. “Today, we are facing the same challenges, and we will find redemption in the strength of our relationships.”
The bad economy, and the recent slaying of an 8-year-old girl in Tracy, motivated Adolfo Gonzalez to make the trek with his wife and three children, Eduardo, 10; Raquel, 9; and Manuel, 6.”I haven't come in the last two years, but this time I felt I had to - we need to pray for everybody right now,” he said.
Nearly 200 people attended the service. The crowd included families, dog walkers, tourists, senior citizens and a contingent of Armenians.
Maj. Judy Smith of the Salvation Army Band read from the New Testament, San Francisco Supervisor Sean Elsbernd read from the Old Testament, and the Rev. Tim Svoboda of Youth With a Mission City Ministries recited Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want”).
Mountain biker Steve Villareale stayed in the back, and when the service ended he hopped on his bike to beat the crowd down the trails. “Church outdoors is more natural, more how Jesus probably did it,” he said.