By Julie McCay Turner
While there was no dramatic, rosy sunrise to begin Bedford’s 2016 Easter dawn service at Fawn Lake on Sunday morning, there were plenty of birds, swans, and ponies along with splendid brass and accordion music to support the lay-led service.
Coordinated this year by the Parish of St. Michael and Karl Wirth, other faith communities offered support and participation: Cheryl Pespisa, First Church of Christ Congregational; Dawn LaFrance Linden, First Parish Unitarian Universalist; Kimberly Draper, First Baptist; and Armen Zildjian, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
Bob McClatchey and the Ecumenical Brass Ensemble directed by John Bridgeman provided the music.
Generations of families and individuals gathered for the 65th celebration of the service begun by Doris and Reed Webber of First Church along with the late Peg and Charlie Schwerin. According to Doris Webber, they hauled a portable organ, refurbished by Charlie Schwerin, to a knoll where the Bedford High School now stands. “We faced directly East and could see the sun rise,” said Webber. When construction for the High School began, “Grammie Webber asked Mrs. Hayden for permission to meet at Fawn Lake, because it was then private property.” The move to Fawn Lake also signaled the change from a sunrise service beginning at dawn to the current 6:30 am start, noted Webber.
Kathy Dion Mercurio and Nancy Foley grew up in Bedford but live in Pepperell and Dunstable, respectively. They recalled the services and determined that they would attend this year’s service. They arrived in style along with of Holly Ingraham Saari of Ashby, driving their pony carts from the Lane School parking lot along Sweetwater Avenue to Fawn Lake. Kathy was driving Celeste; Holly Ingraham Saari drove Candy; and Nancy Foley held Sally’s reins.
After the Dawn service, Easter celebrations moved to other faith communities. A community breakfast was prepared by First Church of Christ, Congregational, complete with Easter bonnets to share; there was an egg hunt at the Parish of St. Michael; and the sanctuary at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was decorated with spring plants and art work prepared by the congregation’s youngest members.