The Bells Ring Out On Easter

This year, Bok Tower Gardens will host its 94th Annual Easter Sunrise Service. Although the service will be offered online this year, the Gardens’ first and oldest tradition continues. The picture below is from the 1951 service.

From the archives, here is a photo of the program from the service held in 1929.

You can also download the program for better viewing.
Download the 1929 Easter Program
or visit the Digital Archives for a copy.

It is interesting to note the final message on the back of the program, “The public is urged not to crowd around the Tower for recitals. The Carillon is heard best in the further parts of the Sanctuary.” How timely a lesson for 2020. The picture below was taken in 1940 and shows how different the moat looked in the early days of Bok Tower Gardens.

We did a quick internet search to find more information on the Prayer of St. Chrysostom that was listed in the 1929 program.
Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.

The picture below is not from an Easter Sunrise Service but is from Dedication Day February 1, 1929. This picture depicts the typical crowd from events in the early days of Bok Tower Gardens.

Over the years, the attendance has grown from 150 people in 1927 to more than 2000 – and thankfully now, attendees sit on real chairs rather than on orange crates. The picture below was taken in 1940.

But the purpose of the service remains the same – a community celebration of Easter that combines both the spirit of the holiday and Bok Tower Gardens – with peace, joy, and music.

This year will be the first time the Easter Sunrise Service will be held virtually. Great efforts are being taken to bring this service to the masses through Facebook Live. The service will feature a message from Rev. Tim Nunez, Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Wales, and sacred carillon music performed by Geert D’hollander. We encourage you to join us on April 12 at 7 A.M.

May these words from “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” printed in the 1929 program, inspire your Holy Week.
Hymns of praise then let us sing
Unto Christ, our heavenly King,
Who endured the Cross and grave,
Sinners to redeem and save.

This blog post was researched and compiled by Jaime Fogel, Library & Archival Collections Manager for Bok Tower Gardens. A wealth of history, art and culture is available online in the Bok Tower Gardens Digital Collections. To learn more, Bok Tower Gardens Digital Collections.