Worshipers set their alarm clocks early for the sunrise service with Coastline Calvary Chapel at Navarre Beach.

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NAVARRE BEACH — Worshipers set their alarm clocks early for the sunrise service with Coastline Calvary Chapel.

It was the first sunrise service for the church, which has been in Navarre for about a year and a half. Last year's event was rained out — but it was a clear and beautiful Easter morning as folks sipped on coffee and listened to the worship band perform as the sun slowly rose behind them.

Pastor Randy Pitman said the early morning services are a nod to Jesus rising from the dead. According to the Bible, women had come to the tomb of Christ first thing in the morning to carry out the last burial rituals when they discovered the tomb empty.

After a short service — there were still 9 and 11 a.m. traditional services at the church — about half a dozen people stepped up to be baptized in the Gulf of Mexico.

"God gave us this beautiful baptistery," Pittman said, motioning toward the Gulf. "Today is a celebration."

Friends, family and churchgoers clapped from the shoreline after each baptism. Lyndsay Brookes clapped for her husband, Seth, saying this Easter was extra special for their family.

Debbie Locke and her husband, Rick, were among those cheering. Two years ago, Debbie decided to become baptized on her birthday, April 19, in the Gulf of Mexico. She said she liked living the experience all over again.

"It is such a good feeling," she said. "I felt like everything was washing away. Out with the old and in with the new. How could anyone not believe in God when they look at the water?"

Debbie and her husband drove from Shalimar to be a part of the morning service. She wanted to spend this Easter on the beach.

"This is where I feel God the most," she said. "This is why I moved to Florida this past September. I feel peace and love."