PAXINOS - The public is invited to worship at the annual Easter service at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at the "old rugged cross" on the mountaintop overlooking Route 61.

This is the 52nd year the cross has been on the mountain, and this is 27th year services have been held there.

Under the direction of John Miller, former Explorer adviser, Scouts erected the first cross on the mountain in 1961. Miller has never missed an Easter service at the cross and takes frequent hikes to visit it throughout the year. The original cross stood for 25 years until weather took its toll and it had to be replaced.

In 1986, under the direction of Scoutmaster Harvey Buriak, Scouts raised a brand new cross. Beginning that year, generator-fueled floodlights were used illuminate the cross.

Michael Shevitski, Scoutmaster, said many changes are being made this year for accommodations at the service, but wouldn't reveal any secrets.

"You'll have to come up and see for yourself," Shevitski said.

Musical performance

This year, the sounds of The Original Couriers, a gospel group, will fill the mountain air. Dave Kyllonen, last year's guest speaker, is a member of the group.

Kyllonen, Duane Nicholson and Neil Enloe started as a music evangelistic team in 1955 as Bible college students. They are still true their original message and sound, offering stability and dependability in their ministry.

The three, with more than 50 recordings, have delivered their message in song to more than 10,000 churches, concert halls and mission stations. Their rigorous travel schedules have taken them to more than 60 nations, all 50 states and all the Canadian provinces.

With their wives and children solidly behind their ministry, the men have kept an exhausting pace while singing and preaching the greatest story ever told. Testimony to their fatherly impact on their families at home is that six of their eight children (seven daughters and one son) are in full-time ministry today.

Kyllonen, who sings baritone, is the emcee for the group. He preaches at the end of most of the appearances. Nicholson is the tenor whose brilliant intonation brings instant identity to their sound. Enloe sings the lead, plays piano and writes many of the songs that the men perform.

One of their songs, "The Statue of Liberty," has gained international accolades and made its way into the repertoires of many other artists. Although the group has performed it for more than 35 years, it remains their most requested and has become standard fare in a service or concert.

The sound, the reputation and the commitment all point toward ministry that has stood the test of time and kept the integrity that is so crucial upon which to base a Christian witness, organizers of the service note. They added that there is no fanfare, no pretense, no vision of personal grandeur or self-promotion, just the distinct call of God, the group's primary motivation.

The three have written a book, "Our Final Quarter," about their beginnings, hardships and victories of full-time ministry. Three distinct personalities tell the excited story of touring the nation from sea to shining sea and beyond its borders to the nations of the world. Readers will laugh, cry, rejoice and experience first-hand what it has been like to travel well over three million miles by motor coach, train, mission vehicles, airplanes and ships.

The book has already been requested and placed in Bible school libraries as a resource tool for those entering full-time ministry. Some have said that this book can be a handbook for new groups wanting to start new ministries.

Those who read the book will better understand the "mystery" of how three men with totally different personalities could blend their lives together for so many years.

Ed Heitzman will again perform this year. Everyone is welcome to attend the traditional campfire hot dog roast after the service.