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The more we develop our environment, the more we appreciate the beauty of the natural world, it seems. That irony is not lost on Orange County, Calif., one of the fastest growing areas of the country. A United Methodist pastor there found, on the edge of the Pacific, an always-inspiring event he just had to honor, free to anyone who would stop to watch.

 
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For beachgoers, there’s a moment just before sunset when the light and sky become magic.

Louise Okey: “I think it’s really an emotional thing to watch the sunset.”

A moment so profound, people stop to watch.

Berit Johnson: “I’ve always been drawn to the beach. There is something very calming and relaxing.”

Steve Isenman knows that feeling of peace.

Pastor Steve Isenman: “And it struck me, particularly as a Christian, what a powerful devotional moment that was and what a wonderful opportunity it would be to point that out to people.”

About a half-hour before sunset, this United Methodist pastor and other church volunteers hand out fliers with a psalm printed on the front and a few words of reflection.

Nat sound: “Let’s all read Psalm 65 together …”

Then, with the sunset as their backdrop, the group gathers on the pier to mark the end of a day.

Pastor Steve Isenman: “I think in putting ourselves in touch with creation, it helps us also to be in touch with the Creator.”

Byler Brinker: “We hope to show people that we care about them and that we can convince some of them maybe to come to our church or somebody else’s church.”

Nat sound: “And Lord, as we hear the pounding surf and witness the beautiful sunset …”

These seaside devotions are meant to celebrate a moment so inspiring, it brings people closer together.

Louise Okey: “Anything in nature – a sunset, a sunrise, a rainbow – it warms your heart. You have to know where that’s coming from, you know. It’s not just accidental.”

Sunset Service Tag:

Church members say they don’t have to worry about the beachside sermon lasting too long. Sunset takes care of that.