Beliefnet
CRAWFORD, Texas, April 15 (AP) - President George W. Bush and his family celebrated Easter Sunday at a sunrise church service, joining in a prayer of thanks for the safe return of 24 U.S. service members held in China.

Three generations of Bushes attended the outdoor service near the president's ranch, including his parents, former President George Bush and Barbara Bush; his mother-in-law, Jenna Welch; his wife, Laura; his brother, Marvin; and his daughter, Jenna.

About 150 people sat on folding chairs at Canaan Baptist Church on a slight bluff overlooking central Texas pastures. The site was bordered on one side by a field ablaze with wildflowers, on another by a cemetery.

The president twice was the subject of remarks during the service.

A member of the congregation, Jerry Gauer, led a prayer for the nation.

``We pray for President Bush, his staff and the leaders of our nation as they seek at various times wisdom and guidance from you,'' Gauer said.

``We also celebrate this morning, Lord, the fine young men and women who are home this morning in America celebrating Easter with their families and not in China,'' he said. ``We want to thank President Bush and his staff for all these negotiations.''

The Bush family, sitting front and center, listened quietly during the prayer.

The minister, the Rev. Michael Taylor, urged his congregation to exhibit determination in their faith. To make his point, he used a curious metaphor involving the cattle on Bush's ranch.

``I know Mr. Bush knows when an old bull's got his harem of cows in his own pasture and then the neighbor's got a harem of cows, and may not have a bull ... sometimes that old bull is just all bent up,'' Taylor said.

``He's going through that fence, he doesn't care how much barbed wire is there,'' Taylor said. He called on his congregation to be ``bent toward God.''

It was not possible to judge Bush's response; his back was to reporters.

The 24-member crew returned to the U.S. mainland from Hawaii Saturday after being held for 11 days in China following the April 1 collision of their spy plane with a Chinese fighter jet over South China Sea. The collision led to a standoff between the two countries, and the crew was released only after the Bush administration said it was ``very sorry'' about the loss of the Chinese pilot.

Taylor devoted the rest of his sermon to the story of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.

After spending a long holiday weekend at his ranch, Bush was returning to Washington Sunday night.

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