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2012-04-05

Holy Week, Community Sunrise Services planned

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

It's the one day of the year when Christians get excited about getting up before the sun. Clasping a hot cup of coffee or chocolate, bundling up in warm coats, they come together with other believers outdoors to greet the sun as it comes up on Easter Sunday morning.

Sunrise Services date back to the early 1700s and continue to be popular with the faithful today.

We don't know when the first community sunrise service was held on the courthouse lawn in Bandera, but the event has been held regularly for decades.

This year is no exception, as the Bandera County Christian Fellowship (BCCF) will lead the family of worshippers celebrating the Resurrection of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Believers will meet on the courthouse lawn at 7 am. Bring lawnchairs if you like.

In Medina, the faith community will gather at the scenic Deer Creek Camp on FM 337 at 7 am to watch the sun come up, to sing hymns, pray and offer thanks to God for the gift of eternal life.

In Lakehills, believers will come together at the park at Pebble Beach #1 at 6:30 am.

According to Wikipedia, the first Easter Sunrise Service recorded took place in 1732 in the Moravian congregation at Herrnhut in the hills of Saxony.

The unmarried men in the congregation held an all-night prayer vigil at the church. In the early morning they walked to the town graveyard to sing hymns of praise to the Risen Saviour.

The following year, the whole congregation joined in the service.

Thereafter the "Easter Morning" or "Sunrise Service" spread around the world with the Moravian missionaries, coming to America in the 1770s. Throughout Holy Week, local churches will be holding special worship services including Tenebrae, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday services, before climaxing with Easter Sunday celebrations.

The BCCF invites everyone in the community to attend a Good Friday service from noon to 1 pm at Grace Lutheran Church on Highway 173 North in Bandera. Local pastors and Christian leaders will lead the meditation on the message of the Cross and the seven last words of Jesus. An offering will be collected to benefit local non-profit causes.

Contact the local church of your choice for their Holy Week schedules.