San Felipe UMC celebrates 78th Easter sunrise service


San Felipe United Methodist Church will hold its 78th annual Easter sunrise service on April 1 at 7 a.m.

The service will take place at the Stephen F. Austin Historical Park in front of the statue of Stephen F. Austin. In case of rain, the service will be held in the San Felipe United Methodist Church on F.M. 1458 and Second Street.

There has been preaching in San Felipe since the founding of the town. Minister Harry Stephenson began preaching at the church in 1824 but there is evidence that there were several other preachers during the Colonial period.

Thomas Pilgrim founded the San Felipe Church as the first Sunday school in Texas in 1829. The present structure was built in 1837 and has the distinction of occupying the oldest protestant church edifice in the state. The current minister is Joel McMahon.

Since 1940, an Easter sunrise service has been held at the state park and is sponsored by San Felipe United Methodist Church.

The Easter morning message that Christ has risen is proclaimed. The services typically begin before the sun comes over the horizon so everyone can see the glorious sunrise.

Ministers from San Felipe, Sealy, Pattison, Wallis and other surrounding areas will participate in this celebration. Each year a minister from a different church has taken over sermon duties. There will also be choirs, soloists and musicians participating in the service.

Everyone is encouraged to join the group and enjoy the sunrise and the large wooden cross decorated with live flowers and ferns. The Easter message in word and song has been proclaimed in Christian churches everywhere as all denominations are united to praise the risen Lord.

Guests are invited to remain for the 10 a.m. worship service. This church holds service each Sunday morning at 10 a.m. and communion on the first Sunday of the month.

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