The Easter Sunrise Service was organized in our community in 1933 by the Rev. Thomas G. Thomas, pastor of the Leonardo Baptist Church, Leonardo. It has continued until this day in two different locations – Mount Mitchill and the Hofbrauhaus Parking Lot.
We invite you to come to celebrate this important historic event this Sunday, April 8, 2007 at 6:30 AM. As I was putting this anniversary service together I learned that close to half of the Easter Sunrise Services were held on Mount Mitchill where the Eastpointe Condominiums are today. When the Eastpointe Condominiums were built, the Easter Sunrise Service moved to the Hofbrauhaus Parking Lot on Ocean Boulevard, Atlantic Highlands. This will most likely be the last Easter Sunrise Service held here because the Hofbrauhaus Restaurant and Parking Lot have been sold and they are planning to build homes here. We will most likely meet at the Mount Mitchell Scenic Overlook County Park at the end of Ocean Boulevard next year.
The churches that participated in this Easter Sunrise Services were known as the Bayshore Area Churches. It included churches from Keansburg to Long Branch. While primarily it involved churches along Route 36 there have been churches from Middletown, Red Bank and Asbury that participated in the past.
The organization of the event and the leadership for the event came primarily from three churches – Leonardo Baptist Church, New Monmouth Baptist Church and Central Baptist Church. Many times the Easter Sunrise Service was considered the Worship Service of the young people. In planning this event I had the opportunity to talk with people who remember walking from the New Monmouth Baptist Church to Mount Mitchill. The person who was in charge of the Easter Sunrise Services for more than 40 years was the Rev.Harry Kraft, pastor of Central Baptist Church. Many people who are still coming to the Easter Sunrise Service are people that Rev. Kraft recruited and assigned to do various parts in this celebration. For the past 10 years it has been my joy to coordinate this celebration.
Very few community events have lasted this long. It is my prayer and hope that we will continue to hold them until the Lord Jesus Christ comes. In order for this to happen we need your participation. We invite you to come and we hope that you will be there to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Easter Sunrise Service of the Bayshore community.
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