Make Church One of Your Family Traditions
Traditions are those little rituals passed down from generation to generation that help shape a family by creating a sense of uniqueness, identity and unity. Bringing children to church is one way to truly Invest in the Young and one that San Felipe UMC has promoted at its Easter Sunrise Service for over 70 years. San Felipe UMC, one of Texas’ oldest churches, knows about building legacies – having celebrated its 175th anniversary just months ago.
Whether it's the annual pumpkin carving competition, river-tubing reunion, or Mom’s melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies … family traditions create memories that fill your mind with love, happiness, and a sense of legacy – regardless of your age. Family traditions don’t have to be extravagant or require heavy duty planning. They can be as simple as Friday movie and pizza night where each family member gets to be in the rotation to pick the toppings and movie titles. Other ideas might include a unique birthday tradition. This might involve the birthday honoree wearing the official birthday hat or eating off the Your Special Day plate.
It’s never too late to begin intentional family traditions – and why not include spiritual traditions in the mix? As you think back on your own spiritual traditions, perhaps your family held hands in prayer at meal times or took communion together on special occasions.
Easter Sunrise Service – A Special Family Tradition
Traditions are the glue that help strengthen families and provide fond memories for generations to come. Easter offers a number of opportunities to add a spiritual dimension beyond egg hunts. Such was the case a few weeks ago in the pre-dawn morning when folks made their way to San Felipe, Tx for the 73rd Annual Easter Sunrise Service at Stephen F. Austin State Historical Park on FM 1458 in the Southwest District. While the service is a longstanding tradition of the San Felipe UMC, other ministers, churches and families in the area are always invited and encouraged to take part.
Rev. Lani Rousseau, pastor of FUMC Sealy shares, “This was my second year to participate, and as I left my house, I wondered whether anyone else would be there. It seemed even earlier than the hour my car dashboard revealed, and Easter was earlier in the year than usual so there was a nip in the morning air. As I made my way toward the service it seemed I was alone on the road, but as I approached the park, I could see several cars parked and a good sized crowd assembling.” She adds, “I realized as I was showing up, that others put considerable work into making this time of worship possible, which is such a blessing to the whole community.”
The service began at 7 am as the muted sky revealed nearly 300 gathered to celebrate the risen Christ. The Jimmy Sanders Praise Band provided music and attendees came from area churches including San Felipe UMC, First UMC, Sealy, First UMC, Brookshire, Pattison UMC, and First Presbyterian in Sealy – among many other Easter guests.
Some worshippers knew to bring their own folding chairs as the crowd began to overflow the seats provided and others sat on the small hill near the statue of Stephen F. Austin. For Robert and Robin Castillo, new members of FUMC, Sealy, this experience was a first. They arrived carrying young daughters in beautiful white Easter dresses. “I loved it,” Robin shares, “We now want to make this our family tradition every year.”