It was Easter of 1977 when local women of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church at Newcomerstown held the first Sunrise service. Ever since the Sunrise service has taken place at St. Paul every Easter Sunday and signifies the sacred resurrection.

The original sunrise services were held outdoors in a rural setting on a steep hillside owned by the Arth family. Over the past several years the services have relocated indoors, inside the sanctuary of St. Paul to facilitate the attendance of the older members. This year Bishop Abraham Allende, of the Northeastern Ohio Synod, will visit St. Paul to speak the pronouncement of forgiveness for the Maundy Thursday services on April 13.

Members are hopeful that the sunrise services will be well attended since this is not only the fortieth year for the Sunrise but also the thirtieth anniversary of the Women of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America). In 1987, three Lutheran women's groups joined together to form the Women of the ELCA. The three groups were American Lutheran Church Women, The Lutheran Church Women, and Women in Action for Mission (of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches).

The constituting convention was held June 13-14, 1987 in Milwaukee, Wis. The theme was Embrace God's World. The organization was officially constituted on January 1, 1988, with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The members of the Women of the ELCA are cordially inviting the public to the sunrise services which will take place in the sanctuary of St. Paul on Sunday, April 16, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. The Easter Liturgy will follow at 10:30 a.m. The men of St. Paul will be serving a traditional Easter breakfast between the services.

St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church is located at the corner of College and Canal Street, Newcomerstown.

All are welcome.