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Easter Sunrise Service At Little Church On The Hill

Photo by Tiffany Tuell courtesy Little Church

OAKHURST — The historic “Little Church on the Hill” will be host its second annual Easter Sunrise service  at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Apr. 21. The church is located in the Oak Hill Cemetery, perched gracefully atop the knoll overlooking town.

In the years since its restoration, the Little Church on the Hill has been host to weddings, baptisms, memorials and numerous veteran celebrations. Until 2018, it had been more than 30 years since the church had hosted an Easter Sunrise service, according to Jackie Mallouf, long-time member of the Little Church on the Hill Foundation Board. The Little Church is 122 years old.

Last Easter, the early-morning service brought a wonderful turnout with standing room only, providing an opportunity for friends and neighbors to reconnect and share the joy of Jesus’ rise to glory.

The idea for holding the sunrise service at the landmark church came to Pastor Gayle Basten of the New Community United Methodist Church while thinking about how her own congregation could begin “looking beyond Sunday, past our own walls, to encourage involvement with the entire community.”

Photo by Tiffany Tuell courtesy Little Church

In the 1890s, building traditions of the era were said to be quite efficient and everyone turned out to lend a hand. Barns, houses and churches were often built in just a few days. It was in the spirit of the entire community coming together that the simple Little Church was built. Consecrated on June 20, 1894, it was the only place of worship for residents of Fresno Flats and met the needs of all denominations for 61 years.

As new churches were being built in Oakhurst, the church became smaller and smaller in members and held its last worship service in 1953.

In 1957 the church was moved from Chapel Hill to Oakhill Cemetery to protect it from vandalism. On Mar. 19, 1994, the California State Historical Resources Commission designated the church and cemetery as a Point of Historical Interest.

Because the Little Church on the Hill has been largely non-denominational throughout its history, “it became clear to me, this was the perfect place to host an Easter Sunrise service that wasn’t based on any particular belief system or doctrine,” the Pastor explains.

Everyone is invited to attend the Easter Sunrise service of thanksgiving, prayer and celebration. Those in attendance are advised to dress warmly as it will be cold in the church in the early morning hours of the weekend.

While there will be no offering taken, those attending are encouraged to make a donation to the Little Church on the Hill Foundation for continued upkeep and maintenance of this historic landmark.

Questions? Contact Pastor Gayle

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