For nearly 40 years, Haven of Rest has been pairing with local partners to offer a unique Easter experience to the Gig Harbor community: the only outdoor Easter Sunrise Service in the area.
This year’s event drew almost 400 attendees, enjoying clear skies during the 7 a.m. service, held annually for 38 years and always outdoors, rain or shine, said Martha Bryant, community outreach manager for Haven of Rest.
“We don’t go indoors. It’s an outdoor service,” she said. “We see a lot of people dressed not only like they’re going to a nice Easter service, but also like they’re going to a football game.”
We don’t go indoors. It’s an outdoor service. We see a lot of people dressed not only like they’re going to a nice Easter service, but also like they’re going to a football game.
Martha Bryant, Community Outreach manager for Haven of Rest
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Bob Glass purchased Haven of Rest in 1978, Bryant said, and started the first Easter Sunrise Service the following year. This first service was a partnership with his mother, Inez Glass, who was the owner and founder of Cottesmore nursing home in 1968.
“It was a combined effort between Haven of Rest and Cottesmore,” Bryant explained. “They had about a hundred people.”
The idea of partnering with community businesses for the Sunrise Service remained a continued tradition for Haven of Rest. This year’s service featured donated coffee from Cutter’s Point and encouragement cards from Dightman’s Bible Book Center.
“Whenever we do these, we always try to incorporate other businesses in the community,” Bryant said. “It’s more fun that way. It’s always been the idea to work with the community and actively serve the community.”
For us it’s more than an Easter message because a lot of the people here have lost someone and have lost someone recently. It’s to reach out to them in their grief, to give them hope.
The annual service also features pastors from local community churches, especially newer churches within the community. She also noted that, beyond the Easter message, the Sunrise Service works to leave attendees with a feeling of hope and community support.
“For us it’s more than an Easter message because a lot of the people here have lost someone and have lost someone recently,” she said. “It’s to reach out to them in their grief, to give them hope.”