For our Memorial Page for Deacon Joan Kelly, including information about the 13 April 2019 service for her, please click here.
First, a special note: During Holy Week and leading to Easter, the Church acts out the story of the final week of Jesus’ ministry before his crucifixion. As such, they contain significant elements of drama, almost like attending a week long play. And that makes them particularly appropriate for children, who seem always to have the ability to enter into the drama and become a part of it. Let me encourage you to bring your children to as many of these as possible, as a way of deepening their already growing spiritual lives. MG+
Thursday, 18 April: Maundy Thursday — The service is at 7:00 PM. This is the annual commemoration of the Last Supper and the beginning of Jesus’ final journey to the cross by way of the Garden of Gethsemane. It’s odd title comes from the Latin phrase, Mandatum novum do vobis: ut diligatis invicem, sicut dilexi vos, dicit Dominus. — “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you, says the Lord,” the first words that were said in the ancient form of the service. This year our Middle School Youth Group will present a “chancel drama” as part of the service. Following Holy Communion, the Youth Group and members of the Altar Guild and of the congregation will strip the altar and chancel of all of its decorations, leaving it barren for Good Friday.
Friday, 19 April: Good Friday — The first service, at 12:00 Noon, begins with the “Stations of the Cross.” In this ancient ritual, we walk the outer aisles of the church stopping at pictures which remind us of the agony that Jesus experienced on his way to be crucified. At each picture — created years ago by our Sunday School students — we pause to hear a brief meditation and offer a prayer. Following the Stations, we begin the special Liturgy for Good Friday, which features the reading of the Passion according to John, a series of special prayers, and Holy Communion offered from the previously consecrated bread and wine from Maundy Thursday. The second service, at 7:00 PM, begins with this special Liturgy and also includes communion from the reserved sacramental elements. It then continues with a modified form of “Tenebrae,” the Service of the Darkness of the Cross.
Saturday, 20 April: The Great Vigil of Easter — the most beautiful and most important service of the Church year begins at 7:00 PM, and includes some of the oldest prayers and rituals from our 2000 year tradition. It begins with the lighting of a new fire and the dedication of the year’s Paschal Candle. The ancient anthem called the Exultet is sung, leading into the Vigil readings: five selections from the Old Testament that prepare us for understanding the life and ministry of Jesus. We bless a new font of water and remember our own baptisms through a rite of “aspergis” or sprinkling. We listen one of the oldest sermons of our faith, and then proclaim the Resurrection and celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter. There is no 4:30 service this day, because tradition says we must rest on this Sabbath until the Vigil.
Sunday, 21 April: Easter Day — Our regular schedule of Sunday services holds, including 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM and 12 Noon. At the early service, our Choir will join us and lead us in the singing of a couple of Easter hymns. There is no Sunday School accompanying the 10:00 AM service, but the children are invited to the altar after the Gospel for a special brief homily based on Emmanuel’s Resurrection window. The Noon service will also include additional musical selections.