Our Palm Sunday, Holy Week & Easter Services for 2017

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Come join us for Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Sunday services at Christ Episcopal Church. Our service times are as follows:

Palm Sunday – April 9th 
Holy Eucharist – 8:00am & 10:30am
Liturgy of Palms begins in Old Brick
Distribution of the Palms at both services

 

Christ Church is open for prayer each and every day, Monday-Friday, during Holy Week.

Monday in Holy Week – April 10th
Stations of the Cross – 7:30pm

Tuesday in Holy Week – April 11th
A Lenten meditation of liturgical dance by Lumen Christi – 7:30pm

Wednesday in Holy Week – April 12th
Tenebrae – 7:30pm

Maundy Thursday – April 13th
Eucharist & Stripping of the Altar – 7:30pm

Good Friday – April 14th
Veneration of the Cross – 12noon & 7:30pm  (the 7:30 service includes communion from the reserve sacrament)

Holy Saturday – April 15th
The Great Vigil – 7:30pm

Easter Day – April 16th
The Day of Resurrection
9:00am – Family Eucharist with Hymns
Flowering of the Cross – children are invited to bring a flower to decorate the cross.
Easter Egg Hunt follows.
11:30am – Solemn Festival Eucharist

 

For so many, Holy Week jumps from Palm Sunday to Easter Day, and the Passion of our Lord is overlooked. Journey with us as we continue a tradition that honors our Lord and gives a strong witness of our faith.

The most holy of weeks begins with Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday. Here the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is recalled, and yet, the liturgy quickly shifts to the events of the week that lead Jesus to his arrest, trial and death on the cross. The congregation gathers in Old Brick, processes to New Brick with blessed palm leaves, and joins in the reading of the Gospel narrative in parts. The liturgy ends in quietness; a stark contrast to the joy of the procession. So our Holy Week journey begins.

We remember the Stations Of The Cross on Monday evening. Walk with us and recall the way of the Passion in this ancient service. Prayers are offered at each of eight Stations depicting specific events of our Lord’s arrest, trial, crucifixion and death. Paintings by Kelmie Snider.

We celebrate Tuesday in Holy Week with a Liturgical Dance performance. Come and embrace the Passion of Our Lord as we continue the journey of walking with Jesus day by day.

As Jesus draws ever closer to the events of Good Friday, the church readies itself by the reading of the service of Tenebrae, taken from the monastic tradition. In this Wednesday service, the daily prayers for the next three days are said, so that the focus can be on the sacredness and liturgies of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. A candelabrum with fifteen candles is used, and one by one, the candles are extinguished, until the only light remaining symbolizes the light of Christ. This light is taken and hid for a moment, as Christ was laid in the tomb. Then a loud noise, that of the earthquake, is made, and the light is returned to its stand. In silence and by the light of only that candle, the congregation leaves.

In the evening of Maundy Thursday we will gather to bring into remembrance the Last Supper of our Lord and the Institution of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. We hear and remember the words of Jesus as he states, “Do this in remembrance of me.” As the service concludes, the altar is stripped of all of its apportionments, so that the focus of all can be upon the cross alone on Good Friday. Then we hear of the Agony in the Garden as Jesus is arrested. The Watch that takes place through the night, as in response to our Lord’s question- “Could you not watch with me one hour?”

The congregation is invited to come and spend an hour (or any portion) in prayer and solitude at the Altar of Repose, set up in Old Brick. A sign up sheet is posted in the rear of the church, but more than one person may share the same hour.

Christians throughout the world recall Good Friday as the day upon which Jesus died. As it remembers the great sinfulness of man, it also points to the glory and love of God. It is most somber in its offering, and includes the Veneration of the Cross, another ancient custom of the Church. A plain wooden cross is carried into the church and is held before us. The congregation is invited to come forward and reverence the cross, by touching of the wood, a simple bow, a genuflection or the act of kissing the wood of the cross.

The afternoon service lasts one hour, and draws our attention to the extraordinary love that God has for each of us in giving His son to die upon the cross. The evening service is fifteen minutes longer as we also receive communion from the Sacrament Reserved. Church tradition prohibits the celebration of the Eucharist on this day.

As the church awaits the glory of the resurrection, Holy Saturday is a day of preparation. As the sun sets, bringing with it the end of the Lenten season, one of the most beautiful services of the entire church year is held. We begin in utter darkness, signifying Christ in the tomb, and then a new fire is lighted & blessed and with it the Paschal Candle symbolizing Christ. As the Paschal Candle is carried into the church, the light is passed to parishioners who each hold a candle.

As the church is illumined by just candlelight, the ancient hymn The Exsultet is sung. Then, within that light, lessons are read which remind us of God’s desire for man’s salvation. The Sacrament of Holy Baptism takes central focus for the priesthood of all believers and then we celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter. The darkness is now full light!

We have now reached Easter Day – a day of joy, celebration and the gift of life to God’s people.

At the 9:00am service, children are invited to bring a flower to help decorate the cross. This is also the day for everyone to bring their mite boxes. This liturgy is followed by our traditional Easter Egg Hunt for young children. Instructions will be given.

At both services, a full choir and procession with all of the ritual appointed for the day helps us celebrate and express our joy. The Easter sermon is given; the choir anthems are spectacular and the glory of the day radiates from our worship into the community.