The Meaning of Lent

at Christ Church

Historically, Lent is a 40-day period of Christ-centered devotion between Ash Wednesday (February 17th this year) and Easter Sunday (April 4th).

 

The practice of Lent has been observed by Christians around the world since the early centuries of the church. It is a season of spiritual preparation in which we remember Christ's temptation, suffering, and death.

To practice Lent is to draw near, and better understand, Jesus Christ. Lent is a season of intentional discipleship under Christ and with Christ. We also practice Lent to bond more closely with fellow Christians who are on the same journey - not only with those at Christ Episcopal Church, but also with all those around the world. Along the way, our sin and habits are put to death, and we learn to internalize and share in Christ’s resurrection power.

 

In the Western church, the forty days of Lent extend from Ash Wednesday through Holy Saturday, omitting Sundays. The last three days of Lent are the sacred Triduum of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Today, Lent has reacquired its significance as the final preparation of candidates for baptism. Joining with them, all Christians are invited "to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word" (Book of Common Prayer, p. 265).

As is our custom here at Christ Church, during the season of Lent we will celebrate Holy Eucharist using the Rite I liturgy from our Book of Common Prayer. We will first use Rite I at the Eucharistic part of the Ash Wednesday liturgy, and return to Rite II at the Easter Vigil.

 

Our Lenten

Services and Gatherings

At the time of this writing, we are adhering to all social distancing protocols and will host each service, presentation, and gathering virtually. Below is a brief outline of the Lenten activities and it will be updated as necessary. To receive the latest details, please sign up for our emails by completing the brief form at the bottom of our website. Also be sure to check our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages for the latest Christ Church news and updates on worship services, fellowship gatherings, and Lenten Meditations.

 

You are always welcome to join us online at Christ Church,

and we hope that you will do so often.

 

Holy Week Services

This year, services take place in-person or online each day during Holy Week, from Palm Sunday (March 28th) through Easter Sunday (April 4th).  Every prayer service will be livestreamed on our website and Facebook pages, and all in-person services will be on our website, Facebook, and YouTube pages.

 

In addition to these livestreams, current public health guidelines also allow us to offer in-person worship for every Holy Week service (except morning and evening prayers). Please note that attendance is limited and all social distancing, attendance, and safety protocols will be strictly followed by everyone. If you would like to attend, please click the button below.

Palm Sunday

Sunday, March 28th

Holy Eucharist at 8:00 in Old Brick

9:00 & 11:00 a.m. in New Brick

9:00 and 11:00 a.m. are livestreamed on our website, YouTubeand Facebook

The Church has preserved this celebration and enters into Jesus’ triumphal arrival to Jerusalem through the liturgy and celebration of Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week.  Palm Sunday sets the tone for Holy Week as one of ultimate victory and joy.  It holds special significance because it is the beginning of one liturgical movement that arcs through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil.  The palms are an ancient symbol of triumph and victory and will be distributed at all services.

Morning and Evening Prayer

Monday @ 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday - Friday @ 7:00 a.m.

on our website and Facebook

Join us on Monday for Morning and Evening Prayer, and every other weekday for Morning Prayer. These brief, reflective services can be found on the main page of our website and on the Christ Church Facebook page.  Each one will remain posted after it ends, so if you're unable to join us while we're live, you can worship in your own time afterward.

 

Holy Wednesday / Choral Evensong

Wednesday, March 31st @ 7:30 p.m. in New Brick

and livestreamed on our website, YouTubeand Facebook

As Jesus draws ever closer to the events of Good Friday, the church readies itself by a special service of Choral Evensong. During this brief sung service, one of the jewels of the Anglican tradition, our quartet offers ancient hymns, psalms, and a setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis.

Maundy Thursday

Thursday, April 1st @ 7:30 p.m. in New Brick

and livestreamed on our website, YouTubeand Facebook

On this evening of Maundy Thursday, we gather together 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 appointments, so that the focus of all can be upon the cross alone on the following day, Good Friday.  We then hear of the Agony in the Garden, as Jesus is arrested.  The Watch then takes place through the night, as in response to our Lord’s question: “Could you not watch with me one hour?”

Good Friday

Friday, April 2nd

Holy Eucharist at 12 noon and 7:30 p.m. in New Brick

and livestreamed on our website, YouTubeand Facebook

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 then invited to come forward in reverence of the cross - by touching of the wood, a simple bow, a genuflection, or the act of kissing the wood of the cross.

The noonday 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.

Holy Saturday

Saturday, April 3rd

Easter Vigil with Holy Baptism at 7:30 p.m. in New Brick

and livestreamed on our website, YouTubeand Facebook

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 whom 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!

Christ Church will also Individuals of any age who are interested in being baptized at this service are invited to email us, as we host a Baptism on this day. . You can also call the church office.

Easter Sunday

Saturday, April 12th

Holy Eucharist at 8:00 a.m. in Old Brick

9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. in New Brick

9:00 and 11:00 a.m. are livestreamed on our website, YouTubeand Facebook

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

The 8:00 a.m. Eucharist will take place in Old Brick. At the 9:00 and 11:00 services, a small choir is present, with all of the rituals appointed for the day to help 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.

Past Services and Gatherings

* All Zoom virtual gatherings below are denoted by an asterisk. The details and link to upcoming Zoom sessions will be in our weekly emails. If you'd like to receive these emails, please tell us at communications@christchurchcolumbia.org or complete the brief form at the bottom of the main page of this website.

Daily Lenten Meditations

Every weekday between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday

The 2021 Christ Church Lenten Meditation Book contains parishioner submissions of prayers, songs, poems, and personal reflections.  It also includes our favorite inspirational pieces by various writers and theologians, particularly focusing on our Spiritual Life theme for this year: "Be God's Light that Shines in the Darkness."  Check back each weekday, as daily meditations will be posted here on our website, and on our social media pages, throughout the Lenten season.

You can read our Lenten Meditations here.

Weekday Morning and Evening Prayer

Mornings: M-F at 7:00 a.m.

Evenings: M, W, F at 7:00 p.m.

(holidays excepted)

on our website and Facebook

Christ Church continues to host Morning and Evening Prayer worship throughout Lent. You can join us every weekday morning and on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings. This service livestream helps to re-center us as we begin and conclude our days.

Ash Wednesday

February 17th @ 7:00 a.m., 12 noon, and 7:30 p.m.

on our website, YouTube, and Facebook

On Ash Wednesday, we are not only reminded of our mortality but we are also reminded of whence we came, or are made of.  To get our thoughts and minds ready for the season of Lent, we will have Ash Wednesday service livestreams at 7:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, and 7:30 p.m. Although in-person worship is not possible at this time, Father Manny and Deacon Denise will be on the Christ Church campus for 30-60 minutes after each service to safely sprinkle ashes for any interested parishioners who stop by (masks are required).

Lenten Reflection Day

Saturday, February 20th @ 10:00 a.m.

on Zoom*

This first Saturday in Lent will set the stage for our Lenten Reflection Day, beginning at 10 a.m. This year, we are very blessed to be joined by The Reverend Earl Mullins, Interim Rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Leesburg, Virginia.  He will lead us in prayer and meditation as we examine our 2021 theme, "Be God's Light that Shines in the Darkness."  Following the morning's program will be an informal Eucharist. This virtual gathering takes place on Zoom*, and we will email the link and details a few days prior. We hope that you'll find time to join us for this solemn and special morning.​

You can learn more about Reverend Mullins here.

Nurturing the Light Within

with the Rev. Dr. Jill Snodgrass

March 6th and 13th at 11:00 a.m. on Zoom*

Join us for an hour on consecutive Saturdays - March 6th and 13th - for a guided discussion on self-care and spiritual care practices that foster health and wellness during this time of continuing isolation and turmoil. The Reverend Dr. Jill Snodgrass, professor of theology at Loyola University, a pastoral counselor and ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and Clinical Director of Spiritual Support at GBMC hospital, will lead us in exploring ways to nurture and care for ourselves spiritually and emotionally during dark times, including strategies for managing stress and anxiety in our lives.

Two Evenings at the Kitchen Table

with Dr. Harolyn Belcher

February 23rd and March 15th at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom*

Dr. Harolyn Belcher, a Christ Church parishioner, Professor of Pediatrics, and Vice President at Johns Hopkins Hospital invites us to join her on Zoom* for a pair of evenings - February 23rd and March 15th - at 7:30 p.m. each night. The virtual gathering on February 23rd will be centered around the latest COVID-19 vaccine information and March 15th focuses on how we all can help to ensure child and youth health and well-being. We hope that you all will join us for this important Zoom series.

Wednesday Evening Lenten Series

Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom*

The Spiritual Life Commission invites everyone to join us virtually for our annual Wednesday Evening Lenten Series, This popular series will center on our 2021 theme, Be God’s Light that Shines in the Darkness. Each week, we will host a different presenter who gives their perspective on this theme.


February 24th - The Rt. Rev. Robert Ihloff
Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Maryland


March 3rd - The Rev. Kirk Kubicek


March 10th - The Rev. Richard Ginnever
Rector Emeritus, Christ Episcopal Church


March 17th - Professor Lesley DiFransico


March 24th - The Rev. Emmanuel Ato Mercer
Rector, Christ Episcopal Church


Each Wednesday evening begins with a brief introduction at 7:30 p.m. followed by that week’s presentation and then concludes with an informal Eucharist. This event is held on Zoom*, and the details and link will be in each Monday’s This Week on Zoom email. We hope that you’ll join us for this exceptional series of fellowship, discussion, and prayer.

Lectionary Bible Study

Wednesdays @ 10:30 a.m. on Zoom*

Bible Study takes place on Zoom* each Wednesday morning at 10:30 a.m. and is a group discussion on the readings for that coming Sunday. You do not have to know much about the Bible; just join in and let's all study together. If you're interested, simply gather with us online any Wednesday morning.

Christ Church Book Discussion Group

Fridays at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom*

This friendly and engaging virtual gathering will collectively discuss two books by C.S. Lewis during Lent; The Screwtape Letters begins this series on February 26th and is then followed by Mere Christianity a few weeks later. Clive Staples Lewis (1898–1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and one of the most influential writers of his day. Our Zoom* discussions take place for about 90 minutes on a weekly basis, covering 40-45 pages per week. We assign sections to different members of the group as primary presenters and then the rest of the group contributes to the lively and insightful discussion. All are welcome, and you can join us any week; if you’re interested, email us at communications@christchurchcolumbia.org.

Adult Inquirer's & Confirmation Class

Sundays at 2:00 p.m. on Zoom*

Each Sunday afternoon, Father Manny and Deacon Denise lead our Adult Inquirer's and Confirmation Class, and all interested persons are invited to join us as we continue to meet throughout this Lenten season. This is in preparation for Bishop Sutton’s planned visit to Christ Episcopal Church on Sunday, May 23rd.