at Christ Episcopal Church
This year, Palm Sunday is on April 2nd, and is followed by Holy Week, the most sacred period of our Christian faith. This is when the foundational story of Christianity – Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection – is remembered and retold, both in words and in ritual actions, at services throughout the week. We gather together as a community of faith to journey with Jesus to Jerusalem, to stand with him before his accusers, to walk to Golgotha, and to stand at the foot of his cross. Finally, on Easter Sunday, we will joyously celebrate the resurrection of Christ, lifting our voices in praise of the hope that is ours and the world’s.
From earliest times, Christians have observed the week before Easter as a time of special devotion. The heart of Holy Week observance is the three holy days, or Triduum, of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, and Christ Church has services on each of these days.
Join us for all of it, if you can, remembering that without the journey of Holy Week, Easter loses its deep meaning.
Holy Week Services
Sunday, April 2nd
Holy Eucharist at 8:00, 9:00, & 10:30 a.m.
Liturgy of Palms begins at Old Brick (weather permitting).
The holiest 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. And with this, our Holy Week journey begins.
Meditations on the Passion
Sunday, April 2nd
at 6:00 p.m. in New Brick
This Palm Sunday evening, Christ Church will present Meditations on the Passion, a special service of poems, readings, dance (courtesy of our Lumen Christi liturgical dance ministry), song, and prayer. Join us at 6:00 p.m. in the New Brick Sanctuary as we contemplate the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in a way that makes us realize the immense love He has for each one of us, a love that is capable of suffering and death in order to free us from our sins.
Wednesday, April 5th
7:00 p.m. in New Brick
As Jesus draws ever closer to the events of Good Friday, the church readies itself by reading the service of Tenebrae, taken from the monastic tradition. In this Wednesday evening service, 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 hidden for a moment, as Christ was laid in the tomb. Then, as a loud noise resembling that of the earthquake is heard, the light is returned to its stand. In silence, and by the light of only that single candle, the congregation exits.
Thursday, April 6th
5:00 p.m. Seder meal in New Brick
7:00 p.m. Eucharist in New Brick, with foot-washing and stripping of Altar
9:00 p.m. Vigil in Old Brick
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 for one hour?”
Friday, April 7th
12:00 noon and 7:00 p.m. Veneration of the Cross and Eucharist in New Brick
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 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 on the cross. The evening service is slightly longer, as we also receive communion from the Sacrament Reserved. Church tradition prohibits the celebration of the Eucharist on this day.
Easter Vigil and Eucharist, Lighting of the New Fire, and Baptisms
Saturday, April 8th
7:00 p.m. in New Brick
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 lit & 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 on the priesthood of all believers and then we celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter. The darkness is now full light!
Christ Church will also host a Baptism on this day. Families who are interested in having children baptized at this service are invited to email us.
Sunday, April 9th
8:00 a.m., in Old Brick
9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. with music and choir in New Brick
We have now reached Easter Day – a day of joy, celebration, and the gift of life to God’s people.
There are three services, and you are welcome to be with us at 8:00, 9:00, and 11:00 a.m.
At the 9:00 and 11:00 services, a full choir and procession with all of the rituals appointed for the day 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.
The Meaning of
Historically, Lent is a 40-day period of Christ-centered devotion between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.
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.
Services and Gatherings
Below are some of the services and gatherings that will be held at Christ Church during this 2023 Lenten season. More information can be found in our Sunday service leaflets, our weekly Christ Church Gatherings email, and other documents located in the Narthex of New Brick.
You are always welcome at Christ Church,
and we hope that you will join us often.
Daily Lenten Meditations
Every weekday between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday
The 2023 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 this year, Be an Instrument of God's Peace. Be sure to check back each weekday, as daily meditations will be posted here on our website and our social media pages throughout the Lenten season. Printed copies of our LMB are also available in the church's Narthex beginning on February 19th.
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
February 21st @ 6:30 p.m. in New Brick Lower Level
The incredible youth of Christ Church will once again host our annual Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras Pancake Supper on February 21st! Join us in the Great Hall of New Brick for this traditional start to the Lenten season. Serving begins at 6:30 p.m. so please sign up here so we know how many people we need to prepare for. Seating will be available until approximately 7:30 p.m. We'll also have a live steel band performing! Tickets for this event are $15. for an individual and $25. for a family, and you can pay using cash at the door, or by using our online giving form (choose “Shrove Tuesday Dinner” in the FUND dropdown menu). Tickets are also available if you come to church on Sunday; just speak with Yetti Lipede. This event is also your final opportunity of 2023 to view and purchase the beautiful handiwork of African Team Ministries, one-of-a-kind pieces created by very talented artisans.
Ashes to Go at 6:00 am.
7:00 a.m. & 12 noon in Old Brick
7:00 p.m. in New Brick
Ash Wednesday reminds us of our mortality and of what we are made of. To get our thoughts and ourselves ready and prepared for Lent, Christ Church offers worship with the Imposition of Ashes on Wednesday, February 22nd at 7:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon in Old Brick, and 7:00 p.m. in the New Brick Sanctuary. We‘ll also livestream the 7:00 p.m. service on our website, YouTube, and Facebook pages.
And this year, Ashes to Go returns to Christ Church - an opportunity for those working commuters, students, and early risers to stop by and receive Ashes as they start their day. We will offer a short prayer and administer them to those who cannot be with us in worship that morning, but who desire the Ashes nonetheless. Simply look for the Ashes to Go banner in the main driveway, and stop by beginning at 6 a.m.
Lenten Reflection Day
February 25th @ 8:30 a.m. in Old Brick
The first Saturday in Lent will set the stage for this year's Lenten Reflection Day, beginning in Old Brick at 8:30 a.m. This year, we are very blessed to have Christ Church's Seminarian Intern, Mike Looney, lead us in prayer and meditation on our 2023 theme, Be an Instrument of God’s Peace. Following a casual breakfast and the morning's program will be an informal Eucharist, and this retreat takes place in Old Brick. We hope that you'll find time to join us for this special gathering, a meditative start to the Lenten season.
Sunday Mornings at Christ Church
8:00 a.m. in Old Brick
Family Worship at 9:00 a.m. in New Brick
Holy Eucharist with Music and Choir at 10:30 a.m. in New Brick
Throughout Lent, Christ Church's Sunday morning schedule remains the same as always, with three worship services and lots of formation and fellowship gatherings for all ages. You can learn more about the entire schedule on our website's Sunday Mornings at Christ Church page, and can receive more details each week in our Christ Church Gatherings email.
Adult Forum: Sunday Circle
Sunday mornings during Lent, in Old Brick from 9:30-10:15 a.m.
Lent is a period where we prepare ourselves with prayer, fasting, repentance, spiritual discipline, and self-denial. During the 2023 season of Lent, Sunday Circle will explore other faith traditions' perspectives on sin. We will have lead practitioners of various faiths come and talk with us about how sin is perceived and understood in their respective faith tradition:
March 5: Jewish
March 12: Hindu
March 19: Islam
March 26: Quaker
We also have Bible Study and other Adult Formation gatherings every Sunday morning. You can learn more about those here. We invite everyone to join us for this insightful four-part series.
Weekday Morning and Evening Prayer
Monday - Friday mornings at 7:00 a.m.
Friday evenings at 7:00 p.m.
A wide range of dedicated and extraordinary Christ Church parishioners continue to host Morning Prayer worship throughout the season of Lent. You can join us every weekday morning, and also on Friday evenings. This brief service livestream helps to re-center us as we begin and conclude our days.
Monday evenings at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom
Each Monday evening on Zoom, Christ Church provides Centering Prayer. This is a unique prayer method based on the intuitive prayer rooted in Lectio Divina, a generally silent worship that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer in which we experience the Divine’s immanent presence with us. Centering Prayer is grounded in our relationship with God, through Christ, and is a practice to help nurture that relationship. If you'd like to join us virtually, you'll find the Zoom details in our weekly emails or Sunday bulletin, or you can contact us and we'll email them to you. We hope that you will come and be a part of this gathering of reflection.
Wednesday Evening Lenten Supper Series
Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of New Brick
One of the most cherished traditions at Christ Church during the season of Lent is the Wednesday Evening Lenten Supper Series, one of the most enriching Lenten experiences of the season. We are always thankful to the members of the Spiritual Life Commission, who work so hard to put this event together. This series offers five weeks of insightful and life-transforming seminars on our theme for this year, Be an Instrument of God's Peace - taken from St. Francis of Assisi's beautiful prayer.
The clergy presenters for this year are:
March 1: Bishop Robert Ihloff - Assisting Bishop, Diocese of Maryland
March 8: Jane O’Leary - Deacon, St. John’s Episcopal, Havre de Grace
March 15: Kristin Krantz - Rector, St James’ Mt Airy, and Director of the College for Congregational Development
March 22: Monique Ellison - Priest-in-Charge at St. Matthias Episcopal and Church of the Messiah in Baltimore, and Chaplain to the Bishop Search Committee
March 29: Emmanuel Mercer - Rector, Christ Episcopal Church in Columbia
We begin the evening at 6:30 p.m. with a communal supper in the Great Hall - each week, a different ministry will provide the potluck meal - followed by our guest presenter. The evening then concludes with a brief, informal Eucharist.
Lenten Healing Eucharist
Thursdays at 12:00 noon in Old Brick
Beginning March 2nd and continuing for the remaining Thursdays during Lent, Christ Church offers a midday Healing Eucharist in Old Brick. This service includes readings, prayers, a litany for healing, and the Holy Eucharist. Parishioners and non-parishioners are all welcome to join in a prayerful time in the presence of God, and to share in the wonderful mystery of God’s love whilst we seek healing for ourselves and our loved ones. Please come in to reflect, pray, and participate in a service held in our beautiful, historic chapel.
Taizé Worship Services
with the Rev. Marcia Davenport
Friday evenings during Lent at 6:00 p.m. in Old Brick
Beginning on Friday, February 24th, Christ Church offers a series of Taizé worship services including chants, prayers, Scripture, intercessory prayer, and silence. Mother Marcia, a long-time supporter of Taizé worship, leads this unique service. This form of worship, based on the practice of the Taizé community in France, offers a time of quiet reflection and intentional worship, drawing closer to the presence of God in Christ Jesus.
The founder of the Taizé community, Brother Roger, explains: "What we usually call 'worship' the Taizé community simply calls 'Prayer'. Taizé Prayer consists of short chants that are repeated again and again, giving them a meditative quality. Using just a few words, they express a basic reality of faith, and these are quickly grasped by the mind. As the words are sung over many times, this reality gradually penetrates the whole being. Meditative singing thus becomes a way of listening to God."
February 24: Trust in God
March 3: The Joy of Returning to God
March 10: Thirsting for God
March 17: Simplicity
March 24: The Friendship of Christ
Join us for this wonderful, rejuvenating gathering that is held every Friday during Lent.
Every Sunday during Lent at 6:00 p.m. in the New Brick Sanctuary
Jazz Vespers is a unique service, a liturgy of Evening Prayer that combines scripture readings, prayer, silent meditation, and rich, live music provided by The Leister Quartet. Christ Church is offering this special service during this Lenten season with the hope of offering different opportunities for prayer, music, and reflection. There will be light refreshments after each worship, and all ages are welcome. Please join us Sundays at 6:00 p.m. for an evening of music, reflection, and prayer.