As we travel through Lent towards Holy Week and the Easter season, we wanted to share with you briefly about the special services and ceremonies that we are looking forward to observing together as a community of Christ, and we welcome you and your family, friends, and neighbors to join us here at Grace. All of our services will be held here at Grace in person and online via Zoom. Contact us if you would like to be added to our email list for our service invitations and Zoom links.
On Sunday, April 2, our Palm Sunday service will begin outside the church at 9:30 a.m. with the Liturgy of the Palms, including prayers, the reading of the Palm Sunday lesson and the blessing of the palm branches, which are then distributed to the congregation for the procession into the church as we sing “All Glory, Laud, and Honor.” The Palm Sunday service is like a snapshot of Holy Week, with a focus on the Last Supper and crucifixion of Christ. For the Gospel reading, the St. Matthew Passion will be read dramatically with parts for 10 readers and the congregation.
On Thursday night, April 6, the Triduum begins with the Maundy Thursday service at 7:00 p.m. Services on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are counted as one service, so there is no dismissal at the end of the Maundy Thursday mass. This service follows the events of the night before Jesus’ betrayal and death, in which he instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. This service includes a ceremonial foot-washing (at Grace this is practiced as hand-washing by Father Tom offered to all present), followed by the Holy Eucharist, then the Stripping of the Altar. The remaining elements of the Body and Blood are processed out to rest in the corner of the narthex in front of the kneeler there, to represent Christ going out to the Garden of Gethsemane. You may depart in silence. There will be a prayer vigil, known as the Night Watch, held there in front of the sacrament, immediately following this service and continuing through until 1 am on Friday morning.
On Good Friday, April 7, at 7:00 p.m., we will have what is known as The Mass of the Pre-Sanctified. The service, continuing within the Triduum, begins and ends in silence. The St. John Passion will be read between three readers and the congregation. After the sermon, we pray the Solemn Collects, then a wooden cross is brought into the church and placed in front of the people where they may come up for devotions before the cross while three anthems are read. Then the bread and wine consecrated at the Maundy Thursday service will be brought back into the church to the altar for communion.
On Holy Saturday, April 8, the Triduum is completed with the Easter Vigil. At 5:00 p.m., we will meet at Grace for the Lighting of the Paschal Candle. This will be a brief liturgy here, but all are invited to attend the full Easter Vigil at Trinity Episcopal Church, 611 W. Berry Street, at 8:00 p.m.
Our Easter Sunday service on April 9 begins at 9:30 a.m. We come into church for a full and joyful celebration of the Holy Eucharist surrounded by flowers, music, and Alleluias. As the Paschal Candle burns at the front of the church, we celebrate the Paschal mystery through which we have been buried with Christ and raised to newness of life with the renewal of our baptismal vows.
On the Second Sunday of Easter, April 16, at 9:30 a.m., Bishop Douglas Sparks will be here for his annual bishop’s visitation. We will be celebrating with our members who are being confirmed or received on that day, and the service is followed by a luncheon downstairs. Please come and join us for this special event in the life of the church!