The Journey of Holy Week – HOLY SATURDAY

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On this day the Church continues to mourn the death and burial of Christ and to commemorate the mystery. In this holy time of rest and waiting, the Eucharist is not celebrated nor is Communion received. Saturday is our day of spiritual preparation, pointing the way to a new focus. In the Eastern Christian tradition, this is the time for gathering and blessing of the Easter foods to be shared with friends and family at the Easter feast.

THE GREAT VIGIL OF EASTER

At the heart of the Christian faith stands the Risen Lord, without whom, St. Paul declares, our faith is in vain. And at the heart of Christian worship of the Risen Lord, since the earliest centuries of the Church, is the Great Vigil of Easter. There is nothing more central to our life as members of Christ’s Body, the Church, than this service. It links us across time and space to our earliest brothers and sisters in Christ.

This ancient service, with its roots in the first century, combines diverse elements. The first is the elemental symbol of the New Fire, from which the Paschal (Passover) Candle, symbolizing Christ as the Light of the world, is lit through the darkness. As through the wilderness the people of Israel were guided by a pillar of fire by night, so the Paschal Candle leads us through the dark church building, and from it we light our vigil candles. The Exultet, our song of rejoicing in “this holy night” and remembering the central events of the history of God’s people, is sung to awaken our hearts. The Lessons are reminiscent of the ancient Jewish Passover Vigil, commemorating the liberation of the Hebrews from slavery, foreshadowing our own liberation through the passing from death to life in Christ Jesus. God’s mighty acts to save his people throughout human history are recounted, and we respond with songs of praise. In the ancient Church the baptismal initiation of candidates at the Great Vigil came at the end of a rigorous training period, intensifying during Lent.

We then extinguish the candles and wait in the darkness, symbolically joining Christ in the tomb and marking the death of the church year. We hear a deep pounding on the door of the sanctuary – Christ calling us to welcome him into our hearts and new life in Christ! A torch bears the new light for the renewed year in the church, the altar candles and sanctuary lights are lit. We joyfully “make a loud noise” with hand bells, sleigh bells, keys, whatever you have that makes a joyful sound as the glad proclamation is raised “Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore, let us keep the feast! Alleluia!” We celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter, from which our gathering around the altar of grace each Sunday is derived.

Come join your community of faith family as we remember this day of silence until … until … ALLELUIA returns and Resurrection happens! On Holy Saturday, join us at 10:00 a.m. for prayer & preparations for the Easter celebration with the Flower Guild & Altar Guild – many hands make work light & joyful! The Great Vigil of Easter, the FIRST celebration of the Easter feast will begin at 7:00 p.m. Come and see!

Walk with Jesus on the Way of the Cross.

Walk with Jesus who loves you to death into new life beyond.

Walk with Jesus …

The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.

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The Collect for Holy Saturday

O God, Creator of heaven and earth:  Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Collect for the Great Vigil of Easter

O God, who made this most holy night to shine with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection: Stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in sincerity and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Holy Week and Easter 2016 Schedule – UPDATE

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Sunday, March 20: Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

8:00 a.m.      Liturgy of the Palms, Reading of the Passion, Holy Eucharist I

10:30 a.m.      Liturgy of the Palms, Reading of the Passion, Holy Eucharist II

5:30 p.m.      Liturgy of the Palms, Reading of the Passion, Inclusive Language Liturgy & Holy Eucharist

 

Monday, March 21 through Thursday, March 24

Evening Prayer at 5:15 p.m.

 

Maundy Thursday, March 24

6:00 p.m.      Soup and Bread Supper in the Great Hall (CANCELLED)

7:30 p.m.      Maundy Thursday Liturgy, Foot Washing, Holy Eucharist II and Stripping of the Altar, followed by Nightwatch hours in prayer at the Altar of Repose

10:00 p.m.      10:00 p.m. Compline

 

Good Friday, March 25

8:00 a.m.      Morning Prayer

12:00 noon      Good Friday Liturgy with Sermon and Solemn Collects

7:00 p.m.      The Way of the Cross – Praying the Stations of the Cross

 

Holy Saturday, March 26

7:00 p.m.      The Great Vigil of Easter – Festal Celebration of Holy Eucharist with incense

 

Easter Day, March 27

8:00 a.m.      Holy Eucharist

10:30 a.m.      Festal Holy Eucharist with Choir

5:30 p.m.      NO SERVICE on Easter Day

You’re invited! Help decorate St.Thomas’s for Easter

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Dear Church Family,
Please support the Flower Guild on Saturday, March 26 at 10am and help decorate our church for the joyous celebration of Easter.If you can wrap foil around a flower pot, sweep, lend a hand, or lift a watercan, we would love to spend a couple of hours with you. We should be able to finish by noon or so and of course, the more, the merrier! 
No need to RSVP, simple show up at 10am and thank you in advance!
The Flower Guild

Easter Day Coffee Hour

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Dear St. Thomas Family,

We have a few people who have generously offered to bring food for the Easter Day coffee hour after the 10:30 service, but we are still in need of a couple of hosts or a family to host coffee hour. Again, it looks like we will have food, so the host(s) simply need to be able to help set up and clean up afterwards (although you are welcome to bring food also if you would like) . The Easter egg hunt will start shortly after the service ends, so many of the children and parents will likely be occupied with that, therefore clean up may be light.

If you are able and willing to host, please let me know.

The coffee hour hosting schedule through May is now posted on the clipboard at the entrance to the kitchen and on the beverage table each Sunday during coffee hour . Please consider hosting at least one Sunday when your schedule permits. It is a great way to help support our hospitality ministry and get to know your fellow parishioners. If you have not ever hosted, I will be happy to help you learn the ropes.

Peace,
Keith Fleming
kbffromsd@aol.com

The Journey of Holy Week

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The services of Holy Week are individual parts of a single great service in which we remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This foundational event of the Christian faith is the Paschal Mystery. Just as the ancient Passover (Pesach in Hebrew, Pasch in Latin) commemorates the deliverance from slavery and the Covenant established between God and the chosen people of Israel, the Passover of God’s New Covenant celebrates the deliverance of all humankind from the power of sin and death, into the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. Early in our Christian history, the liturgical observance known as the Triduum (Trih-duh-oom, Latin for “three days”), comprising the arrest, trial, execution and burial of Jesus, and his resurrection “on the third day,” came to being. The services of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and the Great Vigil of Easter, together with Palm Sunday, focus on aspects of the Paschal Mystery. None of the services is complete in itself. It is only by entering fully into the commemoration of the Paschal Mystery through the experience of Holy Week worship that its meaning can be truly understood and richly experienced.

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THE SUNDAY OF THE PASSION: PALM SUNDAY

Our walk with Christ begins with a festive Procession of Palms recalling his walk from Bethany into Jerusalem. This is not a historic re-creation of an event long past; we are disciples proclaiming Jesus’ saving presence today. When we wave our palms and sing “Hosanna,” we claim our own belief in his presence and power.

The second part of the Liturgy includes a reading known as “The Passion,” the account of our Lord’s suffering and death. This is the only Sunday of the year that the story of our Lord’s death is read. The gospel account is from Matthew, Mark, or Luke, according to our three-year lectionary cycle. From the joy of the triumphal procession, to the intensity of The Passion Gospel reading, this service generates many emotions. This range of feelings will be experienced again and again in the course of the week.

In my homily for this Passion Sunday, I invited all to prepare a simple bowl, filled with water. Much as the First Station of the Way of the Cross, may we wash our hands, not as Pilate to remove any part of Jesus from our life, but to be cleansed in the eternal Love that heals always, and love us to death into life eternal. I have attached the image of the bowl of water from our Interactive Stations of the Cross at St. Thomas’s, along with a copy of my homily for your meditation and reflection.

Collect for Passion Sunday

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Fr. Paul Gennett

Lenten/Easter activities at St. Thomas’s

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Hello Everyone,

Blessings to you as we prepare to begin Holy Week!

I wanted to mention a few activities you and your children are invited to engage in in the coming week.

1) Tomorrow, March 20, is Palm Sunday. Regular Sunday School and CREW youth group meetings will occur at their regular times…with the following additions:.

At 10:30, the children join the rest of the congregation for the Procession of Palms then return downstairs for the rest of their children’s worship time.

After lunch and a meeting, CREW youth will leave at 1:30 for an afternoon skating trip. Permission slips are required for the trip to Christiana Skating Center and can be obtained from one of the youth leaders or me via email or in person on Sunday.

2) Thursday, March 24, is Maundy Thursday. That evening there will be service at St. Thomas which will include the act of footwashing by and for those who choose to participate. This service is a moving one which is an important part of the Holy Week Journey. It is a good one to take older children to who are ready to delve deeper into their faith.

3) On Good Friday there are three services which may be of interest:

Our regular noon Good Friday service.
The Walk to Easter program at St. David’s for younger children (You can get more information abut the St. David’s event from their website or from me on Sunday)

The evening Stations of the Cross Service at St. Thomas .At the evening service, participants will walk the journey through the stations together while scripture and psalms/songs are read or sung.

4) The Great Vigil is on Saturday.This is definitely one of my favorite services. It is an evening service and fairly long for families but it has many things to recommend it…..lots of people participating, our whole history portrayed through scripture, music and drama, light, darkness, renewal of our baptismal vows, asperges, and finally, celebration. If you are able, I highly recommend attending! Bring bells!!!

5) And last but not least, Easter Sunday service. What can I say, beautiful, celebratory…Easter goodies…and an egg hunt for children after the 10:30 service.

Please plan to bring a “basket” and at least 10 filled eggs for each child who will be hunting. We will have collection bins for the eggs stationed outside the sanctuary on Easter Sunday.

We are also seeking someone to host coffee hour on Easter; this would involve setting up and cleaning up afterward. The duties could be shared by more than one person.

I pray that I will see you at one or a few of these events. But most of all, I pray that you are all well.

Peace be with you,
Belinda Young-Payne

Holy Week and Easter 2016 Schedule

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Sunday, March 20: Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

    8:00 a.m.      Liturgy of the Palms, Reading of the Passion, Holy Eucharist I

   10:30 a.m.      Liturgy of the Palms, Reading of the Passion, Holy Eucharist II

    5:30 p.m.      Liturgy of the Palms, Reading of the Passion, Inclusive Language Liturgy & Holy Eucharist

 

Monday, March 21 through Thursday, March 24

Evening Prayer at 5:15 p.m.

 

Maundy Thursday, March 24

    6:00 p.m.      Soup and Bread Supper in the Great Hall

    7:30 p.m.      Maundy Thursday Liturgy, Foot Washing, Holy Eucharist II and Stripping of the Altar, followed by Nightwatch hours in prayer at the Altar of Repose 

   10:00 p.m.      10:00 p.m. Compline

 

Good Friday, March 25

    8:00 a.m.      Morning Prayer

   12:00 noon      Good Friday Liturgy with Sermon and Solemn Collects

    7:00 p.m.      The Way of the Cross – Praying the Stations of the Cross

 

Holy Saturday, March 26

    7:00 p.m.      The Great Vigil of Easter – Festal Celebration of Holy Eucharist with incense

 

Easter Day, March 27

    8:00 a.m.      Holy Eucharist

   10:30 a.m.      Festal Holy Eucharist with Choir & Brass

    5:30 p.m.      NO SERVICE on Easter Day

Mystery to Majesty – Worship for Holy Week to Easter Day

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The journey with our Lord Jesus Christ from Passion Sunday through the Day of the Resurrection is the unfolding story of our Christian faith as the family of God to this day. You are invited to attend all or as many of these important worship experiences as you are able.

  • Sunday, March 20: Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday
  • Liturgy of the Palms & Holy Eucharist at 8:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m.
  • Inclusive Language Liturgy & Holy Eucharist at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 21 through Thursday, March 24
  • Evening Prayer at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, March 24: Maundy Thursday
  • Soup & Bread Supper at 6:00 p.m. in the Great Hall
  • Holy Eucharist with Foot washing at 7:30 p.m., followed by Stripping of the Altar
  • Vigil in the Chapel of Repose until the Good Friday Liturgy
  • Compline at 10:00 p.m. Friday, March 25: Good Friday
  • Morning Prayer at 8:00 a.m.
  • Good Friday Liturgy with sermon at 12:00 noon
  • Stations of the Cross at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 26: Holy Saturday
  • The Great Vigil of Easter – Holy Eucharist with incense at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, March 27: Day of the Resurrection – Easter Day
  • Festal Celebration of Holy Eucharist at 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • NO 5:30 p.m. service on Easter Day