Ash Wednesday and Our forty day journey with Jesus

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Ash Wednesday — Our forty day journey with Jesus to the Cross and his Resurrection begins with “… 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.” The mark that begins our Lenten journey is that of the ashes of last year’s palms from Palm Sunday. Services for the Imposition of Ashes & Holy Eucharist at St. Thomas’s will be held on March 1 at 7:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. in the Church. In between service times, Fr. Paul and Lay Eucharistic Visitors will make as many home visits as possible of those requested to our shut-in’s. If you desire a home visit for the Imposition of Ashes and Holy Communion on Ash Wednesday, please call or email Cami Seward at the church office [368-4644; camiseward@gmail.com] between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. by Monday, February 27. May you join us in a deeper walk of faith in this the most holy season of the Church year.

Lent Madness 2017

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And now for something completely different! As a fundraiser for Episcopal Relief & Development’s Nets for Life, St. Thomas’s is offering participation in a modified version of Lent Madness. For the small sum of $5, you can complete a bracket form and be in the running for a prize if you get all entries correct. We’re even considering allowing a second submission after the first round (for an additional fee and only if you participate in the first round). We’re hoping that this will be a great way to raise some money for a good cause and learn about some of the Saints in our windows and those we pray for each day. Sister Jackie Fossler will be distributing the bracket forms on the next two Sundays and at the Shrove Tuesday supper.

See more information below from the Lent Madness website:

Lent MadnessFor the eighth year running, people of faith are gearing up for Lent Madness, the “saintly smackdown” in which thirty-two saints do battle to win the coveted Golden Halo during the season of Lent. With its unique blend of competition, learning, and humor, Lent Madness allows participants to be inspired by the ways in which God has worked through the lives of saintly souls across generations and cultures.

Based loosely on the NCAA basketball tournament, this online devotion pits saints against one another in a bracket as voters choose their favorites throughout the penitential season of Lent. This year’s competition begins on “Ash Thursday,” March 2.

Here’s how to participate: on the weekdays of Lent, information is posted at www.lentmadness.org about two different saints. Each pairing remains open for 24 hours as participants read about and then vote to determine which saint moves on to the next round. Sixteen saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Faithful Four; two to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo.

The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as we offer quotes and quirks, explore legends, and even move into the area of saintly kitsch.

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.

The Journey of Holy Week – GOOD FRIDAY

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“In all things God works for good to those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” [Romans 8:28] Only in this sense can this day be called “good.” We walk with Christ to Calvary and his crucifixion, reflecting on the extent of God’s love for us. In the evening, the Liturgy Guild leads us in prayerful remembrance of the Good Friday events through The Stations of the Cross. As a sign of mourning, and in accordance with earliest tradition, there is no celebration of the Eucharist on Good Friday.

This Holy Week, I invite you to take a bowl in your home, fill it with water, and place it in a spot you pass by every day. Each day of Holy Week, make a sacred moment to be with Jesus by washing your hands with him in you. Wash your hands knowing the sacred love of Jesus for you, in you, and through you. Wash your hands not in dismissal or guilt, but in the cleansing power of repentance in all that this most sacred week of our life of faith is meant to be.

Come join your community of faith family as we remember this day of Jesus’ crucifixion and death as we pray the Good Friday Solemn Collects with Sermon at 12 noon, and walk the Way of the Cross at 7:00 p.m.

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 Good Friday

Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and 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

The Journey of Holy Week – MAUNDY THURSDAY

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On Maundy Thursday, we commemorate the institution of the Lord’s Supper. The Epistle reading for this service gives St. Paul’s account of the institution of the Eucharist. We experience the Gospel account of Jesus’ washing his disciples’ feet, acting out his own call and of those who would follow him, “not to be served, but to serve.” He gave a new commandment to all: “Love one another as I have loved you.” “Maundy” is the old English word derived from the Latin phrase mandatum novum, meaning “new covenant.” The Eucharist is about our table fellowship – God present with us, and we present to each other. Following the Eucharist, the sanctuary is stripped of all ornaments and furnishings, symbolically expressing Jesus’ utter abandonment by all. We are invited to stay with Jesus “for just one hour” through the night watch vigil until noon on Good Friday.

This Holy Week, I invite you to take a bowl in your home, fill it with water, and place it in a spot you pass by every day. Each day of Holy Week, make a sacred moment to be with Jesus by washing your hands with him in you. Wash your hands knowing the sacred love of Jesus for you, in you, and through you. Wash your hands not in dismissal or guilt, but in the cleansing power of repentance in all that this most sacred week of our life of faith is meant to be.

Come join your community of faith family as we remember this night at 7:30 p.m. in worship, service, and abandonment of Jesus with Footwashing, Eucharist, and stripping of the church into barren darkness.

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 Maundy Thursday

Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Our Journey in Holy Week: Monday through Wednesday

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MONDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY

These are days to read and reflect upon the Scriptures appointed which are listed on page 892 in the Book of Common Prayer, or online at http://www.lectionarypage.net/. The Collects or prayers for Monday through Wednesday are included below. Consider the way Jesus took to the cross, and what it means for us to follow him in that way. Each evening at 5:15 p.m., the Daily Office of Evening Prayer is read in the Sanctuary, which is done every Monday through Friday throughout the year.

This Holy Week, I invite you to take a bowl in your home, fill it with water, and place it in a spot you pass by every day. Each day of Holy Week, make a sacred moment to be with Jesus by washing your hands with him in you. Wash your hands knowing the sacred love of Jesus for you, in you, and through you. Wash your hands not in dismissal or guilt, but in the cleansing power of repentance in all that this most sacred week of our life of faith is meant to be.

Walk with Jesus on the Way of the Cross.

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

Walk with Jesus …

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Monday in Holy Week

Almighty God, whose dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other that the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday in Holy Week

O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Wednesday in Holy Week

Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sermon for The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

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“So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.”

My journey of Lent this year, seeking to “lengthen” my faith by cleaning yet again this littered soul home, I have walked our stations in The Way of the Cross many times. Following the process and progression, fourteen places taking me deeper and deeper into the agony of Christ, yet higher into the redeeming love that loves us even to death. When finished, I always was drawn to return to the First Station. In that ritual movement, that still holds part in our life to this day, Pontius Pilate ritually washes away responsibility for this whole sordid, unjust moment of time. Today, we still wash our hands of the whole mess when we feel we can no longer deal with a situation, and perhaps simply do not want to any longer.

See Father Paul’s Sermon for The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday in its entirety.

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

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