If “red,” some services will be held outside, and live-streaming will continue. It is our goal to have as much in-person worship as possible during Holy Week and Easter while keeping everyone safe. Call the Parish if you are unsure of the status or location of a particular service.
PALM SUNDAY, MARCH 28
8:45 AM | CHurch (IN-PERSON)
11 AM | CHURCH (IN-PERSON & LIVESTREAM)
The Liturgy for the Sunday of the Passion, or Palm Sunday, kicks off Holy Week. The service is about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem as King of kings and Lord of lords. The crowds go wild!
Their Messiah has arrived. Yet Jesus knows that the Messiah they laud is the one they will turn on and kill. His Lordship is not about ruling the world; it is about caring for the eternal human soul.
The euphoria of Palm Sunday leaves us feeling good. That is the point of the spiritual exercise of Holy Week; we must start high, so we can go low, and then ascend even higher. It is a pattern of spiritual transformation. It all begins on the top of the Mount of Olives with Jesus on a donkey, heading down into Jerusalem.
Both services begin with the Liturgy of the Palms. You are welcome to bring a branch you’ve clipped from your yard or use one that we will provide to hold during the Liturgy of the Palms. The 8:45 service will take place entirely inside the church while the 11:00 service will begin in the Essex Town Park with an outdoor procession down Main Street.
Bible Study, MARCH 29
10:30 AM | Parish hall (IN-PERSON)
6:30 pM | Zoom
Set aside time to join this weekly opportunity for an in-depth look at the Bible. This Bible study is a journey into the cycle of Sunday readings, looking at the appointed readings for the coming week.
Holy Wednesday, MARCH 31
10 AM | Zoom
Set aside time to join this weekly opportunity for worship via zoom as we pray Morning prayer together.
Maundy thursday liturgy, April 1
7 PM | In-person and youtube
Reading of the Gospel of Mark *Directly following the liturgy
This service recalls the Last Supper of Jesus on the night of his betrayal. It focuses on two major themes: Holy Hospitality and the Institution of the Eucharist.
Holy Hospitality: The Foot-Washing
Coming from the Latin Mandatum Novum, or “New Commandment,” maundy refers to the commandment Jesus gave to his disciples: “Love one another as I have loved you.” At this service, Christ’s commandment is usually enacted by the Foot-Washing. While we are not able to do this ritual in the service, due to COVID restrictions, we encourage you to take part in this beautiful ritual in your home with your family.
The Institution of the Eucharist
The service continues with the Eucharist. In the sharing of the bread and wine, Jesus asked that whenever they partook of bread and wine, they would do this in remembrance of him. While we understand this practice today in terms of the Holy Eucharist, this thanksgiving and remembrance of Jesus is something that we are asked to do whenever we share a meal together. During this service, we will observe a spiritual communion.
The Stripping of the Altar
The service concludes with the stripping of the altar as an act of preparation for Good Friday. One way to deepen our understanding of the symbolism of this moment is to meditate on the following verse from Psalm 22: “They divide my garments among them; they cast lots for my clothing.”
Reading of the Gospel according to Mark
The Gospels were originally an oral tradition and hearing them read out loud is a powerful spiritual experience. Join us following the 7pm service to read the Gospel of Mark from start to finish. We’ll take turns reading out loud, or you can just listen. Feel free to drop in for as long or as briefly as you like or join us for the whole time. This event will also be live streamed on YouTube.
Agape meal at home and zoom, April 1
5:30 PM | Zoom
While the Maundy Thursday meal has sometimes been linked to a traditional Passover meal, it should be noted that, in the Gospel of John, this meal is said to have taken place before the Festival of the Passover and thus is not necessarily linked to it. What this meal is unquestionably linked to is Jesus’ self-sacrificing love and his call to us to love one another with the same charity and unconditional love that he modeled for us. This form of love is referred to with the Greek word, agape, which also came to refer to the early Christian feasts. This year we invite you to join with others in your household or pod and create an Agape meal in your home. This meal is a simple meatless meal of soup, bread, cheese, olives, and fruit.
Watchnight, April 1-2
10 PM – 9 am | Church and Youtube
During the night on Thursday, a watch is kept before the consecrated bread on the Altar of Repose in the Church. The consecrated bread is felt to be the real presence of Christ, and so we keep vigil with Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane on the last night before he is handed over to be crucified. The tradition comes from the question Jesus asked his disciples, Peter, James, and John, who kept falling asleep as Jesus prayed in agony awaiting his arrest: “Can’t you keep watch with me even one hour?” So, we keep watch, praying through the night.
Please contact Allison Fresher stating when you will be attending. Masks must be worn and social distancing maintained at all times.
Intergenerational: Stations of the Cross, April 2
10 AM | Outdoors (IN-PERSON)
Travel together the path Jesus took to the cross. We will read and pray the stations outside (socially distancing and weather permitting). If the weather deters the interactive outdoor excursion, we will meet on zoom. To receive access to the zoom information, please contact Becky Honan.
sacrament of reconciliation (Confession), April 2
By appointment | Church or zoom
Individual confession, with a priest as representative of God, is available in the Episcopal Church. Such sacramental confessions are private and utterly confidential. This sacrament is a healing way to end the Lenten season for any who wish to be restored to God because their relationship with God has been broken by sin. Please schedule an appointment either in person or on Zoom by sending an email to Rev. Kate Wesch.
For those unfamiliar with the service, the rite may be found beginning at page 447 in The Book of Common Prayer.
Good friday liturgy, April 2
7PM | Church and youtube
This Liturgy marks Christ’s crucifixion, but it is not a funeral. Instead, the focus is on extolling the glory of the Cross, through which all creation has been redeemed.
The Church is bare and the ministers enter in silence. The Liturgy of the Word concludes with the reading of the Passion according to John. The sermon and the Solemn Collects follow. In praying these, we pray on behalf of the entire world, for which Christ died. After the Solemn Collects, a wooden cross is brought in by a priest and positioned at the front of the Nave. Time is allowed for worshipers to come forward and venerate the cross by standing or kneeling before it. Worshipers may also remain in their pews, kneeling. Please maintain social distancing.
The Great Easter Vigil, April 3
7 PM | CHurch and Youtube (IN-PERSON)
Elaborate and dramatic, this service utilizes all the senses as we recount salvation history and revel in the saving power of God’s great mercy in four scenes. There will be incense at this service.
Scene One: The New Fire
The service begins outside in the Essex Town Park (across the street from the church) shortly after the sun has set. A fire is kindled and the new Paschal Candle is lit from this fire. Candles held by the congregation are lit. The procession moves into the darkened church behind the Paschal Candle. An ancient hymn, the Exsultet, is sung by the deacon.
Scene Two: Salvation History
Several Old Testament lessons are now read. The account of the Israelites’ crossing of the Red Sea is given particular attention, since this event is at the center of the Jewish Passover. Christians believe that Christ, in his death and resurrection, symbolizes the Passover Lamb. Each reading is followed by a hymn and a collect relating what has been read in the Old Testament to the Mystery of Christ.
Scene Three: Baptisms and the Renewal of Baptismal Vows
Since the earliest days of the church, Easter Eve has always been a time set aside for baptisms, in which, by God’s grace, we baptize people into a new life of Christ. Even when there are no baptisms, we remember our own initiation into the body of Christ through water and the Holy Spirit as we recite the Baptismal Covenant and say the prayers read at our own baptism.
Scene Four: Resurrection
After the baptism and/or the renewal of baptismal vows, the Presider calls out “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” Then the lights come on, song erupts, and bells are rung with great fanfare!
You are encouraged to bring your own bells from home and join in the ruckus! Cow bells, sleigh bells, hand bells, Christmas bells. Any bell will do!
The service then continues with the first festive Eucharist of Easter which will be available to all who feel comfortable receiving. This communion will be bread only due to COVID restrictions.
The sunday of resurrection, April 4
6 aM | Easter sunrise | the river museum
For those attending this early sunrise service of communion on the river, please bring your own chairs and masks. (Weather permitting).
8:45 aM | Easter service | In-person
11 AM | Easter service | in-person and youtube
Holy Week concludes with the greatest feast of the Christian year, the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. With unbridled festivity, we pull out all the stops in our liturgy and music (as much as we can, given current restrictions)
10 aM | Easter egg hunt | essex town park
An outdoor socially distanced Easter egg hunt in the Town Park across the church.