Holy Eucharist at 10:00 am
As a day of national significance, Thanksgiving Day is one of the days on the calendar of the church other than Sundays that are designated for special observance. Agricultural festivals are of great antiquity, and common to many religions. Among the Jews, the three pilgrimage feasts, Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, each had agricultural significance. Medieval Christianity also developed a number of such observances, none of which, however, were incorporated into the Book of Common Prayer. Our own Thanksgiving Day finds its roots in observances begun by European colonists in Massachusetts and Virginia, a tradition later taken up and extended to the whole of the new American nation by action of the Continental Congress, the formal means by which the American colonial governments coordinated their resistance to British rule during the first two years of the American Revolution. On October 3, 1789, U.S. President George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789 as an official holiday of “sincere and humble thanks.” The nation then celebrated its first Thanksgiving under its new Constitution. On Thanksgiving Day, we gather to thank God for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them, and to ask that we may be faithful stewards of God’s great bounty, providing for our own necessities and the relief of all who are in need.
ALL THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED
During Morning Prayer | 9:00 am
The day after All Saints Day is set aside to remember all those who have died. At Morning Prayer there is a time set aside to remember and pray for all those who have died. Parishioners are invited to submit names to be read during the liturgy.
Children’s Liturgy & Holy Eucharist at 4:00 pm | Nursery Available
Holy Eucharist at 5:30 pm (Nursery Available) and 9:00 pm
Christmas (Cristes maesse in old English) is the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. On December 24, we commemorate the Incarnation of the Word of God in the birth of Jesus Christ. Today’s Christmas customs have developed from various sources. In ancient Rome, the festival of Saturnalia began on December 17 and included the decoration of houses with greenery and the giving of gifts to children and the needy. Fires, lights, and evergreens (symbols of warmth, life, and survival) were traditionally associated with both pagan and Christian festivals. The oldest extant notice of a feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ occurs in a Roman almanac, the Philocalian Calendar, which indicates that the festival was observed by the church in Rome by the year 336 A.D. The observance date of December 25 was probably chosen to oppose the feast Natalis Solis Invicti, the birthday of the “Unconquerable Sun God” (Saturn), which occurred on the winter solstice to celebrate the birth of “the Sun of Righteousness.” The Christmas season lasts twelve days, from Christmas Day until January 5, the day before the Epiphany, which celebrates the coming of the Magi, the three wise men from the East who paid homage to the infant Jesus.
Holy Eucharist at 6:30 am, 12:00 pm & 7:00 pm | Nursery Available 7:00 pm
Ash Wednesday is the day of fasting, penitence, almsgiving, prayer and study that marks the beginning of Lent, the season of preparation for Easter. On Ash Wednesday, the celebrant makes the sign of the cross in ashes on the foreheads of the faithful. The ashes come from the burning of palms from the previous Palm Sunday. The practice has its roots in the Hebrew Bible in which sackcloth and ashes are a sign of mourning and repentance. In the early church, public sinners who had been excommunicated from the church began a forty-day period of penitential discipline on this day so that they could be readmitted to communion on Easter Day. This custom is at the root of congregational Lenten observance today. In the early Middle Ages, the period of European history from about 500 A.D. to about 1500 A.D., as Lent developed and its observance became more elaborate in the West, the ceremonial distribution of ashes to the faithful was observed on the fortieth day before Easter to begin this penitential season. Thus that fortieth day has become known as Ash Wednesday, when we remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return.
Congregational Procession & Holy Eucharist at 8:30 am and 10:30 am
One week before Easter, Palm Sunday begins the ritual activity of Holy Week. The name Palm Sunday derives from the commemoration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and his acclamation by the townspeople with waving palms branches and a chant of praise. Based on a practice begun in Jerusalem in the fourth century, the day is observed with a blessing of palms and a triumphal procession of the entire congregation around the church, followed by a reading of the gospel narrative of Jesus’ suffering and death and a Eucharist that is penitential in tone. On Palm Sunday, we pray: 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.
Maundy Thursday Liturgy at 12:00 pm
Maundy Thursday Liturgy and Stripping of the Altar at 7:00 pm | Nursery Available
Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter. On Maundy Thursday, we commemorate the institution of the Eucharist. “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,” Saint Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). The fourth-century pilgrim Egeria describes elaborate celebrations and observances in Jerusalem on Maundy Thursday. By the seventh-century, the Eucharist on the evening Maundy Thursday was also accompanied by the ritual action of foot-washing. The name Maundy Thursday comes from the Latin mandatum novum, which means “new commandment,” as found in the Gospel according to John, in which Jesus says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (John 13:34). During the Middle Ages, the presiding bishop, abbot, or priest would wash people’s feet in imitation of Christ’s humble service to his disciples at the Last Supper (John 13:3-20). In Western churches, since the Middle Ages, the evening service on Maundy Thursday has been the last celebration of the Eucharist before that of the Great Vigil of Easter. Following the evening service, the altar is stripped and all decorative furnishings are removed from the church in preparation for Good Friday.
Good Friday Liturgy at 12:00 pm | Nursery Available
The Friday before Easter Day is known as Good Friday in the Christian tradition. The observance of the Friday before Easter as a commemoration of the Crucifixion was first practiced in Jerusalem in the fourth century. Prior to the fourth century, Easter was a united celebration of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. The united celebration included the entire saving event of Christ’s dying and rising again. Thus, the Crucifixion and Resurrection were celebrated as a single event of victory over sin and death. In the fourth century, the observance of Good Friday spread throughout the Christian East and then to the West, creating separate Good Friday and Easter celebrations. The Good Friday Liturgy of the Word is the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. The Liturgy of the Word is followed by the Veneration of the Cross, a ceremony brought home to pilgrims from Jerusalem, where, as the fourth-century pilgrim Egeria reported, the true cross was displayed faithful to venerate at what was believed to be the actual site of the Crucifixion. The service concludes with our petitioning the Lord Jesus Christ to give mercy and grace to the living, pardon and rest to the dead, peace and concord to the Church, and to us sinners everlasting life and glory.
THE GREAT VIGIL OF EASTER
Easter Vigil at 7:00 pm
The Easter Vigil is the most ancient, beautiful, and important worship service of the Christian Faith. Like the Resurrection of Christ, which it celebrates, the Easter Vigil begins in the darkness of the night of Holy Saturday. A new fire is kindled outside and from it the great Paschal Candle and then our own candles are lit. The Paschal Candle’s composition of wax (earth), a papyrus wick (earth), and fire is symbolic of the whole of creation. Jesus tells us in the Gospel according to Luke, “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them” (Luke 12:35-37). So we await our Master’s return with our lamps full and burning. The great hymn of praise and blessing The Exsultet is sung, the sweeping story of salvation history is recounted through scripture, psalm, canticle, and prayer, and the Resurrection of Christ is proclaimed loudly with the ringing of bells. Then follows the year’s principal rites of Eucharist and Baptism. In the early church, Easter was the primary baptismal occasion, a practice which connected the meanings of Christ’s dying and rising to the understanding of Baptism. The Renewal of Baptismal Vows during the Great Vigil of Easter gives us the opportunity to reaffirm our renunciation of evil and renew our commitment to Jesus Christ.
Holy Eucharist at 9:00 am and 10:30 am in the Sanctuary | Children’s Eucharist at 9:00 am in the Parish Hall, followed by an Egg Hunt | Nursery Available
The Easter Triduum begins with the Holy Eucharist on Maundy Thursday, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with the Holy Eucharist on Easter Sunday, when Christian’s celebrate the annual feast of Christ’s resurrection and the eighth day of cosmic creation. The Anglo-Saxon theologian, historian, and chronologist Saint Bede the Venerable (672/673 A.D -735 A.D.) describes the conversion to Christianity of the Anglo-Saxon tribes in his “Ecclesiastical History of the English People.” According to Bede, the word Easter derives from the Anglo-Saxon spring goddess Eostre. Christians in England applied the word to the principal festival of the church year. Faith in Jesus’ resurrection on the Sunday or third day following his crucifixion is at the heart of Christian belief. Easter sets the experience of springtime next to the ancient stories of deliverance and the proclamation of the risen Christ. In the West, Easter occurs on the first Sunday after the full moon on or after the vernal equinox. Thus, Easter always falls between March 22 and April 25 inclusive. The exchange of decorated eggs became popular on Easter Sunday as the egg was both a pagan symbol of spring, the season between winter and summer when plants and trees begin to grow, and a Christian symbol of the new life of the Resurrection.
Service | 11:00 am
Forty days after Easter our Lord Jesus ascended to His Father in heaven. The Holy Feast Day is celebrated in our sanctuary at 11:00 am. This is in place of the regular Bible Study Eucharist in the parish hall on Thursday.