Today is Maundy Thursday, the beginning of the Triuduum – that’s the Latin name for the three days that stretch from now until the Great Vigil on Easter Eve. This is truly the holiest time of the year, and the constellation of events around which the entire rest of the Christian year moves. During these three days we move with Jesus from the Last Supper, to his arrest and trial, his Crucifixion, death and burial. Then on Easter we celebrate his Resurrection and triumph over death, looking forward to our own new life.
I hope and pray that wherever you are this year, you will know the blessing of God’s strong love for, and the power of life over death!
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Maundy Thursday – April 5
Seder Supper, 6:00 pm in the Parish Hall: A pot-luck meal with the traditional Jewish Seder elements that tells the story of the Passover and Exodus – for all ages. Please bring a main dish, salad/side dish or dessert. This is an event for the whole family, so please come – even if you are free at the last minute!.
Holy Eucharist and Stripping of the Altar, 7:30 pm: This is the service that marks Jesus’ Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist. It is a time when all Christians worldwide of any denomination gather to remember what took place in the Upper Room. At the end of the service we strip the altar of all linens, candles and hangings to symbolize the starkness of Good Friday.
Prayer Watch, 8:30 pm - Midnight: following the Maundy Thursday service you are invited to keep watch with Jesus. We set up a small altar with the Reserved Sacrament in front of the baptismal font (an altar of repose), with plants and flowers to represent the Garden of Gethsemane. The watch is kept until midnight, when we pray a short form of the Good Friday Morning Prayer and receive Communion from the Reserved Sacrament. We ask individuals to sign up for 30 minute time slots. While several people can keep watch at a time, we hope that all the time slots will be covered. This is offered as a time of personal reflection and meditation.
Good Friday – April 6
Stations of the Cross, 12 Noon: an interactive, inter-generational simple service for all ages. As we move around the Church to mark each of the stops on Jesus’ journey to the Cross there are things to see, touch, say, sing and hear. The service will be assisted by members of our Confirmation Class and any Middle Schoolers who would like to help.
Good Friday Liturgy, 7:30 pm: We gather in the starkness and simplicity of the Church, as at the foot of the Cross, to reflect on Jesus’ death and sacrifice for us. There are prayers, Scripture readings and hymns. Dr. Jody will sing the beautiful Gregorian chant hymn that is an adoration of the Cross (“Now my tongue the mystery telling”) and our friend and guest organist Shea Velloso will play an organ meditation. Good Friday is always a difficult and uncomfortable day, but if we are present to it, our Easter celebrations will be much more powerful and joyful.
Holy Saturday – April 7
Kid’s Service, Easter Egg Hunt and Ribbon Decorating, 10 am: Our annual Easter Egg Hunt for younger children will take place on April 7 after the brief Kid’s Holy Saturday Service at 10 am. We need some parents/grandparents to hide eggs and provide some refreshments. Please respond via e-mail if you can help. A new feature this year (suggested by our Visual Arts Ministry) – kids in grade 5-8 are asked to come and help make ribbon streamers to decorate our parking lot for Easter! See you Saturday morning – and bring a basket!
Easter Vigil, 7:30 pm: This is the first celebration of Easter, a wonderful and beautiful service that moves us from darkness to light, from death to resurrection! We start in the Memorial Garden with the lighting of the New Fire, followed by a candlelight procession into the Church, readings, hymns and anthems that trace the history of our salvation, we renew our baptismal vows and celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter. As the lights come up we see the beauty of the newly decorated Church and altar. When you come, please bring a bell to ring at the Easter Acclamation! We will be blessed to have Shea Velloso as our guest organist for this service. There will be refreshments in the Narthex following the service.
Easter Sunday @ 8 and 10 am: Hymns, flowers, choirs, Resurrection, Eucharist and joy at both services! Easter is the most important day in our lives as Christians. Invite someone to Church to share it with you.
Kids’ Lenten Mite Boxes should be returned at any of the Easter services. The monies collected will be passed on to Episcopal Relief and Development to supply medicine to babies and their mothers in needy parts of the world. All children will be given a small flowering plant on Easter.
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Children’s Eucharist Instruction Class for kids in Grades 1 or 2 will meet on April 16, 23 and 30 (Mondays) at 4 pm with Mother Vicki in the Rath House. Parents who want their kids to participate in learning more about our central act of worship and the sacrament of Communion should e-mail the parish office.
Green Faith to Host Residential Solar Screening Event for the Wider Community @ All Saints’ on April 29, 12:30-3:30 pm – Interested in learning about how you might be able to have solar power installed at your house (at no cost to you), save money and benefit the Church at the same time? Green Faith, in partnership with Google and AP Solar, will conduct a Solar Screening Event here. There is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex if you would like you book a time slot, but you can also just walk in on the day. We’ll have more information available soon, put the date on your calendar now, and let your neighbors know that this might both interest and benefit them.
Argyle’s Fish and Chips – Save the Date: Thursday, May 3! 5:30 – 7:00 pm, $15 for adults, $8 for kids, eat in or take out. We’ll need help with selling tickets, setting up, desserts, drinks, serving, etc. There is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex. Tell your friends and bring your neighbors for a good time with the greater Long Hill township community.
Women’s Book Group- The book for this month is The Dream by Harry Bernstein. We’ll be meeting to discuss this on Wednesday, April 18 at 7:30 pm in the Rath House.
Stewardship – In seeking the meaning of the resurrection experience, we discover the richest resources of our stewardship – the restoration of all life to the Lord. ~ The Rev. Dan Bollman, Lutheran pastor.
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Defining – Maundy Thursday
Maundy comes from
mandatum – a commandment
new delivered now by strong
and ready hands, ready to
gird and wash and wipe
both feet and lives
to show us all that
love takes lowliness
to heart and kneels most
readily, an art which also
brings those hands to breaking,
pouring, mending, being pierced
and molding, crafting endlessness
from tombs, grave wrappings,
guards and deadly fear.
~J. Barrie Shepherd