9 – 16 April 2017
St. Paul’s Church, Halifax
An Invitation to join in the Music & Drama of
Palm Sunday to Easter 2017
‘Holy Week’ is described in both the Book of Common Prayer and the Book of Alternative Services, though the roots of this week are much deeper and its practice more contemporary. It has been the most important week in our Christian Calendar for most of the history of the Christian Church. It was also called the ‘Great Week’, the ‘Week of the Holy Passion’ and the ‘Week of Forgiveness’ in early years. In the earliest years the church kept every Sunday as a day of the Resurrection with worship centred round the ‘Lord’s Table’ (see Mark 16.1-8, I Corinthians 11.17-26; 14.26; 16.2). Later, the church added a special celebration of the day of the Resurrection (‘Easter’) annually around the time of the Jewish Passover, when Christ arose from the dead. Then a whole preceding week, with a special spiritual focus, was developed. It began with Christ’s entry into Jerusalem (‘Palm Sunday’) and included special worship on ‘Maundy Thursday’, ‘Good Friday’, and ‘Holy Saturday,’ to help Christians walk with Jesus Christ. The further we have travelled from the historical days of Jesus, the more necessary this week has become to refresh our faith.
The spiritual focus of our pilgrimage through this week is best summed up in a few of St. Paul’s many words on the connection between Christ’s life and our own: ‘If we have been united with Christ in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his’ (I Corinthians 6.5). Many parishioners will assist us with their wonderful gifts in our pilgrimage through Holy Week. We hope as many parishioners as possible will join us, with guests, for each of these ‘combined services’ of worship!
Palm & Passion Sunday
9 April 2017, 10:00 a.m. Eucharist & Palm Procession with Children’s Art Activities during the homily; 11:30 a.m. Parish Lunch. We will celebrate Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem and remember his coming passion. Weather permitting, we will take our Hosanna! praises into the Grand Parade. A parish lunch will follow.
10 April 2017, 7:30 p.m. Lenten Carols. This is a free concert of contemporary music created and performed by the 2016 St. Paul’s Scholar, Mark Flowerdew.
12 April 2017, 11:00-11:30 a.m. Eucharist. All invited.
13 April 2017, 6:00 p.m. Eucharist & Foot Washing with a 7:15 shared supper to follow (it will be provided, though contributions can be given to help cover its cost). We will celebrate Christ’s great act of ‘servanthood’ and remember the ‘first Christian Passover’ (Holy Communion or Eucharist). This whole-family celebration will have two special features. The first is a simple foot-washing in which all present will be invited to participate. And the liturgy will end in a brief silence, while the table is ‘stripped’ so we can understand the departure of joy at Christ’s betrayal—but not the disappearance of divine love. We will enjoy fellowship at the informal dinner immediately after.
14 April 2017, 12:00-2:00 p.m. Liturgy of the Cross. We will commemorate Christ’s death for us on the cross. This is a ‘Service of the Word’ based on hearing the Scriptures. We will pray and sing as we mourn our Saviour, and begin to hope for the resurrection within the enduring love of God. Various members of the congregation will offer meditations on the Scriptures that they have prepared. We shall begin our service at noon, the hour of the crucifixion. It will end by about 2.00 p.m. or a little later. There will be no children’s programme.
Holy Saturday ~ Easter Sunday
15 April 2017, 7:00-8:30 p.m. Scripture, Prayer, Song, Poetry and Light. We will ‘keep watch’ in the ‘sure and certain hope’ of Christ’s resurrection. Long ago, the Vigil began late Saturday and then very early on Sunday moved into the first Easter Eucharist. But many parishes, like ours, separate these two. An Easter Candle will be lit in the darkness of the Vigil, and then the worshippers’ candles will be lit to mark our prayers. The ancient Christian song of salvation, the complete Exultet and other songs, will be sung. Scriptures and poems describing God’s love throughout history will be shared.
16 April 2017, 10:00-11:30 a.m. Eucharist with Baptism and a Children’s Programme in Parish House. Having walked with Christ in his trials, suffering and death we will now celebrate his glorious resurrection with all the arts of our hands and voices and instruments! It is the most joyful day of the Christian year, and a day when the parish draws together to sing its praises to our Saviour. In the midst of the Eucharist we will renew our baptismal vows. And we will sing and say many times: ‘Alleluia! The Lord is risen … He is risen indeed! Alleluia.’ This will be an all-ages celebration.