Additional Ideas for Holy Week at Home

A list of ways to engage in Holy Week, even while we are “staying at home.” The ideas on this page are adapted from a resource from the team at St. Thomas church in Whitemarsh, PA.

Maundy Thursday

  • Bake a loaf of bread.
  • Wash the feet of someone.
  • Make a phone call or write a letter to someone to tell them they are loved.
  • Wash your kitchen table as a way to model the stripping of the altar.
  • Gather all your plants into one place to remind you of the Garden of Gethsemane.
  • Set your alarm to wake in the night “to watch and pray”.

Good Friday

  • Clear off all the surfaces of your home – counters, dressers, tables.
  • Place a cross on your bare table.
  • Consider fasting. Let each rumble of your stomach be a call to prayer.
  • Consider fasting today from the things that distract you – news, technology, activities, needless words.
  • Make your “confession” to someone.

Holy Saturday

  • Take a nature walk. Notice all the things that are waiting to “come alive”.
  • Use your social media accounts to invite people to worship with you online tomorrow at 10:30 AM.

Easter Sunday

  • Consider still having Easter “family dinner” via videoconference (Zoom, Google, Facetime etc.) 
  • Look up the meaning of the word “Alleluia”.
  • Give thanks for three things that “give you life”.

Maundy Thursday Agape Meal

The Agape Meal (Love Feast) is an ancient tradition, dating back to the early church. Before church was formalized, before the Eucharist became the ceremony we know today, early Christians would gather around their dining tables. They would read scripture, tell stories, and pray. This Maundy Thursday, you are invited into this tradition. At 5pm on Maundy Thursday, we will post a reflection from the Rector, introducing the tradition and the story of Maundy Thursday.


Choose and prepare together a “special” meal; perhaps a favorite recipe or a special dish you normally reserve only for holidays.

Set the table as you would when welcoming a special guest to dinner.

Have a Bible with you to read the story of Jesus’ last supper.

Candles are ceremonially lit at the beginning of the meal. Be prepared with unlit candles and lighter.

Be prepared to clear your table completely at the conclusion of the service.


A brief silence is kept, perhaps standing around the table. The candles are lighted.

Blessed be our God.

For ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, gave freely of himself

to his beloved in the washing of feet and in instituting the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that as we gather in our households we may remember these great gifts of love by Jesus Christ our Lord, and follow his great command to love one another as he eternally loves us all; who has given himself for the whole world, and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

All are seated for the meal.

Holy God, draw us into worship with a spirit of humility. Let us gather with open hearts prepared to love, even to the point of breaking, as we seek to receive this story with our whole selves. In drawing closer to Christ and his crucified love, may we draw closer to you and your beloved world. Amen.

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe.

You have blessed the earth to bring forth food to satisfy our hunger. Let this food strengthen

us in the fast that is before us, that following our Savior in the way of the cross, we may come to the joy of his resurrection. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, now and for ever. Amen.

You may be seated for the meal.

Read the Gospel of John Chapter 13.

As you eat: 

Take the opportunity to contemplate/share why this night is special. 

Some ideas: tell the story of the Exodus; tell the story of Jesus washing his friend’s feet. Remember the name of someone you wish were at the table with you tonight. If you feel comfortable, share why. 

Take the opportunity to contemplate/share what it looks like to serve others in a time when physical distancing is in place. Washing someone’s feet isn’t just service, it is about mutual vulnerability.  What does it look like to be vulnerable to someone else at this time? How could you choose to be vulnerable to show love?

Consider: Jesus invited his friends to experience bread and wine in a new way. 

How has Communion fed you? Do you remember any particular service of communion? Remembering Jesus’ last supper, we see bread and wine in a new way: is God inviting you to see or experience anything else life in a new way?

At the end of the meal 

Pray some (or all) of the following prayers:

United with Christians around the globe on this Maundy Thursday, let us pray for the church, the earth, our troubled world, and all in need, responding to each petition with the words Your mercy is great.

Blessed are you, holy God, for the church. Gather all the baptized around your presence in the Word. Strengthen the body of your people even when we cannot assemble for worship. Give our bishops and all our clergy faithfulness and creativity for their ministry in this time, and accompany those preparing for baptism.

Hear us, holy God.

Your mercy is great

Blessed are you, bountiful God, for this good earth and for the flowering of springtime. Save dry lands from destructive droughts. Protect the waters from pollution. Allow in this time the planting of fields for food. Make us into care-givers of your plants and animals.

Hear us, bountiful God.

Your mercy is great

Blessed are you, faithful God, for you accompany suffering humanity with love. Abide wherever the coronavirus has struck. Visit all who mourn their dead; all who have contracted the virus; those who are quarantined or stranded away from home; those who have lost their employment; those who fear the present and the future. Support physicians, nurses, and home health aides; medical researchers; and the World Health Organization.

Hear us, faithful God.

Your mercy is great

Blessed are you, gracious God, for you care for the needy. We beg you to feed the hungry, protect the refugee, embrace the distressed, house the homeless, nurse the sick, and comfort the dying. Especially we pray for those we name before you now, either silently or aloud…

Hear us, gracious God.

Your mercy is great

Blessed are you, eternal God, for all who have died in the faith, and those whom we name before you now…

At the end, bring us with them into your everlasting glory.

Your mercy is great

Receive, merciful God, our prayers, for the sake of Jesus Christ, the host of our meal of life, who died and rose that we might live with you, now and forever. Amen.

Following the Psalm, you might collect up the dishes in silence and take them to the kitchen. Wash the dishes (maybe even by hand). When the table is clear and all the dishes are washed and put away, extinguish the candles in silence.

Consider: At the end of the meal, Jesus washed the feet of his friends. 

If you live with other folks, consider washing one another’s feet after the meal.

Holy Week from Home

This year, we will not be able to gather together in our church building to mark Holy Week. 

Holy Communion will offer online worship and meditations. These will be accessible on our website, and on our Facebook page.

The packet was mailed to homes that requested it. There are additional copies available for pickup on the westernmost stairs at Holy Communion.

On Maundy Thursday at 5pm, we’ll offer a simple meditation and introduction to the agape meal. (Check back on Monday for a downloadable guide to the agape meal).

On Good Friday from 12pm-3pm there will be a three hour online service. (on our homepage and on Facebook). Every clergy member will offer a brief meditation on part of the passion, and there will be music and prayers. Click here for the Good Friday bulletin.

On Easter Morning at 10:30am we will have a service broadcast live from our homes, available on the website and on Facebook. We invite you to dress your Easter best, if you’d like. If you have an Easter Bonnet, wear it! At Virtual Coffee hour, we’ll show off our hats! Click here for the Easter bulletin.

You will find digital bulletins for all of the services on this site. We are also preparing a downloadable and printable packet, for marking Holy Week at home.

Good Friday: April 10, 2020

Gather at the “sacred space.” Candles may be lit. A favorite cross is placed in the sacred space. Dried branches or twigs may be used to make a cross as well.

The Service broadcast begins at 12:00pm. You are encouraged to pray along with us, saying aloud the words in bold. You are also invited to sing along.

The ministers and congregation begin in silence. The presider then says:

Blessed be our God.
For ever and ever. Amen.

Blessed Savior, in these hours you hung upon the cross, stretching out your loving arms: Grant that all the peoples of the earth may look to you and be saved; for your tender mercies’ sake. Amen.

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.

Psalm 22:1-11

The psalm is chanted in Plainsong

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,
and are so far from my cry and from the words of my distress?

O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer;
by night as well, but I find no rest.

Yet you are the Holy One,
enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

Our forebears put their trust in you;
they trusted, and you delivered them.

They cried out to you and were delivered;
they trusted in you and were not put to shame.

But as for me, I am a worm, and less than human,
scorned by all and despised by the people.

All who see me laugh me to scorn;
they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying,

“You trusted in God for deliverance;
let God rescue you, if God delights in you.”

Yet you, O God, are the one who took me out of the womb
and kept me safe upon my mother’s breast.

I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born;
you were my God when I was still in my mother’s womb.

Be not far from me, for trouble is near,
there is none to help.

There will be silence between each section. An image of a cross will be shown, and the time of the next reading and meditation noted.

12:20pm Betrayal in the Garden

Reading: John 18:1-9

Read by Alisa Williams

A Reading from the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

After he said these things, Jesus went out with his disciples and crossed over to the other side of the Kidron Valley. He and his disciples entered a garden there. Judas, his betrayer, also knew the place because Jesus often gathered there with his disciples. Judas brought a company of soldiers and some guards from the chief priests and Pharisees. They came there carrying lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus knew everything that was to happen to him, so he went out and asked, “Who are you looking for?” They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I Am.” (Judas, his betrayer, was standing with them.) When he said, “I Am,” they shrank back and fell to the ground. He asked them again, “Who are you looking for?” They said, “Jesus the Nazarene.” Jesus answered, “I told you, ‘I Am.’ If you are looking for me, then let these people go.” This was so that the word he had spoken might be fulfilled: “I didn’t lose anyone of those whom you gave me.”

Meditation: The Rev. Laurie Anzilotti

Musical Reflection:

“Run to You” by Pentatonix (sung by the Holy Communion Choir)

12:40pm Peter Draws a Sword

Reading: John 18:10-14

A Reading from the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

Read by Ellis Anderson

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus told Peter, “Put your sword away! Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given me?” Then the company of soldiers, the commander, and the guards from the Jewish leaders took Jesus into custody. They bound him and led him first to Annas. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. (Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it was better for one person to die for the people.)They said, “Jesus the Nazarene.” Jesus answered, “I told you, ‘I Am.’ If you are looking for me, then let these people go.” This was so that the word he had spoken might be fulfilled: “I didn’t lose anyone of those whom you gave me.”

Meditation: The Rev. Marc Smith

Musical Reflection:

“Simple Gifts” (trad. American folk tune) Played by Audrey Fiorello

1:00pm Peter Denies Jesus

Reading: John 18:15-27

Read by the Rev. Marc Smith

A Reading from the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Because this other disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard. However, Peter stood outside near the gate. Then the other disciple (the one known to the high priest) came out and spoke to the woman stationed at the gate, and she brought Peter in. The servant woman stationed at the gate asked Peter, “Aren’t you one of this man’s disciples?”

“I’m not,” he replied. The servants and the guards had made a fire because it was cold. They were standing around it, warming themselves. Peter joined them there, standing by the fire and warming himself.

Meanwhile, the chief priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, “I’ve spoken openly to the world. I’ve always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews gather. I’ve said nothing in private. Why ask me? Ask those who heard what I told them. They know what I said.”

After Jesus spoke, one of the guards standing there slapped Jesus in the face. “Is that how you would answer the high priest?” he asked. Jesus replied, “If I speak wrongly, testify about what was wrong. But if I speak correctly, why do you strike me?” Then Annas sent him, bound, to Caiaphas the high priest. Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing with the guards, warming himself. They asked, “Aren’t you one of his disciples?”

Peter denied it, saying, “I’m not.” A servant of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said to him, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?” Peter denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.

Meditation: The Rev. Beth Scriven

Musical Reflection:

“If Ye Love Me” Thomas Tallis sung by the Holy Communion choir

1:20pm Jesus before Pilate

Reading: John 18:28-19:16

Read by Peter Tchoukaleff

A Reading from the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

The Jewish leaders led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Roman governor’s palace. It was early in the morning. So that they could eat the Passover, the Jewish leaders wouldn’t enter the palace; entering the palace would have made them ritually impure. So Pilate went out to them and asked, “What charge do you bring against this man?” They answered, “If he had done nothing wrong, we wouldn’t have handed him over to you.” Pilate responded, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your Law.”

The Jewish leaders replied, “The Law doesn’t allow us to kill anyone.” (This was so that Jesus’ word might be fulfilled when he indicated how he was going to die.) Pilate went back into the palace. He summoned Jesus and asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others spoken to you about me?”

Pilate responded, “I’m not a Jew, am I? Your nation and its chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus replied, “My kingdom doesn’t originate from this world. If it did, my guards would fight so that I wouldn’t have been arrested by the Jewish leaders. My kingdom isn’t from here.” “So you are a king?” Pilate said. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. I was born and came into the world for this reason: to testify to the truth. Whoever accepts the truth listens to my voice.”

“What is truth?” Pilate asked. After Pilate said this, he returned to the Jewish leaders and said, “I find no grounds for any charge against him. You have a custom that I release one prisoner for you at Passover. Do you want me to release for you the king of the Jews?”

They shouted, “Not this man! Give us Barabbas!” (Barabbas was an outlaw.) Then Pilate had Jesus taken and whipped. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple robe. Over and over they went up to him and said, “Greetings, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face. Pilate came out of the palace again and said to the Jewish leaders, “Look! I’m bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no grounds for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here’s the man.”

When the chief priests and their deputies saw him, they shouted out, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate told them, “You take him and crucify him. I don’t find any grounds for a charge against him.” The Jewish leaders replied, “We have a Law, and according to this Law he ought to die because he made himself out to be God’s Son.” When Pilate heard this word, he was even more afraid. He went back into the residence and spoke to Jesus, “Where are you from?” Jesus didn’t answer. So Pilate said, “You won’t speak to me? Don’t you know that I have authority to release you and also to crucify you?”

Jesus replied, “You would have no authority over me if it had not been given to you from above. That’s why the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” From that moment on, Pilate wanted to release Jesus. However, the Jewish leaders cried out, saying, “If you release this man, you aren’t a friend of the emperor! Anyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes the emperor!”

When Pilate heard these words, he led Jesus out and seated him on the judge’s bench at the place called Stone Pavement (in Aramaic, Gabbatha). It was about noon on the Preparation Day for the Passover. Pilate said to the Jewish leaders, “Here’s your king.” The Jewish leaders cried out, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

Pilate responded, “What? Do you want me to crucify your king?” “We have no king except the emperor,” the chief priests answered. Then Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified. The soldiers took Jesus prisoner.

Meditation: The Rev. Chester Hines

Musical Reflection:

Lamb of God by Twila Tharp
Played by Andrew Wasson

1:40pm Golgotha

Reading: John 19:17-27

A Reading from the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

Read by Shirley Mensah

Carrying his cross by himself, he went out to a place called Skull Place (in Aramaic, Golgotha). That’s where they crucified him—and two others with him, one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a public notice written and posted on the cross. It read “Jesus the Nazarene, the king of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city and it was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. Therefore, the Jewish chief priests complained to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The king of the Jews’ but ‘This man said, “I am the king of the Jews.”’”

Pilate answered, “What I’ve written, I’ve written.”

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and his sandals, and divided them into four shares, one for each soldier. His shirt was seamless, woven as one piece from the top to the bottom. They said to each other, “Let’s not tear it. Let’s cast lots to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill the scripture,

They divided my clothes among themselves,
    and they cast lots for my clothing.
        That’s what the soldiers did.

Jesus’ mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood near the cross. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Blessed be our God.
For ever and ever. Amen

Meditation: The Rev. Mary Haggerty

Musical Reflection:

Sonata No. 6/2 by J.S. Bach
Played by Jae Park

2:00pm Jesus Dies

Reading: John 19:28-37

A Reading from the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John
Read by the Rector

After this, knowing that everything was already completed, in order to fulfill the scripture, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was nearby, so the soldiers soaked a sponge in it, placed it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, “It is completed.” Bowing his head, he gave up his life.

It was the Preparation Day and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies to remain on the cross on the Sabbath, especially since that Sabbath was an important day. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of those crucified broken and the bodies taken down. Therefore, the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men who were crucified with Jesus. When they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead so they didn’t break his legs. However, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. The one who saw this has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he speaks the truth, and he has testified so that you also can believe. These things happened to fulfill the scripture, They won’t break any of his bones. And another scripture says, They will look at him whom they have pierced.

Blessed be our God.
For ever and ever. Amen.

Meditation: The Rev. Deon Johnson (bishop-elect)

Musical Reflection:

Arioso by J.S. Bach
Played by Alex Roesler and Stephanie Polster

2:20pm Joseph Buries Jesus

Reading: John 19:38-42

A Reading from the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

Read by Fran Caradonna

After this Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate if he could take away the body of Jesus. Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one because he feared the Jewish authorities. Pilate gave him permission, so he came and took the body away. Nicodemus, the one who at first had come to Jesus at night, was there too. He brought a mixture of myrrh and aloe, nearly seventy-five pounds in all. Following Jewish burial customs, they took Jesus’ body and wrapped it, with the spices, in linen cloths. There was a garden in the place where Jesus was crucified, and in the garden was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish Preparation Day and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus in it.

Blessed be our God.
For ever and ever. Amen.

Meditation: the Rev. Mike Angell

Musical Reflection:

“Were you There when they Crucified my Lord?” arr. J. Purifoy
sung by the Holy Communion choir

2:40pm The Solemn Collects and Veneration

Dear People of God: Our loving God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. So let us bring the needs of the whole world to the foot of the cross of Christ. 

I ask you to pray for the Church of God throughout the world, that God, the almighty, eternal One, will guide it,
For unity in witness and service
For all bishops and other ministers and the people they serve,
especially Justin, Archbishop of Canterbury;
Michael, our Presiding Bishop; George Wayne, our bishop; and Deon
our bishop-elect.
For all people preparing for baptism and confirmation 

That God will confirm the Church in faith, increase it in love, and preserve it in peace, strengthening us to bear witness to God’s love not just for humankind but for the whole of God’s Creation. 

Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Holy God, from whom comes every good and perfect gift: Send down upon your Church the Spirit of your grace, that we may truly please and serve you, and, remembering the account that we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your bounty, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

I ask you to pray for all people in their vocation and ministry, and especially for the leaders of the nations
For the President of the United States
For the Congress and the Supreme Court
For delegates to the United Nations
For our governor and our mayor
For those who work to protect and preserve the vitality of life on our planet
For all who serve the common good

That by God’s help they may seek justice and truth, and that all life may co-exist in peace and concord, 

Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Holy God, kindle in all hearts the true love of peace and a deep desire for justice; guide with your wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth and for the care of Creation. Help us to encounter Christ in all we meet so that the earth may be filled with the knowledge of your love. Amen.

I ask you to pray for all who suffer and are afflicted in body, mind, or spirit;
For the hungry and homeless
For the sick, wounded, and dying
For those in loneliness, fear or anguish
For those who face temptation, addiction, doubt, or despair
For those who mourn
For prisoners and captives, and those living in places of danger
For all life harmed or broken 

That God in mercy will comfort and console them, granting them knowledge of God’s love, and that God will inspire in us the will and patience to minister to their needs, to cherish the sacredness of all Creation, and to dismantle systems and practices that threaten and exploit life. 

Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of all who suffer: Let the cry of those in misery and need come to you, that they may find your mercy present with them in all their afflictions; and give us, we pray, the strength to serve them for the sake of the one who suffered for us, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

I ask you to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, for Palestinian Christians and Muslims and all who share this sacred city. 

Lord in you mercy
Hear our prayer.

Holy God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and Sarah. Bless the people you first made your own; keep them and all who are descended from Abraham, Sarah and Hagar in the love of your Name, and in faithfulness to your covenant. Amen.

I ask you to pray for all who have no faith, living lives without any sense of holiness or divine presence;
For those who have never heard words of hope or salvation
For those who have lost their faith or whose faith has lost depth and become routine
For those hardened by sin or indifference
For the contemptuous and the scornful
For those who are enemies of the faithful
For those who in the Name of God have persecuted others 

That God will open their hearts to truth and love, and lead them to faith and obedience.  

Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Holy God, you created humanity in your image: draw all people to yourself, that they may acknowledge you as the maker and redeemer of all; let your Gospel be preached with grace and power to those who have not heard it, that all people may know of your saving grace. Amen.

Let us commit ourselves to our God, and pray for the grace of a holy life, that, with all who have departed this world and have died in the peace of Christ, and with those whose faith is known to God alone, we may be accounted worthy to enter into the fullness of the joy of our Lord, and receive the crown of life in the day of resurrection. 

Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: look favorably upon your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down were raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A wooden cross is brought before the congregation.

Hymn: Sing My Tongue the Glorious Battle

(Pange Lingua) Hymnal 166

The Service ends in silence.

Palm Sunday: April 5 2020

As you prepare for this Sunday, gather a branch from a tree or bush to have with you to be blessed.

Please join us in singing and praying. The congregation is invited to join the responses in bold.


Preludes begin at about 10:15. The service will begin at 10:30am


The rector

Welcome to our first “at home” live worship. During the opening hymn, feel free to wave your branches, even to take them to various rooms around your house to shout or say “Hosanna!”

Opening Hymn

Hymnal 1982 # 154 All Glory Laud and Honor

All Glory Laud and Honor Hymn

Opening Dialogue:

The rector. The congregation speaks aloud the words in bold.

Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.

Let us pray:
Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our
salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation
of those mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and
immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gospel for the Palm Procession Matthew 21:1-11

Read by Deacon Chester Hines.

A reading from the Gospel according to Matthew

When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task. He said to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter, you will find a donkey tied up and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that their master needs them.” He sent them off right away. Now this happened to fulfill what the prophet said, Say to Daughter Zion,Look, your king is coming to you, humble and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the donkey’s offspring.” The disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them.

Now a large crowd spread their clothes on the road. Others cut palm branches off the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds in front of him and behind him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!Hosanna in the highest!” And when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. “Who is this?” they asked. The crowds answered, “It’s the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Blessing of the Palms:

Led by the rector.

The Lord be with you.
And Also with you.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is right to praise you, Almighty God, for the acts of love by
which you have redeemed us through Jesus Christ
our Lord. On this day Jesus entered the holy city of Jerusalem in
triumph, and was proclaimed as King of kings by those who
spread their garments and branches along his way.

Let these branches be for us signs of his victory, and grant that
we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our King,
and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life; who lives
and reigns in glory with you and the Holy Spirit, now and
for ever. Amen.

Reading: Philippians 2:5-11

Read by Shirley Mensah.

A Reading from the letter of Paul to the Philippians

Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus: Though he was in the form of God, he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit. But he emptied himself by taking the form of a slave and by becoming like human beings. When he found himself in the form of a human, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God highly honored him and gave him a name above all names, so that at the name of Jesus everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth might bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God


Psalm 31:9-16 from St. Helena Psalter (read responsively by whole verse). Led by the rector.

Have mercy on me, O God, for I am in trouble;
my eye is consumed with sorrow,
and also my throat and my belly.
For my life is wasted with grief
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails me because of affliction,
and my bones are consumed.

I have become a reproach to all my enemies and even to my neighbors,
a dismay to those of my acquaintance;
when they see me in the street they avoid me.
I am forgotten like the dead, out of mind;
I am as useless as a broken pot.

For I have heard the whispering of the crowd;
fear is all around;
they put their heads together against me;
they plot to take my life.
But as for me, I have trusted in you, O God.
I have said, “You are my God.

My times are in your hand;
rescue me from the hand of my enemies,
and from those who persecute me.
Make your face to shine upon your servant,
and in your loving-kindness, save me.”

Hymn: Come Bring your Burdens to God

Led by Mary Chapman.

Homily: The Rev. Laurie Anzilotti

The Prayers

Led by the Rev. Marc Smith.

Most merciful God, we come to you in this time of anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19. As the sorrows of our heart and mind increase, we beseech you to save us from all trouble and fear. Cast away all works of darkness. Be our rock, a castle to keep us safe. For the Lord is our stronghold and sure defense, and he will be our Savior.

For all who have died: receive them into the arms of your mercy, grant them eternal peace, and surround those who mourn with your healing grace.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For those with the virus: help them recover in good health and restore them in body, mind and spirit. 
Lord, hear our prayer.

For those at high risk of infection, especially the elderly, those with underlying illnesses, the marginalized, and the poor: keep them healthy and free from all sickness. 
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all hospitals, doctors, nurses, and staff: protect them as they minister to the sick, relieve all stress, and provide the resources and space to meet the needs of all the infirm. 
Lord, hear our prayer.

For first responders: guard them from all harm, and grant them strength and courage as they respond to all calls for help. 
Lord, hear our prayer.

For service industry workers and those forced to work as their community shuts down: keep them healthy, bestow the resources to best care for themselves and their families, and assure them in times of financial and medical anxiety. 
Lord, hear our prayer.

For those experiencing financial loss and uncertainty of resources: have mercy on them, alleviate any fear, and provide for them daily bread and wage.  
Lord, hear our prayer.

For the leaders of this nation and the world: help them make sound and safe decisions to best secure the future of our planet.  
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all schools, students, teachers, administrators and school staff: grant them peace and patience as schools close, feed those who will go hungry without guaranteed meals and shelter all students have no place to live. 
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all scientists and those working to find a cure: inspire them towards your truth, and help them discover and disseminate a vaccine and cure. 
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all media and journalists: protect them from all harm in their reporting, and move them to be a vector of truth and certainty, and never fear or panic. 
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all places of worship: embolden them to be beacons of hope and love, and help us never to cease to give you praise. For Michael, our Presiding Bishop; for George Wayne, our Bishop and Deon our Bishop-elect. We pray for our seminarians, Meg Goldstein and Mary Haggerty. For our partners in the church in El Salvador and in the Diocesan cycle of prayer for Trinity Episcopal Church in Kirksville, Missouri.
Lord, hear our prayer.

The congregation is invited to add their own prayers silently or aloud.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
     hallowed be thy Name,
     thy kingdom come,
     thy will be done,
         on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
     as we forgive those
         who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
     but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
     and the power, and the glory,
     for ever and ever. Amen.

The rector prays collects for the day:

Let us 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.

Almighty God, whose most 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 than the way of life and
peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Passion: Matthew 27:11-54

Read by the Rev. Chester Hines.

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ According to Matthew

Jesus was brought before the governor. The governor said, “Are you the king of the Jews? Jesus replied, “That’s what you say.” But he didn’t answer when the chief priests and elders accused him. Then Pilate said, “Don’t you hear the testimony they bring against you?” But he didn’t answer, not even a single word. So the governor was greatly amazed.

It was customary during the festival for the governor to release to the crowd one prisoner, whomever they might choose. At that time there was a well-known prisoner named Jesus Barabbas. When the crowd had come together, Pilate asked them, “Whom would you like me to release to you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ?” He knew that the leaders of the people had handed him over because of jealousy.

While he was serving as judge, his wife sent this message to him, “Leave that righteous man alone. I’ve suffered much today in a dream because of him.” But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and kill Jesus. The governor said, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” “Barabbas,” they replied. Pilate said, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Crucify him!”

But he said, “Why? What wrong has he done?” They shouted even louder, “Crucify him!” Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was starting. So he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I’m innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It’s your problem.” All the people replied, “Let his blood be on us and on our children.” Then he released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus whipped, then handed him over to be crucified.

The governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s house, and they gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a red military coat on him. They twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They put a stick in his right hand. Then they bowed down in front of him and mocked him, saying, “Hey! King of the Jews!” After they spit on him, they took the stick and struck his head again and again. When they finished mocking him, they stripped him of the military coat and put his own clothes back on him. They led him away to crucify him.

As they were going out, they found Simon, a man from Cyrene. They forced him to carry his cross. When they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Skull Place, they gave Jesus wine mixed with vinegar to drink. But after tasting it, he didn’t want to drink it. After they crucified him, they divided up his clothes among them by drawing lots. They sat there, guarding him. They placed above his head the charge against him. It read, “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.” They crucified with him two outlaws, one on his right side and one on his left.

Those who were walking by insulted Jesus, shaking their heads and saying, “So you were going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, were you? Save yourself! If you are God’s Son, come down from the cross.” In the same way, the chief priests, along with the legal experts and the elders, were making fun of him, saying, “He saved others, but he can’t save himself. He’s the king of Israel, so let him come down from the cross now. Then we’ll believe in him. He trusts in God, so let God deliver him now if he wants to. He said, ‘I’m God’s Son.’” The outlaws who were crucified with him insulted him in the same way.

From noon until three in the afternoon the whole earth was dark. At about three Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” which means, “My God, my God, why have you left me?” After hearing him, some standing there said, “He’s calling Elijah.” One of them ran over, took a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a pole. He offered it to Jesus to drink. But the rest of them said, “Let’s see if Elijah will come and save him.” Again Jesus cried out with a loud shout. Then he died.

Look, the curtain of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split, and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised. After Jesus’ resurrection they came out of their graves and went into the holy city where they appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and what had just happened, they were filled with awe and said, “This was certainly God’s Son.”


sung by Mary Chapman.

“Were you there when they Crucified my Lord?” LEVAS 37 (verses 1-3)

The service finishes without a dismissal, because our worship will not conclude until Easter. Please join us for virtual coffee hour, using the link sent out via email.

make a sacred space at home

Making a Sacred Space for Holy Week at Home

Many of us have been worshipping virtually via social media sites and while this is a wonderful way to stay connected and maintain community bonds, we also recognize that our homes can be places of prayer and deeper connection to God and each other. Creating a designated sacred space, in this time of physical distancing, is a wonderful activity to help connect to the wider community at prayer while we are not able to gather in our regular worship spaces. Sacred space at home can be something as simple as a window sill or as elaborate as a dedicated room, it can be permanent or moveable. No matter where the sacred space is located or constructed the purpose is the same; a space for prayer, meditation and reflection.


  • Keep it simple, elegant and uncluttered. Clutter is the enemy of sacred space.
  • If young children are a part of your household, have them help as much as possible.
  • A place mat or fabric can be the base of your sacred space.
  • Set-up your sacred space in an area readily accessible.
  • A large tray makes a great sacred space that can be moved as needed.
  • Add a cross as a focal point on the sacred space.
  • The cross can be large or small but should be relevant to the space.
  • Crosses can be made using material commonly found at home or out in nature.
  • A simple wooden cross works best and elaborate crosses that have significance can be used also.
  • A bible. A bible connects us to our spiritual ancestors and reminds us that we are part of a wider
  • story of salvation. Reading from the bible during times of worship also reinforces the connection to our regular pattern of worship.

Add additional symbols.

  • A CONTAINER WITH WATER. Water reminds us of our connection to each other through baptism. (This will be used especially at the Easter Vigil).
  • ROCKS/STONES. Rocks or stones make wonderful sensory objects that can serve as tangible symbols of prayer.
  • CANDLES. There are a variety of candles, including LED candles that can be incorporated into the sacred space. Candles also help connect us to the spaces we normally gather for worship. (Also used at the Easter Vigil).
  • ICON OR PHOTOS. Adding photos of loved ones, your worshipping community, icons of saints or other meaningful photos give a sense of connection outside our regular worship space. Icons can also be made as an individual or family activity.
  • FLORA. During Lent dried grasses or twigs help remind us of the season. Adding fresh flowers during the Great 50 Days of Easter is a great way to celebrate at home.
  • Set aside “Ritual” time. Create a ritual around using the sacred space. Lighting the candles can be a very powerful and meaningful activity (especially for younger children).


Making an Altar at Home – Sharon E. Pearson, Rows of Sharon
Creating A Lenten Prayer Space At Home – guidance for creating sacred space at home How to Set Up a Prayer Table – from the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Holy Week At Home: Family Practices For The Triduum by Jerusalem Greer (Building Faith)
Maundy Thursday At Home: Stripping The Table by Jerusalem Greer (Building Faith)
Easter Sunrise Breakfast at Home by Traci Smith (Building Faith)

Holy Week Schedule 2019

Click here for an introduction to each of the Holy Week Services by our rector.

Click for the Easter Flowers donation/dedication form.

PALM_SUNDAY-01Palm Sunday, April 14

Come and join the procession to recall the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and to proclaim God’s victory over sin and death.

8:00am      Liturgy of the Palms and Holy Eucharist
10:30am    Liturgy of the Palms and Holy Eucharist
We will gather on the lawn at the 10:30am service for a New Orleans “Second Line” style procession into the church.

8c40980757fd485398b82eff46e204b9_f1754Maundy Thursday, April 18

We walk through the story of Jesus’ last night with his friends: washing each other’s feet, eating supper, sharing the first Eucharist, and reposing to the darkness of the garden.

5:45pm     Family Service with Foot Washing and Simply Eucharist
        6:30pm     Potluck Soup Supper
7:15pm     Choral Eucharist with Foot Washing and Stripping of the Altar

GOOD_FRIDAY-01Good Friday, April 19

We encounter the greatest mystery of our faith, when the cross of death becomes the tree of life.

12:00pm   Spoken Service with hymns
        5:45pm     Children’s Service: The Stations of Holy Week
7:15pm     Choral Service

VIGIL-01The Great Vigil of Easter, April 20

This is the most beautiful, the most sacred, the most mysterious liturgy of the whole year …

Immersed in deep darkness, we light a blazing new fire.
Immersed in God’s story, we encounter our own.
Immersed in Baptismal waters, we share in new life.

9:00pm    The Great Vigil of Easter Alleluia! Christ is Risen!


Easter Sunday, April 21

Alleluia Christ is Risen! We celebrate the Resurrection with festival services.

8:00 am    Spoken Eucharist
10:30am   Choral Eucharist
11:45am   Easter Egg Hunt

Introducing Holy Week: The Great Vigil of Easter

In the dark night (9:00 pm) before Easter Morning, a fire is kindled. A voice sings out “The Light of Christ!” The people respond, “Thanks be to God.” The Easter Vigil is the holiest moment in the Christian calendar. The liturgy is otherworldly, intentionally. In the darkness, the great and saving acts of God throughout history are recalled.

The people process into the church, and the cantor who sang “The Light of Christ” continues chanting the Exsultet, “This is the night when you brought the children of Israel, out of bondage in Egypt, and led them through the Red Sea on dry land…This is the night, when Christ broke the bonds of death and hell, and rose victorious from the grave.” This is the night, we hear it again and again.

The service then proceeds into a series of readings, silences, songs, and prayers. We read more of the Bible than at any other service in the year. The Church remembers God’s saving deeds. All of it builds to the reading of the Gospel of the Resurrection, the story of the disciples, women and men who followed Jesus walking into the empty tomb, discovering that Jesus is risen.

For almost two thousand years, the night before Easter has been the principle time when adult converts to the faith are baptized. We make our way to the font, and new Christians are baptized.  Together we all recall our baptismal promises together. We remember that we have passed with Christ through death to new life. Death has no sting.

After the baptisms, the darkened church erupts in light. The presiding priest proclaims the first Alleluia of Easter: “Alleluia, Christ is risen!” and the people respond, “The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!” We celebrate Holy Eucharist together in the brightened church.

Afterwards, at Holy Communion, we continue the feast. We pop corked bottles of wine and sparkling cider. Tables of chocolate (and a chocolate fountain) and other desserts greet us as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection into the early hours of Easter Morning.

Introducing Holy Week: Good Friday

On Good Friday we remember the crucifixion. Good Friday is a stark service. The usual decorations in the church were stripped the night before. The priest and choir are vested all in black. We wait and watch with Jesus. We meditate on the death of Jesus. The tone is somber.

We read the Passion story, the story of the betrayal of Jesus, his friend Peter’s denial of their relationship, the sentence of death from the Roman governor, the journey through the city carrying the cross, and finally the crucifixion. The story is hard to hear.

There is no Eucharist celebrated on Good Friday. Instead, we recite and sing songs of lament. We pray for the state of the whole world. Then a wooden cross is brought into the church, and the congregation is invited to spend time at the foot of the cross. Some may choose to come forward and pray at the foot of the cross. Some may touch or even kiss the wood.

On the cross God took the worst of human stories, betrayal, suffering, denial, death, and wrote good news into human history. We can’t undo the past, but we can build a better future. The Rev. Dr. Luis Leon once wrote: “Peter’s tears of sorrow will wonder of wonders, be made a fountain of new life. God will fashion out of this wreckage of denial a new life of grace and power. That is why we dare to call this Friday ‘good.’”

One of the best meditations on Good Friday is the spiritual: “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” We are invited into the loss, the pain, and the sadness.

On Good Friday, as on Maundy Thursday, the service ends without a dismissal. Holy Week’s three solemn services are all part of the same whole. We are not dismissed because remembering Jesus’ crucifixion is incomplete without commemorating the resurrection. The next day Holy Week culminates in the Easter Vigil, the holiest night of the Christian year.

Introducing Holy Week: Maundy Thursday

A series of three services over three days mark the heart of Holy Week. In Latin these three days are called the “Triduum” (which simply means “the three days”). These final days of Holy Week are the most sacred in the Christian calendar. This week before Holy Week I will be posting a simple meditation about each service, and how we remember the Jesus in the Triduum.

Maundy Thursday starts the cycle. The church community gathers to remember Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. We call to mind the night that we remember week in and week out in the Eucharist, and Jesus’ words about the bread and wine: “this is my body, and this is my blood.” The word “maundy” in old English means “Mandate” or “command.” There are actually two commands on Maunday Thursday, and they are connected.

The first command is the Eucharist: “Do this” Jesus says, “in rememberance of me.” In his classic work on Communion, “The Shape of the Liturgy” the Anglican Theologian Gregory Dix wrote:

“Was ever another command so obeyed? For century after century, spreading slowly to every continent and every country and among every race on earth, this action has been done, in every conceivable human circumstance…[people] have found no better thing than this to do for kings at their crowning and for criminals going to the scaffold.”

Indeed, this mandate to remember Christ in the Eucharist continues to shape the life of millions across the planet week in and week out.

There is a second, and I would argue deeply connected commandment. On Maundy Thursday we read John’s account of the last supper. John doesn’t mention bread and wine. Instead the action centers around Jesus’ washing the disciples feet. Jesus says, “if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” The teacher spends his last night with the disciples connecting the dots. To remember Jesus is to serve another.

On Thursday at church, we will gather to celebrate Eucharist, to remember Jesus, and to wash one another’s feet. After the Eucharist, we reserve the sacrament in the chapel, which is decorated to remind us of the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus went to pray after the Last Supper. Some of the congregation may choose to pray awhile with the reserve sacrament on Thursday night. The service will conclude with stripping the altar, taking away every decoration that isn’t bolted down. We empty the sanctuary to prepare ourselves for the stark reality of Good Friday.