Holy Week and Easter as a “different sort of church”

As we continue to serve and worship as a “different sort of church”, we thought it would be helpful to offer an outline of the various opportunities for us to worship, pray and reflect together during Holy Week and then as we celebrate on Easter Day.

On Palm Sunday (5th April 2020), the Bishop of Manchester will lead us in worship on the Church of England’s Facebook page from 9am (the page may be found here). As we look forward to this, we are being encouraged to make paper or card ‘palm’ crosses, and a helpful video on making these crosses, offered by the Revd Sarah Lawrence in our diocese, may be found here. (Written instructions and accompanying photographs are available here.)

At a local level, we will have an act of worship on our Facebook page, which may be found here. (Timings will be confirmed on the page in the coming days.)

You might wish to follow a Matthean Passion narrative. A form of this narrative, which can be used in a sequence of times and places in the home, has been prepared by Bishop David Wilbourne and is available here.

Also from Palm Sunday, and in our diocese, members of the bishop’s staff will offer a daily video reflection/message on the appointed gospel passage for the day, and so keep an eye on here and here.

It might be helpful for you to follow the Stations of the Cross. Readings and prayers, taken from Common Worship, may be found here, and there is to be a series of five podcasts from the Church of England, which will be made available on its website.

From Monday to Wednesday in Holy Week, Evening Prayer will be offered on our Facebook page at 5.15pm. On Tuesday in Holy Week, we would normally find ourselves in our cathedral for the Chrism Eucharist. This year, there will be an opportunity for us all to renew our ministerial commitment, via Facebook Live, from 11am – please see here

As Holy Week continues, the Archbishop of Canterbury will offer reflections via his Facebook page and website.

On Maundy Thursday (9th April) we will have Compline in the evening at 7pm on Facebook Live, and on Good Friday, the liturgy found in Common Worship might be of assistance (see here), or you might choose to read part of John’s Gospel, and particularly chapters 18 and 19. BBC Radio 4 will have a personal reflection for Good Friday from 3pm (please see here).

On Easter Day, we plan to have an act of worship available on our Facebook page, and at a diocesan level there is to be an act of worship, which will include a Eucharist, online at 5pm. As part of this, there is an invitation to a light a candle in a window each evening from Easter Day, which will serve as a sign of new life. (A document that refers to Spiritual Communion might be of interestthis may be found here.)

The following resources, offered by the Diocese of Chelmsford, might also be of interest. Please follow this link.

The Church of England will continue to share audio versions of prayers, and these may be found here, and do have a look at our new YouTube page, which may be found here.

We hope that all of the above is helpful. This information is subject to change, and we would anticipate that more opportunities for worship, prayer and reflection will be added, and so please watch this space for updates (we will refresh the page and update the date mark, below).

This item was first published on 2nd April 2020.