Greetings! We are getting ready to celebrate Holy Week at St Stephen’s, and though the pandemic is waning, and the vaccine waxing, we are still not quite ready to gather in person for worship or fellowship. Each service of Holy Week includes some way for you to participate, and we encourage you to avail yourself of the opportunities described below. May God bless your journey through this holy season, and strengthen and equip you to walk in love.
Palm Sunday: March 28 – 9am on Facebook Live | Come by St Stephen’s this Saturday, March 27, from 10.30am to 1.30pm to pick up your traditional palm crosses and branches of green palms, for the “blessing of the palms” that begins our celebration of Palm Sunday and Holy Week. The palms are a sign of the welcome and joy with which the people greeted Jesus as he arrived in Jerusalem. Families with younger children can also pick up a kit that includes some Palm Sunday–related material. The Palm Sunday service will be livestreamed on our Facebook page at 9am on March 28.
Maundy Thursday: April 1 – 6pm on Zoom, 8pm on Facebook Live | Our celebration of Maundy Thursday will include an opportunity for parishioners to share time together in small groups by Zoom (a virtual Last Supper). You can find a group and sign up using this Sign-Up Genius. St Stephen’s will provide some simple prayers and table questions to accompany your meal, and to keep it connected to tradtion. At 8pm, we will livestream a special Stripping of the Altar from the sanctuary, accompanied by selections from various Requiem masses, and concluding with a once-in-a-lifetime prayer of deconsecration for the existing Altar Table, which will be replaced as part of our sanctuary renovation.
Good Friday: April 2 – Roll thru 9am-5pm in the chapel, 7pm on Facebook Live | The chapel of St Stephen’s church will be open on Good Friday from 9am to 5pm. Visitors will be able to come in and spend time in prayer with the cross of Jesus, and to leave a prayer stone at its base. We will gather all those prayer stones and incorporate them into the veneration of the cross during the livestream that takes place that evening at 7pm. Feel free to bring your own prayer stone, and we will provide a basket of them as well.
Pick up Easter Communion Kits: April 3 – 1-6pm in the Narthex | On Saturday, April 3, we will make Communion Kits available for pick-up in the Narthex of St Stephen’s between 1pm and 6pm. Fill out this Google form to let us know if you’d like a kit prepared for you; we’ll share the consecrated bread and wine as part of our celebration of Easter Sunday during the 9am livestream.
The Great Vigil of Easter: April 3 – 7pm on Facebook Live | This year’s Vigil of Easter is a collaborative event that the people of St Stephen’s are making together: sharing Resurrection joy by contributing stories, art, reflections, prayers, readings from the liturgy, and videos of candles and shouts of “Alleluia!” There’s even a Baptism! We’ll combine all these contributions into a video event that will premiere on our Facebook page at 7pm that Saturday night.
If you’d like to contribute, consider submitting to Ethan by email: 1) a one or two minute cell phone video of a candle or candles burning (after dark has fallen!) or 2) a fifteen second audio clip of your child/children shouting “Alleluia! Alleluia!” or “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!” and/or ringing bells/banging pots and pans.
Easter Sunday: April 4 – 9am on Facebook Live, 11am in the Courtyard (for families) | The Sunday of Easter we’ll livestream the liturgy from our sanctuary: the *last* time we will worship from the sanctuary before its renovation begins. A special gathering of families with younger children will take place in our courtyard at 11am that morning. Contact Sunday School Coordinator Tracie Nelson to learn more.