ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS
Festival of Lessons and Carols – Every Advent we dedicate one Sunday service to telling the Christmas story in the format of lessons and carols. For this occasion, we often follow the traditional format of Kings College Chapel of Cambridge, which features nine scripture passages and nine carols, hymns, or anthems. Some years we use spirituals and other musical genres in combination with the scripture to tell the same story with a different musical sensibility. Whatever the musical genre, it is always a special occasion.
Nativity Sunday – What better way to learn a story than to play a part in it? Every Advent during one Sunday service, children, youth and adults from the Edwards community offer a fresh take on what happened 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem. The story has been told from the perspective of the animals, the wise men, the angels and the shepherds, as well as Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! Maybe you could find yourself in the story.
Longest Night / Quiet Christmas – This year Edwards Church encourages all who seek solace to consider either or both of the following services offered by our neighbors.
The Longest Night, Tues., Dec. 19 at 7 PM, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 48 Elm Street, a quiet lay led service.
Common Ground: Blue Christmas, Thurs., Dec 21 at 6 PM, at First Churches, Center Street entrance. Common Ground is worship woven together with a meal. See: http://www.firstchurches.org/event/common-ground-blue-christmas/
Christmas Eve – Join us at 7:00 p.m. on December 24th for an uplifting celebration of Christmas in scripture, music and prayer. A blend of our customary Sunday worship and a lessons and carols format, the service culminates with a candlelit singing of “Silent Night” in a darkened sanctuary.
LENT AND EASTER
Ash Wednesday – We observe the beginning of Lent with a quiet 7:00 p.m. service on Ash Wednesday. Readings, music, and prayers invite us to enter the season of preparing for Easter.
Palm Sunday – The celebratory atmosphere and bold declarations offered by followers of Jesus stand in stark contrast to the betrayal, suffering, and death that follow. By reenacting some of that same celebratory atmosphere and bold declaration, we are reminded how easy it is to miss the message. Our current custom is to meet close to the church, at 9:45 a.m., with other Protestant churches in the neighborhood for an outdoor liturgy of palms. Folks from each of the three churches participate and then process while singing back to their separate churches.
Maundy Thursday – Share in this remembrance of the Last Supper. Jesus built an inclusive community by crossing societal boundaries to eat with others, and you are invited to this 6:00 p.m. evening pot-luck service, which includes a communion service woven through the meal. Bring a dish if you like, or just bring your appetite. Like Jesus, we have an open table.
Good Friday – Part of preparing for Easter is confronting the cross. Our current custom is to hold a service of Tenebrae (Latin for shadows), which retells the story of the last day leading up to the death of Jesus, ending with that event. We leave a mostly dark sanctuary in silence. Check the time of the service, as we adjust it for sunset.
Easter Sunday – Come celebrate the Resurrection! The joy and excitement of Easter comes to life in worship. Lilies decorate the sanctuary, special music fills the air, and we declare, “Christ is risen indeed!”
OTHER SPECIAL SERVICES
Pentecost – Often called the birthday of the church, Pentecost commemorates the arrival of the Holy Spirit in the early Christian community and celebrates its presence in our lives today.
All Saints / All Souls – On the Sunday closest to November 1, we recall the example of people who have been “saints” in our lives.