Easter Services at the Church of the Apostles
Easter Service is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It is celebrated on Sunday, and marks the end of Holy Week — the end of Holy Thursday, Good Friday & Lent — and is the beginning of the holy season for the liturgical year.
As we know from the Gospels, Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day following his crucifixion, which would be Sunday. His resurrection marks the triumph of good over evil, sin, and death. It is the singular event, which proves that those who trust in God and accept Christ, will be raised from the dead.
Since Easter represents the fulfillment of God’s promises to mankind, it is the most important holiday on the Christian calendar. In the Episcopal Church, Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is considered to be the central event in Christian theology.
The Easter season in the Episcopal Church begins on Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent, a period of spiritual preparation and repentance that lasts for 40 days. During Lent, Episcopalians engage in a variety of practices such as fasting, prayer, and self-examination, as they prepare for the joyous celebration of Easter.
The climax of the Easter season in the Episcopal Church is the Easter Vigil, which takes place on the evening of Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. The Easter Vigil is a solemn and beautiful service that includes the lighting of the Paschal candle, which symbolizes the risen Christ, and the singing of hymns and readings from the Bible that recount the story of salvation.
On Easter Sunday, Episcopalians gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with great joy and exuberance. The Easter Sunday service typically includes special music, such as the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, and the singing of hymns that proclaim the triumph of Christ over death. The service also includes a reading of the Easter story from the Gospel of John, which tells of the discovery of the empty tomb by Mary Magdalene and the other disciples.
Following the Easter Sunday service, many Episcopal churches host festive receptions and other events to celebrate the joy of the Easter season. Throughout the Easter season, which lasts for 50 days, Episcopalians continue to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ through prayer, worship, and acts of kindness and charity.
The Episcopal Church Easter Services
The Easter services in the Episcopal Church are typically joyful and celebratory, as they commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are several services that take place during the Easter season, including the Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday, and the Sundays that follow.
The Easter Vigil is a solemn and beautiful service that takes place on the evening of Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. The service begins in darkness, as the congregation gathers outside the church for the lighting of the Paschal candle. The Paschal candle, which symbolizes the risen Christ, is then carried into the church as the congregation follows, carrying their own candles. The service includes a series of readings from the Old and New Testaments, which recount the story of salvation, culminating in the reading of the Gospel of the resurrection. The service ends with the first Eucharist of Easter, in which the congregation partakes in the body and blood of Christ.
On Easter Sunday, the main service is typically held in the morning and is the most festive service of the year. The service includes special music, such as the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, and the singing of hymns that proclaim the triumph of Christ over death. The service also includes a reading of the Easter story from the Gospel of John, which tells of the discovery of the empty tomb by Mary Magdalene and the other disciples. The congregation is often invited to renew their baptismal vows, as a reminder of their own baptismal commitment to follow Christ.
Throughout the Easter season, which lasts for 50 days, the Episcopal Church continues to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ through prayer, worship, and acts of kindness and charity. The services during this season often feature readings from the Acts of the Apostles, which recount the spread of the Gospel throughout the world, and hymns that celebrate the power of the resurrection.
Taking communion in the Episcopal Church
In the Episcopal Church, the Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper, is one of the central acts of worship. Here is what to expect when taking communion in the Episcopal Church:
- Preparation: Before the service, the bread and wine are brought to the altar, and the priest offers prayers of thanksgiving and consecration. During the service, the congregation is invited to prepare themselves spiritually by confessing their sins and seeking God’s forgiveness.
- Approach: When it is time to receive communion, the congregation is invited to come forward to the altar rail, usually by row. The ushers may direct you, but don’t worry if you’re unsure of what to do – simply follow the people in front of you.
- Receiving the bread: When you approach the altar rail, you will typically stand or kneel, and the priest or a lay Eucharistic minister will offer you a piece of bread, saying “The body of Christ, the bread of heaven.” You can either eat the bread immediately or hold it for a moment.
- Receiving the wine: Next, the chalice of wine is offered to you, with the words “The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.” You can either take a sip from the chalice, or you may dip the bread into the wine and then consume both.
- Return to your seat: After receiving communion, you return to your seat, often through a side aisle. You may spend a few moments in prayer or contemplation, or sing a hymn before resuming your seat.
- Closing: After everyone has received communion, the priest and acolytes clear the altar, and the congregation concludes the service with a final hymn or prayer.
The Episcopal Church practices an “open table,” meaning that all baptized Christians are welcome to receive communion, regardless of their church affiliation. If you are not baptized or prefer not to receive communion, you may still come forward and cross your arms over your chest to receive a blessing.
The Church of the Apostles invites all Christians to join us for Easter Sunday Service