St John the Baptist Parish Church

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News from the clergy

Vicar's column - April 2017

Holy Week fast approaches but do you know your Palm Sunday from your Maundy Thursday? Here follows a reminder. We hope you can share in the drama of the week and in order to appreciate the full impact of the Easter celebrations. The key events are as follows:

Palm Sunday: Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. We receive palm crosses to remind us of the palms thrown in front of the donkey on which he rode. A procession enters the church, where the events of Holy Week in Jerusalem are celebrated, shouting “Hosanna” like the crowd accompanying Jesus and his disciples.

Maundy Thursday: The day of the last supper and Christ’s betrayal and arrest. It includes thanksgiving of the Lord’s Supper; the ceremonial washing of disciples’ feet in obedience to our Lord’s command to love and serve one another; the stripping of altars and descent into darkness as Jesus goes out from the upper room to be betrayed, deserted and arrested in the garden of Gethsemane. The congregation disperses in silence but the Gethsemane vigil begins before a candle-lit altar laden with flowers.

Good Friday: The proclamation of Christ’s death upon the cross. We are confronted with a bare church and a wooden cross with a crown of thorns. In the morning there will be a Churches Together all-age interactive service at St John’s, followed by a walk of witness via the high street and Morgan Rec. concluding at the Methodist Church for hot cross buns. In the afternoon, there will be an hour long meditation before the cross service at St John’s. 

Easter Eve: The beginning of Easter. The light of Christ, represented by the paschal candle, emerges from the darkness and fills the church. In some churches there is special liturgy on the evening of Holy Saturday or at a dawn service. During such services there is a thanksgiving for the resurrection and renewal of baptismal vows. At St John’s, the service of light is combined with the first service of Easter Day, a sung Eucharist at 8am…

Easter Day: The greatest of all Christian festivals. The risen Christ is known, as at Emmaus, in the breaking of bread. The “Alleluia” banished in Lent returns in full glory: “Alleluia, Christ is Risen!” The Easter garden is blessed (at the 10.30 am service) and we enjoy Easter eggs, a symbol of the new life that Christ gives.


Easter Sunday

Joy did not burst upon them

at His bursting from the tomb.

Firstly, frightened out of their wits

but perfect love drives out fear.

They came to apprehend

an other worldly reality.

Like the blind man,

healed in stages,

their sight became clearer.

Their resolve renewed.


Rev Lisa Cornwell