Palm Sunday – 24th March

“All glory, laud, and honour
To thee Redeemer King
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring…”


Rev’ Dyllis led the Palm Sunday Holy Communion Service, marking the start of Holy Week.  Crosses, made from palm leaves were held aloft and blessed at the beginning of the liturgy.

Traditionally, Palm Sunday focuses on the joy and celebration surrounding Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, hailed the ‘King of Kings’.
Rev’d Dyllis pointed out that this joyous journey was the same one which led Him towards his barbaric crucifixion.

With this in mind, Rev. Dyllis chose to centre the service around St. Mark’s gospel account of Christ’s Passion.  A three part reading of this narrative was interspersed with meditative music and the crowning of the bare wooden cross at the foot of the chancel steps, with thorns and a purple drape.

The congregation was prompted to reflect on a series of challenges, before being invited to follow Jesus every step of the way to the foot of the cross:

  • How ready are we to take up the challenges of this week?
  • Are we prepared to stay with Jesus throughout His final days on earth?
  • Will we be alongside Him in the ‘Upper Room’, sharing in His Last Supper?
  • Are we able to watch and wait with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane?
  • Can we stand at the foot of His cross on Good Friday?

While the congregation engaged prayerfully with the liturgy, the Children’s Sunday Club were also thinking about the story of the Passion in their own ‘upper room’.  Stories, songs and crafting activities enabled the little ones to engage with the enormity of Holy Week on a simple level.

At the end of the service, the youngsters enjoyed sharing their Holy Week boxes with the congregation, which held visual reminders and prompts to help them focus on the events about to unfold over the next few days.

Our journey through Holy Week has just begun…

Maundy Thursday

The Last Supper of Jesus Christ was commemorated in an innovative, moving, and powerful Maundy Thursday service at St. James’ Church.  Naturally, the occasion was immersed in Scripture readings, song, a shared Passover style meal and of course, Holy Communion.  But that was far from all.

Rev. Naomi led the first part of the service, which began prayerfully, and quietly, punctuated with comparisons between the emotions most likely experienced by Jesus’ disciples and the similar feelings of bewilderment, anxiety and fear, felt during contemporary gatherings.  Links were made to the pain of bloodshed from conflicts and wars both then and now, in addition to the dark places we can find ourselves in.

A simple black and white drawing of a Passover cup was placed next to some lurid red paint.  The congregation was invited to dip a hand in the paint and place their print on and around the cup.  Was it messy?  YES!  Was it supposed to be?  YES!  Did it evoke a scene of Jesus’ blood, shed for us all, a cup overflowing?  YES!  Did it make a statement about the brutality of current global conflicts?  YES!

A second board, presented the outline of a cross, a symbol of the love Jesus has for all mankind.  Rev. Naomi asked for post-it-notes of love to be placed on the board, forming a collective message of love, emphasizing the ‘new commandment’ of ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ even further.

The next stage of the service centered around the sharing of a Passover meal. All ages met and ate together; the community feel and special fellowship, was reminiscent of that similar gathering approximately 2,000 years ago.

Finally, Rev. Dyllis led the third stage of the service, which included the washing of feet.  Every person present was offered the opportunity to walk through the water and place a piece of towel at the foot of the cross as a sign of our willingness to be cleansed and our recognition of Jesus’ humility performing this menial task.

The Holy Communion liturgy followed, interspersed with gospel narratives, recalling the Last Supper.  Bread and wine was shared from one to another, in much the same way as Jesus’ disciples did.  The instruction to ‘Do this in remembrance of me’ was amplified through the actions.

The moving and memorable service closed with the stripping of the altar and the opportunity for the congregation to keep a silent vigil on this holy night.

The journey through Holy Week continues…

Good Friday

Six readings from St. Matthew’s gospel recounting the Passion were interspersed with sophisticated and appropriate choral pieces, familiar hymns and periods of silence for individual meditation and prayer in the Good Friday service.

A sombre atmosphere, respectful periods of quiet and ethereal music took the congregation though the harrowing events of Jesus’ last days on earth, to the point of burial.  Those gathered, were dismissed at the end of the service following the hymn, ‘My Song is Love Unknown.’

Onwards to Easter Day…