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Lent & Holy Week 2016

2016 Lenten Schedule

Shrove Tuesday, February 9: Evening Prayer and Pancake Supper at 5:30 PM.

Join us for prayer and fellowship as well as discovering the purpose of “Fat Tuesday”.

Ash Wednesday, February 10: Imposition of Ashes and Holy Eucharist, Rite II at Noon and 7 PM

Sunday, February 14 at 8 & 10 AM: The Great Litany will be chanted at the beginning of both worship services.

Mondays in Lent: “Becoming the Story We Tell” at 7 PM in Witherington Hall.

“Becoming the Story We Tell” is the Lenten Program offered by the Diocese of New Jersey for participating parishes. As an integral part of the Congregational Development initiatives of the Diocese, this Lenten Program will take us along the path to becoming a more Welcoming Church, cultivating a hospitality that engages newcomers where they are, and invites them to join us in learning the way of Jesus and to consider becoming his disciples themselves through Holy Baptism. We will seek a deeper understanding of the Gospel through Small Group Reflections on the Sunday readings through Lent, renewing our sense of the Church’s Baptismal identity and vocation, and our response in shaping our lives in discipleship.

What is Lent?

Lent is not a gloomy time, a sad time, or a depressing time for those who are remembering what God has done for them. Our self-examination, which reveals our sin, prepares us to recognize our need for God. Then we gather Sunday by Sunday in the liturgy where our story as the people of God reminds us that God has met and still meets our need. Our fasting and self-denial give us the resources with which we can join Christ in his struggle against evil and death. Joining him in that struggle, we also join him in his victory.

The liturgy in Lent has as its central concern the preparation of the Church for the main event of Easter: Christian Initiation. Lent itself came into being as the time of final preparation for those chosen for Holy Baptism, at a time when all baptisms were done at Easter. It also was a period in which those who had been excommunicated for serious sin did penance in order to be restored to Communion at Easter.

Lent has become a time for the members of the church to renew their commitment to Christ as they anticipate the great feast of Easter. Beginning with Ash Wednesday we are invited “to the observance of a Holy Lent, by self examination and repentance by prayer, fasting and self-denial and by reading and meditating on God’ Holy Word.” These disciplines are not mere good works for our own benefit, but rather frees us, our time, and our resources to a new and deeper scope of ministry to others. By study, we rediscover God’s mighty acts of salvation for the entire human race—and we are part of that vast company of believers in every age on a pilgrimage into God’s Kingdom.

Along with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, you will see the liturgical changes during Lent–purple vestments, quieter meditative services, NO ALLELUIAS, the Penitential Order and Exhortation at Mass; and the veiling the crosses. These customs and traditions come from the early beginnings, but a number of these customs have distorted Christian faith and living, because they so easily play into the hands of popular misconceptions—with an ill conceived notion of individualistic and nostalgic piety and a do it yourself mentality of earning salvation!

These attitudes serve to seek a greater concern for on personal salvation than with ministry to others; or attempting to make up for past failure with extra religious activities, and an over emphasis on services geared to produce religious feelings rather than growth in knowledge of God and our reliance on His Divine Grace.

Many of the liturgical customs of Lent stem from those earlier times and can best be understood in that light. Some customs, in fact, need that understanding or else they will be contradictory to the central meaning of Lent and Easter. This is because many of the customs, having lost their original purpose, were distorted. In the past fifty years, the liturgical churches have been reforming their rites for Lent, seeking particularly to recover the baptismal emphasis of the season and of Easter.

The liturgies that are the center of our Lenten observance are the means of correcting such distortions. They can, when understood and used, rescue us from individualistic piety, from sentimentality, and from the futility of attempting to save ourselves. They will inform and enrich our prayer, fasting, and works of mercy. They will aid us in deepening our experience of the saving acts of God in the past and thereby strengthen our faith, enabling us to recognize the actions of God in our world, our culture, and our lives.

Above all, a serious and committed participation in the liturgies of Lent will enable us to discover anew the meaning of Baptism and to renew and have renewed in us what God accomplished in us when we were baptized.

Excerpted from The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 2009 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.

Holy Week

Sunday, March 20

  • Palm Sunday services at 8 and 10 AM
  • Monday, March 21

  • Evening Prayer at 7:00 PM in the church. Keeping this week holy, we offer this simple quiet evening service to remind us of our call to give thanks for God’s gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.
  • Tuesday, March 22

  • Evening Prayer at 7:00 PM in the church. Keeping this week holy, we offer this simple quiet evening service to remind us of our call to give thanks for God’s gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.
  • Wednesday, March 23

  • Tenebrae at 7:00 PM in the church. Tenebrae means “shadows” or “darkness.” That is a perfect title for a service that prepares us so well, in heart, mind, even in body, for the three days when the Light seemed to fade. It is a haunting service of readings of Scripture and psalms. The most conspicuous feature of the service is the gradual extinguishing of the candles and other lights in the church until only a single candle, considered a symbol of Christ, remains. Toward the end of the service this candle is hidden, typifying the apparent victory of the forces of evil.
  • Maundy Thursday, March 24

  • Agape Meal (click here for more information) at 6:30 PM in the parish hall. Please sign up so we know how much food to prepare. The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum which means “command.” Beginning with Jesus’ command to serve each other, the evening will begin with the ritual of hand washing and foot washing, showing us the true meaning of servant hood. Then we will gather as a faith family around a common meal where we will continue in The Breaking of the Bread and Sharing the Cup—a celebration of Holy Eucharist. At the close of this service, we will go into the Church and strip the altar while saying Psalm 22. The Blessed Sacrament will be placed in the Reserve Tabernacle in Witherington Chapel. Those who wish to stay, pray, and keep the Garden Vigil as the Apostles were asked, may do so.
  • Good Friday, March 25

    • Trinity Church will remain open for prayer, meditation, and reflection from 12 noon to 3:00 PM. Come, sit, and hear the story that brought us together as followers of Jesus.
    • At 3 PM, Deacon Clive will lead the Stations of the Cross.
    • The Good Friday Liturgy at 7:00 PM includes readings of the Passion according to St. John, praying the Solemn Collects, and with the distribution of Holy Communion which is held in reserve tabernacle. The service in the church concludes in silence.

    Sunday, March 27

  • Easter services at 8 and 10 AM