With Holy Week upon us and as we begin to return to some of our sacred services, we still have certain constraints that we must follow. While Covid has caused some limitations to these services, and you will only be joining “virtually,” there are also opportunities for you to participate as families or small groups. Our hope is that these services will draw you into a deeper and more profound encounter with The Divine.
Thursday, April 1st – The Maundy Thursday service will be livestreamed beginning at 7 p.m. This service will include many of the familiar traditions, such as Hand Washing and the stripping of the altar. There will also be a “Watch” that will go from 9 pm on Thursday to 10 am on Good Friday.
Participate in the Maundy Thursday service at home. You will need the following:
- Create a space that will accommodate the entire family.
- Pitcher(s) of warm water
- Bucket(s) or tub(s) to catch water
- You are invited to wash each other’s hands or feet during that portion of the service.
- Provided you have a Sacred Space, you are invited to “strip” your Sacred Space down to an unadorned surface.
- Sign-up for “the Watch” during the night. This can be done here and either at home or in the sanctuary.
Friday, April 2nd – Good Friday Service will be livestreamed beginning at 12 noon. This is a very solemn and simple service.
Ways to participate at home:
- Create a quiet and solemn environment to watch the service.
- If you have a favorite cross – this is the service for you to have it with you. You are invited to hold the cross and to ponder the deeps of our faith symbol.
- Watch and participate in the Stations of the Cross – Click here.
- Or participate in the Stations of the Cross at the church
Sunday, April 4th – Easter Services. There will be multiple Easter Day services to participate in.
- Sunrise Service at 6:45 am. This service will be outside and in-person at the pavilion. Please register for this service.
- Livestreamed service at 10:45 am. This service will have special music and handbells.
- Garden Service at 4 pm. This service will be outside and in-person at the Garden area. Please register for this service.
Ways to participate at home and at Church:
- Register and attend for either of the outside services (6:45 a.m. / 4 p.m.)
- If your children “buried” the Alleluias at home at the beginning of Lent, “resurrect” them before the service.
- Create a festive space to watch and interact with the livestream service (10:45 a.m.)
- After the Livestreamed Service – Come to the church, from 12 -1, for Drive-Thru Communion and Flowering of the Cross.
- Each family member can bring flowers for the Cross
- Take-home Easter crafts will be available for Sunny’s Kids (5th grade and younger)
- Share the Love that you received from God to your family and others generously.
“Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.” In this short Opening Acclamation that we will say on Easter, rests the entire Easter message. The tomb is empty, and Christ is risen. That really says it all. And while this short statement proclaims the message, it takes a lifetime to unpack its full meaning and depth. So, as you observe the wonderous signs of spring bursting forth in nature, especially in our azaleas and trees, I also hope that within each of us there is an overflowing renewal of life and love that will settle into your bones, so that you will know God’s deep abiding love for you. Have a blessed Easter. Grace & Peace, Fr. Tommy
Returning to the Sanctuary – Update:
As you know the diocese has given churches the option to have services inside and we have many groups working hard to make this happen, but we need your help with making this a reality. Volunteers are needed to assist attendees with checking in and directing people as they come into the sanctuary and again as they exit, and we also need assistance with sanitizing the space after the service.
Our plan is to return to inside services beginning on Sunday, April 11th with the 8 a.m. service ONLY. You will need to register for this service and it will only be in-person with no livestream. Our plan and hope is to have the 8 a.m. service as an in-person service for a couple weeks as we work out the logistics and then open for the 10:45 service in-person later in April.
Please be aware that we also have the added issue of non-functioning HVAC/air conditioning units for the sanctuary. We are awaiting word on a diocesan loan to replace the HVAC units Scheduling a replacement of the system may also complicate our plans to return to inside worship.
If you are interested in helping with volunteering for any of the activities to help us return safely please contact Becky Olbon or myself.
I want to thank the staff at St. Matthew’s; Charmaine, Susan, and Kyle for their diligent, dedicated, and creative work over these past several months of planning and preparing for Holy Week and Easter services. I also want to thank everyone who has taken part in the planning and preparing for these sacred and holy services, especially the members of the Worship Committee, the Altar Guild, and the Audio / Visual Team. Their dedication and devotion are unparalleled. Lastly, I would like to thank Becky Olbon for her tenacious and steadfast spirit over these last many months that have help to guide and steer this vessel we call St. Matthew’s. I am deeply grateful and honored to be serving as your priest.
Grace & Peace, Fr. Tommy
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The new Vestry went on retreat last Saturday at Jim and Susan Jung’s horse farm. We had an amazing time getting to know each other and setting goals for St. Matthew’s. In true St. Matthew’s fashion, we began the day breaking bread together and celebrating Holy Eucharist, followed by spiritual reflection.
Susan, along with her horse assistants, led us through team building exercises that helped us learn more about each other’s talents and goals. We spend the better part of our day setting goals for St. Matthew’s for the upcoming year.
The goals that we came up with for this year are as follows:
1. Reopening the Church building and making sure that everyone feels comfortable coming back to the building.
2. Structural Changes in Stewardship, youth programs, inreach and outreach ministries.
3. Communication. We all realize this is a major issue we must address.
We all love our parish, and it is going to take all of us working together for the changes to happen, not just though of us serving on the Vestry. Springtime is a time of new beginnings and new opportunities, so I challenge you to reach out to your vestry members and ask how you can get more involved.
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by Kyle Osborne, St. Matthew’s Director of Music
Music for Holy Week
As we approach Holy Week, I wanted to share some music for meditation that may not be familiar but that I feel should be more well known.
The first piece I would share is “O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sünde groß” BWV 622 from the Orgelbuchlein (Little Organ Book) by J.S. Bach (1685-1750). This piece is an organ setting of the Lutheran Chorale by German theologian and hymn writer Sebald Heyden (1499-1561). O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sünde groß” is a Passiontide Hymn based on the Four Gospels and was originally 23 stanzas. Bach choose to set the first stanza as an ornamented chorale. Bach vividly depicts the chorale text with appoggiaturas, sighs, and striking chromaticism. The text and listening link are below.
O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sünde groß,
darum Christus sein’s Vaters Schoß
äußert und kam auf Erden.
Von einer Jungfrau zart und rein
für uns er hier geboren ward,
er wollt’ der Mittler werden.
O man, thy grievous sin bemoan,
For which Christ left His Father’s throne,
From highest heaven descending.
Of Virgin pure and undefiled
He here was born, our Saviour mild,
For sin to make atonement.
“Crucifixion” from Symphonie Passion by Marcel Dupre (1886–1971) is a programmatic organ work that was originally improvised during a recital on the Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia. In this work you can hear Jesus walking to Calvary, falling along the way, the hammering, the anguish, and torment of being nailed to the cross, crying out to God before he breathes his last, his body being lowered and laid in his mother’s lap. Dupre ends quietly, in peaceful sorrow with the Stabat Mater chant.
Last year we recorded Stations of the Cross with organ interludes French organist and composer Cesar Franck (1822–1890). The results were very moving, and I would like to share them with you again this year. Here is the link.
I hope these works will enhance your Holy Week meditations.
Director of Music