Holy Week at Christ Church: Join Us

Christ Episcopal Church flings open its doors during Holy Week to parishioners and newcomers, inviting all to experience the heights of joy and the depths of despair that are integral to contemplating the passion of Christ. 


Sunday, April 14, 8:15 and 10 AM, modified service 5:30 PM

We begin the first service of Holy Week in jubilation, waving our palms, joyfully singing songs of praise to Jesus.  Like our counterparts nearly 2000 years ago, we celebrate his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Before we know it, however, we find ourselves in the midst of a mob-inspired execution, carried out by the Roman authorities. We are invited to contemplate how we in our lives have betrayed the Jesus we profess to follow.  It is painful, almost unbearable. This theological whiplash reminds us of the reality of the Crucifixion, in all its gruesome terror. For many who will not be able to take part in a service on Good Friday, the Palm Sunday Passion is the primary liturgical reminder of the depth of Jesus’ agony, and the suffering in our own lives and wider world.


Wednesday, April 17, 7 AM

In the Main Church we walk through the last weeks of Jesus life, pausing and contemplating at each of the 14 points along the Way of the Cross, from his condemnation to burial in the tomb.


Thursday, April 18: Simple Supper at 6:30 PM, Service at 7 PM

We remember Jesus’ last meal with his disciples, and his command to “do this in remembrance of me,” establishing the Eucharist as a primary worship practice to deepen love of God and neighbor. “Maundy” is from the Latin word for “command” or “mandate.” We share a simple meal, and wash one another’s feet (or hands), as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, a symbol of love and humility in imitation of his example. Worship in the Chancel of the Main Church.


Thursday, April 18, 8 PM – Friday, April 19, noon

Held in the Chapel immediately following the Maundy Thursday service, tradition invites us to sit with Jesus, who is present in the Bread and Wine that has just been consecrated. Here in a symbolic Garden of Gethsemene, we sit fighting the sleep that Peter and the others could not resist. Jesus sought companionship and God’s strength as he struggled with the reality of his impending death, death that came for his willingness to stand for God’s love and justice in the face of all the forces arrayed against him and his movement. In the silence of the Vigil, we have the opportunity to contemplate our own struggles to be faithful to God’s call. Sign-up is in the Upper Parish Hall. There are hourly increments until the Good Friday service at noon on Friday.


Friday, April 19, noon

Held in the Chancel of the Main Church, we reflect on the significance of Jesus’ Crucifixion, using the Liturgy from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. With prayers, hymns, scripture readings, the presentation of the Passion Narrative from the Gospel of John, a brief homily, and Communion, we seek the deeper meaning of the Cross for our lives and for a wider world littered with evidence of human brokenness.


Friday at 7:30 PM

Held in the main church, the service is presented primarily in darkness to encourage us to reflect in depth on the meaning of Jesus’ death primarily through vocal and choral offerings of sacred music interspersed with Scripture readings and dramatic renderings of his final moments. This service is suitable for older children.


Saturday, April 20 at 7:30 PM, at St. Paul’s Church in Dedham

The oldest Christian liturgy, the Great Vigil is the first Eucharist of Easter. Beginning in total darkness, the new fire of Easter fire is lit. Interspersed with hymns, the story of salvation is recounted from Scripture, leading to the triumphant proclamation, “Alleluia, he is risen” with candles, bells and other noisemakers. This service includes The Exultet, an ancient hymn of Exultation (chanted by the Reverend Nick Morris Kliment, a homily (preached by the Revereend Mary Scott Miller) and the Eucharist (celebrated by the Reverend Melanie McCarley, Rector of St. Paul’s) followed by informal but festive fellowship in the Parish Hall of St. Paul’s at 59 Court St., Dedham. The service is a joint activity of Christ Church and St. Paul’s.


Sunday, April 21, at 9 AM and 11 AM

Held in Christ Church’s main sanctuary, this service is an expression of our joy and gratitude for Jesus’ Resurrection. With Scripture readings, hymns, choral anthems, festive instruments, a sermon and the Eucharist, we affirm our trust that Jesus is alive and active in our lives and in the world, giving us strength and power to love God and neighbor, as Jesus teaches.