Holy Week 2021

Dear friends in Christ,

For the second year in a row we are arriving at Holy Week with a good deal of uncertainty. Yes, vaccinations in Simcoe-Muskoka are starting to ramp up and indeed I know that some of you have already received your first shot. It would seem that there are brighter days ahead and for this we can give thanks.

However, this year we have made the decision to limit our in-person gatherings during Holy Week. This is unfortunate but we feel it is the right decision for the moment especially in light of some concern over increasing case numbers and hospitalisations.

Nevertheless, Holy Week is the heart of the Christian year so it is important that we make every effort, both together and apart, to observe it with reverence. The following is our plan for Holy Week 2021. Please make special note of a few things. First, there will be opportunities to gather in-person outside. When that is the case pay attention to the location! Second, our Easter Sunday liturgy will happen in two parts. Part one is online. This part of the liturgy will take us right up to point when you would receive communion. Part two is in-person outside. You will have the opportunity to come to church and receive Holy Communion outdoors on Easter Sunday. Third, the Stations of the Cross will be installed outdoors at St Paul’s for your use anytime during the week.

Palm Sunday (March 28)

  • Virtual Gathering (Facebook, website) – 10:30am

Wednesday in Holy Week (March 31)

Maundy Thursday (April 1)

Good Friday (April 2)

Easter Vigil (April 3)

  • An at home Easter Vigil (said at sundown or thereafter)
  • Download the liturgy here.
  • A couple of suggestions: 1) Wait until it is dark outside and then light a few candles on the table before turning off the lights. 2) The Vigil is the first liturgy of Easter, it’s time to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord! Prepare something special and have a party after the liturgy.

Easter Sunday (April 4)

  • Virtual Gathering (Facebook, website) – 10:30am
  • Outdoor reception of Holy Communion at St Paul’s – 11:45am – 12:00pm
  • Outdoor reception of Holy Communion at St John’s – 12:15pm – 12:30pm

Other Resources for the Observance of Holy Week

  • The Stations of the Cross: Beginning on Palm Sunday an outdoor installation of the Stations of the Cross will be set up at St Paul’s for your use at any time throughout Holy Week. The Stations will begin at the front door of the church after which you can proceed to Station 1. There are 14 stations in all. Each one will feature and image and the prayers. Alternately you may download the liturgy here for use on your device.
  • HERE is a booklet from Liturgical Press containing liturgies for home. This is not intended to replace the liturgies above when we will all gather together.
  • Holy Week activities for children HERE and HERE.
  • HERE is a link to a series of sermons on the seven last words of Christ from the Cross by the great Episcopalian preacher Fleming Rutledge. Listen to one each day in Holy Week.
  • Start praying the Daily Office at home! HERE is an instructional video and HERE is a booklet of Morning and Evening prayer.
  • HERE is a recipe for hot cross buns and HERE is an explanation of their significance.

I pray that you and your household will be transformed by the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ this Holy Week as we journey with him through the darkness of death to the joy of the Resurrection.

Yours in Christ,

Jonathan+