From ancient Christian ritual to contemporary celebration, St. Peter’s Episcopal, Salisbury’s downtown church, welcomes the community to visit during this holy time of the year.
“This is the most important time of the year in our liturgical calendar,” said Father David Michaud, St. Peter’s Rector. “We offer services and activities for both the individual and family worshipper. These range from prayers more than a thousand years old which still resonate with spiritual seekers, to contemporary services appealing to parents who want to introduce children to the strength and joy found in faith.”
“Tradition has much less of a hold today. That’s why churches such as St. Peter’s are inviting those of different denominations to visit. We enjoy seeing new faces who like to explore and may have fresh ideas to share,” he said. Father David, with Assistant Rector Adele Hatfield, are leading prayer and services throughout the week. Below is a listing of events April 12-21:
Friday, April 12
Stations of the Cross 7 p.m. One of the most ancient and revered devotions, in this short, half-hour service, prayers accompany a series of images depicting Jesus on his way to the crucifixion.
Sunday, April 14
Blessing of the Palms 7:45, 9 and 11 a.m., officially marks the start of Holy Week. Palm branches symbolize goodness and victory, and celebrate Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem as a prince of peace, not war. St. Luke’s Passion will be read. Participants will receive a blessed palm.
Thursday, April 18
Maundy Thursday 7 p.m., initiates the period in Christian tradition that commemorates the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. The ceremony includes foot washing that preceded his Last Supper. After Holy Communion the altar will be stripped and St. Peter’s triptych above the altar closed until Easter.
Friday, April 19
Good Friday noon, commemorates Christ’s crucifixion. The Episcopal service includes the Solemn Collects (among the most ancient prayers of the Christian church), Veneration of the Cross, and the Passion of St. John (sung by the ministers).
Friday, April 19
Third Friday’s Good Friday Fish Fry 5-7 p.m. As part of downtown’s Third Friday, St. Peter’s serves fish sandwiches instead of its traditional franks and burgers. The nave will be open for quiet contemplation.
Saturday, April 20
Great Vigil of Easter 8 p.m. Beginning with a new fire in the courtyard, followed by a candlelit procession into the church, God’s saving deeds are read from the Old Testament scriptures, followed by baptism and the first Eucharist of Easter.
Sunday, April 21
Easter 7:30, 9 and 11 a.m. Each service has a different tenor, from a simple, early ceremony; to the festive later services. Children’s Easter egg hunt is at 10:15am followed by a traditional high Episcopal Easter Eucharist with full choir, brass, timpani and organ.