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St John the Baptist Parish Church

Vicar's Column - April 2019

By Church Office St John the Baptist Parish Church

Monday, 1 April 2019

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St John the Baptist Parish Church Contributor

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Easter falls relatively late this year, which means that the schools have their holidays before the event. It feels to me a bit like having the honeymoon before the wedding (as can happen when couples opt for a package to wed abroad). The sooner the day of Easter is set the better, but I can’t see that happening anytime soon. So it is important that we do not lose sight of the whole meaningful drama that occurs before Easter itself. 

As Holy Week approaches, the atmosphere of the Lenten season darkens; the readings begin to anticipate the story of Christ’s suffering and death. The reading of the Passion Narrative gave to the Fifth Sunday its name of Passion Sunday. The sixth Sunday is Palm Sunday which marks the start of Holy week. We hope you are able share in the drama of the week in order to benefit from the full impact of the Easter celebrations. The key events are as follows: 

Palm Sunday: Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. We receive palm crosses to remind us of the palms thrown in front of the donkey on which he rode. A procession enters the church, where the events of Holy Week in Jerusalem are celebrated, shouting “Hosanna” like the crowd accompanying Jesus and his disciples. 

Maundy Thursday: The day of the last supper and Christ’s betrayal and arrest. It includes thanksgiving of the Lord’s Supper; the ceremonial washing of disciples’ feet in obedience to our Lord’s command to love and serve one another; the stripping of altars and descent into darkness as Jesus goes out from the upper room to be betrayed, deserted and arrested in the garden of Gethsemane. The congregation disperses in silence but the Gethsemane vigil begins before a candle-lit altar laden with flowers.

Good Friday: The proclamation of Christ’s death upon the cross. We are confronted with a bare church and a wooden cross with a crown of thorns. In the morning there will be a Churches Together all-age service at Crowthorne Methodist Church, followed by a walk of witness via the high street and Morgan Rec. concluding at the Baptist Church for hot cross buns. In the afternoon, there will be a Choral meditation before the cross, based upon the RCSM Lift High the Crossliturgy at St John’s. 

Easter Eve: The beginning of Easter. The light of Christ, represented by the paschal candle, emerges from the darkness and fills the church. In some churches there is special liturgy on the evening of Holy Saturday or at a dawn service. During such services there is a thanksgiving for the resurrection and renewal of baptismal vows. At St John’s, the service of light is combined with the first service of Easter Day, a sung Eucharist at 8am…

Easter Day: The greatest of all Christian festivals. The risen Christ is known, as at Emmaus, in the breaking of bread. The “Alleluia” banished in Lent returns in full glory: “Alleluia, Christ is Risen!” The Easter garden is blessed (at the 10.30 am service) and we enjoy Easter eggs, a symbol of the new life that Christ gives.

Revd Dr Lisa Cornwell

Contact Information

Church Office

Find St John the Baptist Parish Church

Waterloo Road, Crowthorne, Berkshire, RG45 7NT

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Additional Information

There is ample parking along Waterloo Road, and around the back of the Church on the unmade road Church Street.