Easter Guide

Churches offering wide range of events for Holy Week

by W. Winston Skinner

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Jody Thrower portrays Jesus during a dress rehearsal for the Living Pictures presentation to be staged at East Newnan Baptist today and Sunday.

This coming week will be Holy Week when most Christians in the Coweta County area will be pondering Jesus’ path to the crucifixion – and March 31 will be Easter, celebrated as the day of Christ’s resurrection.

Churches in the Western tradition will celebrate Easter on March 31. Orthodox Easter will not be observed until May 5.

Coweta churches are planning a wide variety of activities as Easter approaches. This Sunday will be Palm Sunday, when Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem will be recalled.

Thursday of Holy Week is called Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday. “This is when Jesus and the disciples observed the Last Supper on the night before Jesus was crucified. It also refers to the commands Jesus gave his disciples at the Last Supper, to love with humility by serving one another and to remember his sacrifice,” said Jimmy Walker, an elder at Liberty Christian Church.

Maundy Thursday is an “important event in our Christian heritage,” Walker said.

Stripping of the altar is often part of the observance of Maundy Thursday. All candles and cloths are removed from the altar in preparation for the austere rituals of Good Friday. In some Catholic parishes, statues in the church and the body of Christ depicted on the main crucifix are covered in purple cloth.

Good Friday marks the day of Jesus’ crucifixion and death.The name for the day comes from the use of “good” to mean “holy” or “pious.” Good Friday is the primary day of penance for Catholics in the church year – a day of abstinence from meat and fasting, except for very young children and the elderly.

Tenebrae services – which recall Jesus’ sacrifice – use music, Scripture and candles. Held on Thursday, Friday or Saturday in Catholic parishes, other denominations sometimes hold Tenebrae services on other days during Holy Week.

Holy Week includes somber times for reflection and happy times with events for children. A number of churches and other organizations are hold Easter egg hunts – with prizes, snacks and fun for youngsters.

Cokes Chapel United Methodist Church near Sharpsburg will celebrate an EPIC Holy Week culminating in three services on Easter – a 7 a.m. sunrise service, a 9 a.m. traditional service and contemporary worship at 11 a.m.

“For the first time in the church’s history, we are seeking to engage our members and the public in an event leading up to the crucifixion by means of sensory involvement: sight, touch, smell and even taste,” explained Mark Jordan, the church’s pastor. To accomplish the undertaking, a self-guided participatory Stations of the Cross exhibit was developed comprising of 14 displays where individuals are encouraged to become part of the Easter miracle in a new and profound way, he said.

“Holy Week is traditionally a time of reflection, prayer and reverence, and this year we are adding a physical aspect to the observance as well,” Jordan said.

EPIC is an acronym. “The ‘E’ stands for experiential. Seeing objects associated with the crucifixion like nails, swords and other items make the Easter experience tangible in a way that words cannot,” Jordan explained.

“‘P’ stands for participatory. Our hope is families, members of Cokes Chapel, and anyone who would like to experience God’s love in a more expressive fashion will visit the Stations. ‘I’ stands for image driven. What images come to mind when you see the crown of thorns, the whip or the cross?” he added.

“Finally ‘C’ is for connecting. How did the events leading to Easter Sunday change the world and the lives of those who have found hope in Christ – based on how are we connected to the events of 2,000 years ago?” he concluded.

Jordan said he hopes people will come away from the Stations of the Cross experience with a deeper understanding of Holy Week and the hope of Easter morning.

Cokes Chapel’s Stations of the Cross display will be open Wednesday-Friday from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Holy Communion will be offered at noon each day in the church’s sanctuary. Evening tours will be available on Wednesday from 5:30-8 p.m., and Thursday and Friday from 5:30-7 p.m.

Jordan said the event is appropriate for children and families.

Some preparations for Holy Week and Easter events have been ongoing for months, and extra work has been done to prepare church buildings and grounds for visitors during the Easter season.

Members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church held their Spring Work Day on March 16. Volunteers planted an assortment of shrubs and a tree or two. Flower beds to the right of the sidewalk at the main entrance and the Memorial Garden were the focal points.

On the afternoon of March 16, members of Providence Baptist Church on Providence Church Road gathered to deliver Easter invitations to residents in the area around the church.

Churches have also held a variety of events during Lent, the weeks leading up to Easter. Ecumenical Lenten services – starting on Ash Wednesday – have been held for several years.

A Lenten Retreat for women was held at the Cathedral of Christ the King near Sharpsburg, with the theme, “Opening Our Hearts to the Father.” The retreat leader was Bonnie Bar, an associate professor of nursing at the University of West Georgia.

Bar, who lives in Carrollton, is also president of the Jehovah Rapha Chapter of the International Order of St. Luke the Physician.

Attending the retreat from Sharpsburg were Leta Dickinson, Donna Turner and Nancy Wine. Attending from Peachtree City were Stephanie Hale, Nancy Handley, Lisa McDonald and Peggy Nelson.

Cecily Johnson and Diane Williams were the Newnanites participating. Attendees from Senoia were Lois Caputo, Karen Hennessy, Angela Northrup.

Also attending were Sue Brockman from Temple, Roberta Furlong from Fayetteville and Marion Wilton from Palmetto.

Events on church calendars for the days leading to Easter include:

TODAY, MARCH 23

• Community Easter Egg Hunt, Colley Park, Grantville, 10 a.m. Free. Ages 13 and younger. Easter basket drawing – for one boy and one girl – after the hunt. Tickets for drawing are $1 donation available at the Grantville Veteran’s Thrift Store downtown.

• Egg Hunt, Bexton Road Baptist Church, Moreland, 11 a.m.

• Egg Hunt, Sunnyside Baptist Church, 1-3 p.m.

• Palm Sunday Vigil Mass, St. George Catholic Church, 5:30 p.m. Preceded by procession from the Parish Memorial Garden. Palm fronds will be blessed at the beginning of each of the four masses at St. George’s today and Sunday.

• The Christ, The Cross, The Crown – Living Pictures of Easter 2013, East Newnan Baptist Church, 6 p.m. June Harris of East Newnan Baptist said the presentation by the church’s music ministry will offer attendees the opportunity to “see Easter come alive on stage and hear music that sets the tone for what Easter is all about.” Bobby Stevenson, the church’s minister of music, “puts his whole heart into the production,” Harris said. “Our choir and cast are much encouraged by him and his expertise.”

PALM SUNDAY, MARCH 24

• Holy Eucharist/Blessing of the Palms, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 8 a.m.

• Palm Sunday Mass, St. George Catholic Church, 8 a.m.

• Holy Communion/Festival of Palms Liturgy, Word of God Lutheran Church, Peachtree City, 8:15 a.m.

• Palm Sunday Worship, Newnan Presbyterian Church, 8:30 a.m.

• Palm Sunday Communion, Resurrection Lutheran Church, 8:30 a.m.

• Palm Sunday Mass, St. George Catholic Church, 10 a.m. Preceded by procession from the Parish Memorial Garden.

• Holy Eucharist/Blessing of the Palms, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 10:30 a.m.

• Palm Sunday Service, Central Baptist Church, 10:55 a.m. The Music Makers will sing “For the Beauty of the Earth,” and the Young Musicians will sing “All Glory, Laud and Honor.” Jim Qualls will sing a solo, “Behold the Man.”

• Palm Sunday Worship, Newnan Presbyterian Church, 10:55 a.m.

• Palm Sunday Communion, Resurrection Lutheran Church, 11 a.m.

• Palm Sunday Communion, Sunnyside Baptist Church, 11 a.m.

• Holy Communion/Festival of Palms Liturgy, Word of God Lutheran Church, Peachtree City, 11 a.m.

• “Canticle of the Cross,” cantata, Hopewell United Methodist Church, Tyrone, 11 a.m.

• Spanish Palm Sunday Mass, St. George Catholic Church, noon. Preceded by procession from the Parish Memorial Garden.

• Egg Hunt, Cornerstone United Methodist Church, 3-5 p.m. Ages infant-fifth grade are invited. “The egg hunt will begin promptly at 3, followed by games and crafts,” according to Ann Warren of Cornerstone.

• The Christ, The Cross, The Crown – Living Pictures of Easter 2013, East Newnan Baptist Church, 6 p.m.

• Palm/Passion Sunday Taizé, sanctuary, First United Methodist Church, Newnan, 6:30 p.m.

MONDAY, MARCH 25

• Lenten Mass, St. George Catholic Church, 8:30 a.m.

• Lenten Eucharistic Adoration, St. George Catholic Church, 9 a.m.-noon.

• Lenten Eucharistic Adoration, St. George Catholic Church, 6-9 p.m.

TUESDAY, MARCH 26

• Lenten Mass, St. George Catholic Church, 8:30 a.m.

• Lenten Eucharistic Adoration, St. George Catholic Church, 9 a.m.-noon.

• Chrism Mass, Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, 10:30 a.m. Archbishop Wilton Gregory will be celebrating the mass, which wil be attended by priests from all parishes in the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta.

Catholic priests in all parishes use consecrated oils for administering Sacraments. Three different oils will be consecrated by the archbishop: the oil of catechumens, used mainly for baptism; chrism, used in the baptism, confirmation and Holy Orders or ordination of a priest; and the oil of the sick, used for anointing people who are ill or near death.

Only pure olive oil is consecrated, but for the chrism, a small amount of aromatic balm or balsam is added. The Chrism Mass is historically celebrated on Holy Thursday, but may be moved earlier in Holy Week.

After the Chrism Mass, the attending priests bring small containers of each of the three oils back to each parish.

• Lenten Eucharistic Adoration, St. George Catholic Church, 6-9 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27

• Lenten Mass, St. George Catholic Church, 8:30 a.m.

• Lenten Eucharistic Adoration, St. George Catholic Church, 9 a.m.-noon.

• Stations of the Cross, Cokes Chapel United Methodist Church, Sharpsburg, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

• Holy Communion, Cokes Chapel United Methodist Church, Sharpsburg, noon.

• Tour of Stations of the Cross, Cokes Chapel United Methodist Church, Sharpsburg, 5:30-8 p.m.

• Community Lenten Service, Central Baptist Church, noon. This is the final service in a series presented throughout Lent. Med Roach, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church, will be preaching. There will be an offering for Coweta Samaritan Clinic, and lunch will be available for $5.

• Lenten Eucharistic Adoration, St. George Catholic Church, 6-9 p.m.

• Service of Healing, sanctuary, First United Methodist Church, Newnan, 6:30 p.m. There will be music by the church’s chancel choir.

• Tenebrae, Central Baptist Church, 6:30 p.m. The chancel choir will lead in worship with anthems, solos and ensembles.

• Lenten Service, Resurrection Lutheran Church, 7 p.m.

MAUNDY THURSDAY, MARCH 28

• Stations of the Cross, Cokes Chapel United Methodist Church, Sharpsburg, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

• Holy Communion, Cokes Chapel United Methodist Church, Sharpsburg, noon.

• Tour of Stations of the Cross, Cokes Chapel United Methodist Church, Sharpsburg, 5:30-7 p.m.

• Maundy Thursday Seder, Resurrection Lutheran Church, 6 p.m.

• Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper/Washing of Feet, St. George Catholic Church, 6:30 p.m.

• Maundy Thursday Service, Liberty Christian Church, 6:45 p.m. “We will have a light dinner at 5:45 p.m.,” Walker said.

• Maundy Thursday Communion, sanctuary, First United Methodist Church, 7 p.m.

• Maundy Thursday, Newnan Presbyterian Church, 7 p.m. The sanctuary choir will lead the service.

• Maundy Thursday Service, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 7 p.m. The traditional service will include Holy Communion and a foot-washing ritual for those who wish to participate. Melanie Stanley-Soulen, pastor of Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Lone Oak, will be preaching. Stanley-Soulen has had a counseling office at St. Paul’s for 10 years.

• Maundy Thursday, Cokes Chapel United Methodist Church, Sharpsburg, 7 p.m.

• Maundy Thursday, Word of God Lutheran Church, Peachtree City, 7 p.m. Joan Secor said this will be a “Holy Communion service, including the stripping of the altar at the conclusion of the service.” There also will be “special music by the choir,” she said.

• Maundy Thursday, Hopewell United Methodist Church, Tyrone, 7 p.m.

• Spanish – Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper/Washing of Feet, St. George Catholic Church, 8 p.m. Led by Father Jerome Chavarria, C.Ss.R, visiting from Florida.

GOOD FRIDAY, MARCH 29

• Stations of the Cross, Cokes Chapel United Methodist Church, Sharpsburg, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

• Family Communion, Central Baptist Church, sanctuary, noon-1 p.m., 3-6 p.m.

• Holy Communion, Cokes Chapel United Methodist Church, Sharpsburg, noon.

• Prayer Service, First United Methodist Church, Newnan, noon.

• Seven Last Words, St. George Catholic Church, noon. Father Henry Atem, the church’s pastor, will share reflections on the seven last words of Jesus on the Cross.

• Good Friday Liturgy, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, noon. Stations of the Cross, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, starting after the noon service and continuing throughout the day Friday and Saturday. Seminarian Lee Curtis will lead a guided liturgy and walk immediately following the noon service.

• Tenebrae, St. George Catholic Church, 1 p.m. The service will be a combination of the Office of Readings and Midday Prayer from Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours. There will be hymns and readings from Psalms, Hebrews and from Isaiah 53, which is sometimes called the last of the Songs of the Suffering Servant. There also will be a catechesis – or religious instruction – originating with a father of the early church, John Chrysostom.

Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours is an ancient prayer, dating from prayers offered at the Temple in Jerusalem by Peter and John, two of Jesus’ apostles.

• Stations of the Cross, St. George Catholic Church, 2 p.m.

• Passion Play in Spanish, St. George Catholic Church, 3:30 p.m. This will be a live presentation of the Stations of the Cross.

• Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and Death, St. George Catholic Church, 5 p.m.

• Tour of Stations of the Cross, Cokes Chapel United Methodist Church, Sharpsburg, 5:30-7 p.m.

• Good Friday Service, Northside Baptist Church, 6:30 p.m.

• The Seven Last Words from the Cross, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Pinson Street, 7 p.m. Different pastors will speak on Jesus’ seven final sayings from the cross. The service will also be a tribute to Willie Johnson, the church’s longtime pastor, who died in December. Refreshments will be served.

• Good Friday Service, Resurrection Lutheran Church, 7 p.m.

• Spanish Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and Death, St. George Catholic Church, 7 p.m.

• Good Friday Service, Cokes Chapel United Methodist Church, Sharpsburg, 7 p.m.

• Good Friday Service, Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, Lone Oak, 7 p.m.

• Good Friday Worship, Word of God Lutheran Church, Peachtree City, 7 p.m. Secor said the service will offer “traditional liturgy of prayer and commitment.”

SATURDAY, MARCH 30

• Egg Hunt, Carl Miller Park, 10 a.m. Sponsored by First Baptist Church of Newnan.

• Egg Hunt, St. George Catholic Church, 10 a.m.

• Egg Hunt/Fun Day, New Friendship Baptist Church, Greenville, 10 a.m. Food and games are planned.

• Spring Festival, Welcome Road Baptist Church, 11 a.m. Pastor Dan Odom said there will be an egg hunt and a cookout. This event was originally set to be held today, but has been rescheduled.

• Egg Hunt, First Baptist Church, Moreland, 11 a.m. Volunteers will hide “over 7,000 eggs,” said Daniel Ausbun, pastor of the church.

• Blessing of Food for Family Meals, St. George Catholic Church, 11 a.m.

• Old Fashioned Family Fun Day, Elim Baptist Church, Handy Road, noon-3 p.m. Kathy Justiss, a member of the church’s outreach and discipleship committee, said there will be games, a picnic and an egg hunt.

• Egg Hunt, Providence Baptist Church, Providence Church Road, 2 p.m.

• Egg Hunt, New Hope Church, Wooster/Greenville, 2 p.m.

• Easter Vigil, St. George Catholic Church, 8 p.m. Atem with light a new fire from which the solitary, large, blessed Easter candle will be lit.

• Great Vigil of Easter with incense, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 10:30 p.m.

• Spanish Easter Vigil, St. George Catholic Church, 11 p.m. Bishop Luis Zarama, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta will lead the service. New members will be received at both Easter Vigil services.

EASTER, MARCH 31

• Outdoor Sunrise Service, Resurrection Lutheran Church, 7 a.m.

• Sunrise Service, Greenville Street Park, 7 a.m. A light breakfast will follow in the parish hall of First United Methodist Church.

• Sunrise Service, Sunnyside Baptist Church, 7 a.m. Linda Pike said there will be “breakfast served afterwards.”

• Sunrise Service, Northside Baptist Church, 7 a.m.

• Sunrise Service, Crest Lawn Memorial Park, Atlanta, 7 a.m. Dr. Brian Wright will bring the message, and refreshments will be served. Breathtaking vistas from one of the highest points in the city will be on view while a pianist performs.

• Sunrise Service, New Hope Church, Wooster/Greenville, 7 a.m. Clint Whitlock, son of the church’s pastor, Kenneth Whitlock, will be preaching. Breakfast will follow the service.

• Sunrise Service, Luthersville United Methodist Church, 7:30 a.m.

• Sunrise Service, Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, Lone Oak, 7:30 a.m.

• Sunrise Service, Resurrection Garden, Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens, College Park, 7:30 a.m. Thomas Houston will bring the message, and refreshments will be provided.

• Sunrise Service, Bexton Road Baptist Church, Moreland, 8 a.m.

• Easter Mass, St. George Catholic Church, 8 a.m.

• Festal Holy Eucharist with music, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 8 a.m.

• Testimonial Service, East Newnan Baptist Church, 8 a.m. Harris said continental breakfast is scheduled at 9 a.m.

• Holy Communion/Easter Music, Word of God Lutheran Church, Peachtree City, 8:15 a.m.

• Easter Holy Communion, Resurrection Lutheran Church, 8:30 a.m.

• Easter Worship, Newnan Presbyterian Church, 8:30 a.m. The Flowering of the Cross will follow.

• “It is Finished,” cantata, First Baptist Church, Moreland, 8:30 a.m.

• Egg Hunt, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 9:15 a.m. Participants will gather near the outdoor altar. The hunt is for ages 10 and younger and is sponsored by the youth of St. Paul’s.

• Easter Communion, Liberty Christian Church, 10 a.m. “We will have a breakfast for all who want to attend at 9 a.m.,” Walker said.

The communion service will be “open to anyone who wants to participate” and will be part of a “wonderful worship experience and fellowship,” he said.

Mary Jane Miles said the service will include “special music by The Liberty Singers.”

• Easter Mass, St. George Catholic Church, 10 a.m.

• Easter Service/Program, Providence Baptist Church, Summers-McKoy Road, 10 a.m. Egg hunt to follow.

• Festal Holy Eucharist with incense, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 10:30 a.m.

• “Let Your Glory Shine!,” musical message, Ramah First Baptist Church, Palmetto, 10:30 a.m.

• Easter Worship, Central Baptist Church, 10:55 a.m. Worshippers will bring flowers from their yards to decorate a cross in front of the sanctuary. A string quartet will play during the service. The choir will sing “Alleluias” and “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”

• Easter Worship, Newnan Presbyterian Church, 10:55 a.m. The Flowering of the Cross will follow.

• Easter Holy Communion, Resurrection Lutheran Church, 11 a.m.

• “Grace That Amazes,” cantata, White Oak First Baptist Church, 11 a.m. The Easter musical was created by Claire Cloninger and arranged and orchestrated by Lari Gos.

• “It is Finished,” cantata, First Baptist Church, Moreland, 11 a.m.

• Holy Communion/Easter Music, Word of God Lutheran Church, Peachtree City, 11 a.m.

• Easter Program, Bethel Heard Baptist Church, Franklin, 11 a.m.

• Fantastic Fifth Sunday, Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, Lone Oak, 11 a.m. The church is planning special services for each fifth Sunday in 2013. For Easter, there will be an emphasis on children. Ally Montgomery, 4, will sing “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”

• Spanish Easter Mass, St. George Catholic Church, noon.

• Easter Program, Elim Baptist Church, Bud Davis Road, 3 p.m. An egg hunt will follow the service.

EASTER MONDAY, APRIL 1

• Mass, St. George Catholic Church, 8:30 a.m. followed by Eucharistic Adoration until noon, and also from 6-9 p.m. Catholics will begin the liturgical season of Easter which lasts for 50 days until it Pentecost, which is May 19 this year.



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