Easter memories linger in Coweta
by W. Winston Skinner
“Easter was when Hope in person surprised the whole world by coming forward from the future into the present.”
Anglican scholar N.T. Wright’s words – in “Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church” – bring out the timeless nature of Easter for Christians.
Easter was April 20, and the weeks leading up to the day when Christian celebrate the resurrection of Jesus were filled with holy days and unique experiences. In many Christian traditions, the celebration of Easter continues through Ascension Day on May 29 and then Pentecost on June 8.
Lent, the weeks leading up to Easter, is generally a time for reflection and sacrifice. Ash Wednesday, which reminds worshippers of their mortality, starts Lent. The day before is Shrove Tuesday, when some churches hold pancake suppers to use up rich foods that will be avoided during Lent.
Three Rings, the youth ministry at the Cathedral of Christ the King near Sharpsburg, held an all-you-can-eat pancake and bacon dinner on Shrove Tuesday this year. The fundraiser netted more than $300 “for a couple of hour work,” Bishop David Epps said.
“The youth did set-up, cooked, served and cleaned up,” Epps said.
Churches recalled Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, a week before Easter.
The days between Palm Sunday and Easter had many special events. Maundy Thursday pays tribute to the inauguration of the Lord’s Supper, and Good Friday remembers the Crucifixion. Providence Baptist Church on Providence Church Road held communion as part of its Good Friday service.
Southwest Christian Church held a Good Friday candlelight communion service in the cafeteria at Arbor Springs Elementary School.
Many churches sponsored Easter egg hunts for children – some on Saturday before Easter. Many egg hunts also featured a meal and arts or recreation activities.
Students from the University of West Georgia volunteered to do a variety of outreach projects for the Big Event, one of the largest, one-day, student-run service projects in the nation, on April 12. One of the projects involved students hiding Easter eggs at First United Methodist Church in Carrollton.
Many churches had special music on or near Easter. The children’s choir presented “Risen Today, Happy Day” on Easter. There were more than 120 at the early service and more than 180 at the later one.
Richard Patterson was guest musician at both services at St. Paul Episcopal Church on Easter. Patterson is professor of philosophy at Emory University.
He and his wife, Cindy, professor of history at Emory, are long-time friends of the Allan Sandlin, the rector at St. Paul’s. The Pattersons are both founding members of the Emory Chamber Players, a musical group Sandlin has performed with off and on since 1985.
Another Easter tradition is flowering of the cross. People bring fresh flowers which are placed in wire on a cross. Among the churches where flowering of the cross was part of Easter were Central Baptist Church, First United Methodist Church of Newnan, Newnan Presbyterian Church and New Hope Baptist Church at 3989 Corinth Rd.