Occasion services are held to ask for healing for ourselves and others. They are usually small and informal. We are encouraged to seek support in difficult times from others in the community and from God.
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent which is the period of forty days before Easter. Since the date of Easter changes each year, so does the date of Ash Wednesday, but is usually in February or March. We have a service in the evening, usually held in Loper Chapel, with music, prayers, a meditation, and then the powerful ritual of receiving a cross drawn in ashes on the forehead or hands.
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, begins our observance of Holy Week. This day celebrates Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover. Stories in the Bible tell us that the people threw palms and their cloaks down in the path before Jesus to honor his journey. We celebrate, too, with palms and a wonderful process of children and adults, and a giant Jesus puppet and donkey.
The Maundy Thursday service is also part of the Holy Week Observance. We celebrate with a simple meal and service in the Large Assembly, and then we have the option of having our hands or feet washed, in the same way that Jesus washed the feet of his friends at the Last Supper.
Good Friday is commemorated with a service to acknowledge the time that Jesus hung on the cross. The service is sometimes in the afternoon and sometimes in the evening.
Easter Sunday is a grand celebration on Sunday morning of the resrurection of Jesus. The music is glorious and often includes special musicians, we sing the Hallelujah chorus, then gather for a special fellowship time after the service.
We have two services the night before Christmas, one for families early in the evening and the other a candlelight serve later on.
Pentecost is often described as the “birthday” of the church, because it marks the occasion after Jesus’ resurrection when his followers were filled with a holy spirit. It is a day of celebration, and red is the color of the day. It occurs on a Sunday in May or early June.