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Elaborate and dramatic, this service utilizes all the senses as we
recount salvation history and revel in the saving power of God’s
great mercy. There will be incense at this service.
The New Fire
The service begins outside in the Garden of Remembrance (east of
the Chapel) shortly after the sun has set. A fire is kindled and the
Paschal Candle is lit from this fire. Candles held by the congregation
are lit. The procession moves into the darkened church behind the
Paschal Candle. An ancient hymn, the Exsultet, is sung.
Several Old Testament lessons are now read. The account of the
Israelites’ crossing of the Red Sea is given particular attention since
this event is at the center of the Jewish Passover. Christians believe
Christ, in his death and resurrection, symbolizes the Passover
Lamb. Each reading is followed by a hymn and a collect relating
what has been read in the Old Testament to the Mystery of Christ.
Baptisms and the Renewal of Baptismal Vows
Since the earliest days of the church, Easter Eve has always been
a time set aside for baptisms in which by God’s grace, we baptize
people into a new life of Christ. Even when there are no baptisms,
we remember our own initiation into the body of Christ through
water and the Holy Spirit as we recite the Baptismal Covenant and
say the prayers read at our own baptism.
After the baptism and/or the renewal of baptismal vows, the
Presider calls out “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” Then the lights come
on, the organ and brass ensemble lead us in an eruption of song,
and bells are rung with great fanfare!
You are encouraged to bring your own bells from home
and join in the ruckus!
Cow bells, sleigh bells, hand bells, Christmas bells.
Any bell will do!
Or borrow a bell as you enter the church.
The service then continues with the first festive Eucharist of Easter,
followed by a dessert reception in the Great Hall.