Holy Week: The Great Vigil of Easter

Date: Saturday, March 26
Time: 8 pm
Location: Church

Elaborate and dramatic, the Easter Eve service appeals to all the senses as we recount salvation history, celebrate baptisms, and revel in the saving power of God’s great mercy. Please note that there will be incense at this service.

More about the Great Easter Vigil

Scene One: 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 from the prayers and confessions of the congregation, 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.

Scene Two: Salvation History

Several Old Testament lessons are now read. The account of the Israelites’ crossing 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, to symbolize 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.

Scene Three: 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 where, 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.

Scene Four: Resurrection

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.