Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Holy Week Resources and Schedule


Holy Week at Home

I.Online Resources for Worship                   


Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday

 -For Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday we have been invited to join with our brothers and sisters from across the Diocese and beyond (literally with Episcopalians from all over the United States) for a very special time of ‘coming together’ along The Way of Love. Presiding Michael Curry will be the guest Preacher at the Palm Sunday service.

Washington National Cathedral –  https://cathedral.org/online/


  • 11: 15 AM Palm Sunday • April 5, 2020, Holy Eucharist with Liturgy of the Palms
  • 7PM Maundy Thursday •April 9, 2020, Holy Eucharist with Stripping of the Altar
  • ·       12Noon Good Friday •  April 10, 2020 Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday
  • 11:15 AM Easter Sunday April 12, 2020, Holy Eucharist Celebrating the Resurrection


Christ Episcopal Church Luray will be hosting pre-recorded offerings of:

  • Noontime prayer M-F of Holy Week
  • Sunday evening bedtime stories followed by Compline


These will be posted on Christ Church Luray’s Facebook page.  Note that the Bedtime story posts being available by 5 pm Sunday afternoons allowing families to tune in whenever it fits best for your family’s schedule


II. Resources for Building Faith At Home–  This a wonderful online ministry of Virginia Theological Seminary (www.buildfaith.org). Below please find three great examples of articles from Building Faith At Home, all focused on helping families plan and prepare for Holy Week at Home. More can be found on their site under the heading; ‘Seasonal Resources’: 


Article #1:  Observing Lent In The Home . Emily Watkins

 When I was working as a children’s pastor, I became very aware that I had my little flock of children for only two hours a week. That left 166 hours unaccounted for. I wondered both as a minister and a new mom, “How could Christian development flourish in this larger space of time, when children are with their parents and other care givers?” For the past six years, I have been home with my own little flock (now four little boys 0-8). As a family, we journey daily in our exploration of Christian development.


The tool that I am most grateful for is the church year. I long for my children to feel part of the biblical story. I want them to know that this story begins before them and ends after them; they are part of God’s kingdom right now. The church year invites us into this story, giving us an opportunity to imaginatively enter the past, present and future of this story.


While the days begin to lengthen, we enter into the season of Lent. While the light is returning we unsettlingly prepare ourselves for the darkest day in the Christian calendar: Good Friday. Lent is traditionally a time of penitence, fasting and repentance as we ready ourselves to remember the darkest day in human history: the day that Christ was crucified. It is true and important that Easter is coming and that this journey will not end in death but in eternal life; the ultimate joy. But I do not think that we can fully enter into a celebration of Easter without first journeying toward and through the crucifixion.


Create A Lenten Prayer Space

In a family with small children, how do you create the space to journey through Lent in a developmentally appropriate way? Our family has tried different practices and readings through Lent, but one thing has been constant in our Lenten practices: creating a collection of symbolic items in a central place in the home (i.e. on the family table or on a stand in a main living area).


As my boys grow and our family changes, this sacred space changes.  Items I always include are a candle, a cross, an empty bowl to represent fasting, a scripture passage and/or prayer, and a small Bible. All of these items are placed on a purple cloth. We’ve also included a poem, art postcard or alms tin some years.


These items are helpful as talking points with children. They serve as a guide to other disciplines you choose to take on as a family. As you explore and explain the items, children wonder in ways that also help you to journey through Lent together. A variety of items, and giving room for questions and conversation, allows for differentiation in meeting everyone’s needs and understandings.


Candle: Always a symbol of God’s presence with us. I often say as I light the candle, “We light the candle to remind us that God is with us in this place, at this time.”


Purple cloth: For children who traveled through advent, the purple of lent will be familiar as a color for a time of waiting. Use a circle calendar of the church year to show the children that we are in Lent, waiting for the great feast of Easter.


Empty bowl: Explain that we fast so that we have more time or energy to remember to talk to God during Lent. We are getting ready for the great mystery of Easter. Older children can be encouraged to write down something they want to fast from and place the paper in the bowl.


Scripture, poem, or prayer: This can be written on cards that can be read liturgically (we’ve found every night at dinner works well for our rhythm). The Good Shepherd of Psalm 23 is a wonderful image to meditate on with young children.


Cross: Take time to look at the cross together and talk about the crucifixion and the resurrection.


 Article #2. An Interactive Holy Week For Children . by Anne-Marie Miller

 These sensory and interactive elements help them to truly view themselves as part of the story and as people of God.  


Our special Holy Week activities for children enable us to enter and explore the great mystery with all of our senses and with the luxury of extra time for questions and for exploration. We see that our children’s narrative understanding is richer; many also attend some of the evening service and have been more fully able to participate and understand how the different pieces of the story fit together. 


 Maundy Thursday: Foot Washing, Meal, Prayer Garden                                                           We observe Maundy Thursday with our children in a program before the evening service. For each of the three parts, we start with a retelling of scripture and follow with a participatory action to connect Jesus’ story with their own lives. 

 We tell the story of the Last Supper, and talk about Jesus washing his apostle’s feet – and then wash each other’s feet. We share a simple meal and create a garden together in the chapel.

 The emotions run a full spectrum—it’s usually a bit gleeful during the foot washing. Later on, though, as the children work to arrange plants and shells, rocks and candles into a garden, the mood changes and becomes more contemplative. We sit in silence after we have created the garden, with children and parents leaving as they feel ready. The dim light and the smell of the flowers make the chapel feel very special, and older children often spend a long time praying and being present in the garden. 


Article #3. Why Eggs On Easter? A Christian Answer . Charlotte Hand Greeson

 “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”-2 Corinthians 5:17


Eggs: Symbols Of New Life

Eggs have been a part of Spring rituals since before recorded history. After the long winter, chickens and other birds start to lay eggs again, each egg bursting with new life, mirroring the entire season of Spring. Ancient people, like the Hutsuls of Ukraine, decorated eggs and gave them as gifts to special people in their lives. So, the symbolism of eggs does predate Christianity.


Early Christians, recognizing the power of the egg as a symbol for new life, connected eggs to the new life found in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter. Eggs are a perfect Easter symbol, and a symbol of new life in Christ. Consider the following famous verse by St. Paul, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Furthermore, the egg is an illustration the Resurrection itself – a chick emerging from its shell represents Jesus emerging from his tomb on Easter.


An Easter ‘basket’ is a convenient way to carry eggs or treats, but even the grass around the nestled Easter eggs reminds us of new life. In the words of this well-loved Easter hymn: “Now the green blade rises from the buried grain. Wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain. Love lives again, that with the dead has been. Love is come again like wheat that springs up green.”


The End Of Lent

 Eggs also remind Christians of the end of the Lenten fast, and the joyful conclusion of that discipline on Easter. Again looking to historical practices: eggs and milk – in addition to meat – were not eaten during Lent. So indeed, eggs on Easter – real or chocolate(!) – are symbols of Lent turning to Easter. Christians rejoice in the abundance of God’s love – no longer fasting, we are full of joy.


Mary Magdalene And The Red Egg

An early Christian egg story circulated about Mary Magdalene. In John’s gospel, Mary is the first witness of Jesus’ resurrection, and according to tradition she spent the rest of her life proclaiming the good news of Christ. As the story goes, Mary Magdalene even addressed the Roman Emperor Tiberias. Holding an egg in her hand she declared, “Christ is risen!” The emperor laughed, remarking that Christ had as much chance of rising from the dead as that egg had of turning red. Immediately, the egg in Mary’s hand turned bright red.


Decorating Eggs . Sharon Ely Pearson

 During the Middle Ages children used to go house to house on Easter, singing and begging for eggs. They were paid in hard-boiled eggs, dyed with vegetables such as beetroot (red), spinach (green), onions (yellow) and tea (brown). The eggs were called pace eggs, the word coming from the French Paque, which means Easter. Today Christians still color and decorate eggs. As you prepare for this tradition, consider decorating your eggs with religious designs: such as a cross, the rising sun, water, a candle, etc.


Two additional Holy Week at Home handouts are also being posted along with this one. These contain suggestions day by day for family discussion and graphics for the children to color; they are almost exactly alike with the exception of the reading levels (one being for very young readers and the other for grands 1-5).


Holy Week at Home pdf: