Everyone – no exceptions – is welcome to join Episcopalians in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in the observance of Holy Week and Easter. A list of services is below.
The Foundational Story
Holy Week is when the foundational story of Christianity – Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection – is remembered and retold, both in words and in ritual actions, at services throughout the week. It ends at sundown on Holy Saturday with a service called the Great Vigil and the first Easter celebration.
The suffering of Jesus Christ before dying on the Cross to redeem humanity is called the Passion of Jesus. The term is from the Latin passio, which means “suffering.” A gospel narrative of this redemptive suffering is called “the Passion.” Faith in Jesus’ resurrection on the third day following his crucifixion is at the heart of Christian belief.
From earliest times Christians have observed the week before Easter as a time of special devotion. Jerusalem contains many sacred places where Christ suffered and died. For centuries pilgrims have followed the path of Jesus in his last days at these places with processions and worship services.
The rites Episcopalians and other Christians will observe during Holy Week evolved from the observances of the pilgrims at these holy sites. These rites provide a worship experience of the last days of Jesus’ earthly life, as well as the time and events leading up to his resurrection.
The beloved Book of Common Prayer provides special services for each of these days. Some congregations also observe the service of Tenebrae (Latin for “darkness” or “shadows”) on one of these days. The service of Tenebrae is in the Book of Occasional Services. But the heart of Holy Week observance is the three holy days, or Triduum, of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.
The Triduum – the Heart of Holy Week
- Maundy Thursday’s name comes from the Latin mandatum novum, “new commandment,” from John 13:34. The ceremony of washing feet also was referred to as “the Maundy.” In some congregations the priest will wash the feet of worshipers in commemoration of Jesus’ washing the feet of the apostles at the Last Supper. Maundy Thursday also commemorates the institution of the Eucharist (also known as the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion) by Jesus at the Last Supper. Afterwards, the altar is stripped and all decorative furnishings are removed from the church in preparation for the somberness of Good Friday.
- Good Friday is when the church commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. It is a day of fasting and special acts of discipline and self-denial. The worship service includes John’s account of the Passion gospel, a form of prayer known as the solemn collects (dating from ancient Rome), and optional devotions before the cross, commonly known as the veneration (or adoration) of the cross. The Eucharist is not celebrated in The Episcopal Church on Good Friday.
- Holy Saturday recalls the day when the crucified Christ visited among the dead while his body lay in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. In The Episcopal Church there is no Eucharist on Holy Saturday, which ends at sunset with the Easter Vigil
The Easter Vigil
The Easter Vigil, also known as the Great Vigil, is the most comprehensive and dramatic worship service of the church. It is the first celebration of Easter. The Greek and Latin term for Easter is Pascha, in Hebrew pesach (Passover). It is used both for the Jewish Passover and the Christian Easter. From pascha comes terms such as “Paschal Lamb,” referring to Jesus; and “Paschal Candle,” referring to the tall candle first lit during the Easter Vigil. The Easter Vigil service begins in darkness, sometime between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter, and consists of four parts:
- The Service of Light, which includes the kindling of new fire, lighting the Paschal candle, and the Exsultet, the ancient joyful proclamation of the Resurrection
- The Service of Lessons, with readings from the Hebrew Scriptures interspersed with psalms, canticles, and prayers
- Christian Initiation, in which people are baptized and baptismal vows are renewed
- The Eucharist (Holy Communion or Lord’s Supper)
Easter is the feast of Christ’s resurrection. The word derives from the Anglo-Saxon spring goddess Eostre. Christians in England applied the word to the principal festival of the church year, both the day and season. Easter Day is the annual feast of the Resurrection, the pascha or Christian Passover. Throughout the Easter Season, the acclamation The Lord is risen, the Lord is risen indeed will ring joyfully through Episcopal Churches in celebration of the mystery and miracle of Easter. The Easter Season lasts fifty days, from Easter Eve through the Day of Pentecost, this year on May 15. The word “pentecost” means the fiftieth day. It marks the fulfillment of the promise Jesus made of the return of the Holy Spirit, described in scripture as tongues of fire appearing above the heads of the apostles. It marks the Church as the Body of Christ drawn together and given life by the Holy Spirit. It is understood by many to be the origin and sending out of the church into the world.
Holy Week and Easter Services in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
St. Alban’s Episcopal Church
holding services at Theatre Arlington
305 W. Main, Arlington, TX 76010
Priest: The Rev. Kevin Johnson
7pm – Eucharist with foot washing – LOCATION: In Classroom 1, the Gene and Penny Patrick Administration Building at 316 W. Main, across Main Street from the theatre)
7pm – said service, no communion, in Classroom 1
7:35 pm Easter Vigil, Classroom 1
10am – Choral Eucharist in Theatre Arlington
All Saints’ Episcopal Church
5001 Crestline Road, Fort Worth, TX 76107
Priest: The Rev. Christopher Jambor
7:30pm — Maundy Thursday Liturgy with the All Saints’ Choir
8:30pm — Watch at the Altar of Repose until Noon on Good Friday in the Chapel of the Annunciation
Noon — Good Friday Liturgy with All Saints’ Choir
1:30pm — Confessions until 3 p.m. in the Chapel of the Annunciation
4pm — Interactive Stations of the Cross beginning in the Nave
8am — Holy Saturday Liturgy in the Chapel of the Annunciation
The Great Vigil
8pm — The Great Easter Vigil, Holy Baptism, and First Eucharist of Easter with full choir, brass and timpani
8am — Eucharist
9 and 11:15am — Solemn Paschal Festival Choral Eucharist with full choir, brass and timpani
5pm — Eucharist
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
Good Shepherd Chapel, University Christian Church
2720 S. University Dr., Fort Worth, Tx, 76109
Priest: The Rev. Edwin Barnett
11:15am – Holy Communion
St. Christopher Episcopal Church
3550 Southwest Loop 820, Fort Worth, TX 76133
Priest: The Rev. Bill Stanford
7pm – foot washing, stripping of altar
8pm – Vigil with Jesus – St. Simon Chapel
Noon & 7pm – Good Friday service
8pm – the Great Vigil
8 & 10:30am – Eucharist
St. Elisabeth’s & Christ the King Episcopal Church
5910 Black Oak Lane, Fort Worth, Texas 76114
Priest: The Rev. Sandi Michels
6:30pm – Tenebrae Service
6:30pm – Eucharist, Foot Washing, Agape Meal, Stripping of the Altar, Watch at Altar of Repose
Noon – Stations of the Cross
6:30pm – Good Friday service
9pm – Great Easter Vigil. Eucharist
10:30am – Holy Eucharist, followed by reception and Easter egg hunt.
St. Luke’s in the Meadow Episcopal Church
4301 Meadowbrook Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76103
Priest: The Rev. Karen Calafat
7pm – Foot washing, stripping of the altar
7pm – Good Friday Liturgy
8 pm – Easter Vigil. We will gather around the New Fire in the Meadow for the re-telling of our faith story, process to the Baptismal Font to renew our Baptismal Covenant, and enter the church rejoicing to celebrate the Resurrection Eucharist
10am – Eucharist with reception and Easter Egg Hunt after service
Trinity Episcopal Church
3401 Bellaire Drive So., Ft. Worth, TX 76109
Priest – The Rev. Carlye Hughes
7pm – Meal, Holy Communion and foot washing, Vigil begins after the service until 7 a.m. Friday
12:15 and 7pm – Worship
4pm – A special children’s Good Friday service
7pm – the Great Vigil of Easter
8am – Eucharist
9:15am – Eucharist
10:45am – Children’s activities including Easter Egg Hunt
11:30am – Eucharist
5pm – Eucharist
Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd
holding services at the Seventh Day Adventist Church
2016 Acton Hwy (FM 4), Granbury 76049
Priest: The Rev. Suzi Robertson
6pm – Foot washing and Eucharist
6pm – Stations of the Cross
9:30am – Holy Eucharist with orchestra, followed by brunch and Easter egg hunt for children
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church of Hamilton County
1101 S. Rice (Hwy. 281 South), Hamilton, TX 76531
Priest: The Rev. Noy Sparks
6pm- Evening Prayer with time for reflection
6pm – Reading of the Passion by several readers.
Noon –the Passion of Jesus as told by the women of Scripture. From Women of the Passion, a Journey to the Cross by Katie Sherrod-
11am – Service of Light from the Easter Vigil, Holy Eucharist with special music. Sunday School at 10 am
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
200 N. Abbott St
Hillsboro, TX 76645
Priest: The Rev. Maurine Lewis
1pm – Good Friday service
11am – Flowering of the Cross and Eucharist
St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church & School
223 S. Pearson Lane, Keller, Texas, 76248
Priest: The Rev. Scot McComas
7pm – Foot washing, Holy Communion, stripping the altar, watch at the altar of repose in the chapel.
9:00pm – morning Vigil at the altar of repose – keep vigil overnight at the altar in the chapel, surrounded by flowers in an indoor garden, as Jesus invited his disciples to stay with him, watch and pray in Gethsemane.
Noon – Stations of the Cross
5:30pm –Short and memorable service especially created to help explain God’s great love for all of us in a way that young children can understand. All ages are welcome to hear music performed by our youth, share simple prayers, hear a message about God’s great love, and explore interactive prayer stations.
7pm – Good Friday liturgy with Eucharist.
8 to 10pm – The Great Vigil of Easter (with incense).
7:00 am Worship outdoors in the memorial garden
8:30 am Worship and hymns
10:00 am Easter egg hunt, flowering of the cross
10:30 am Worship with incense and hymns. Nursery is available. No Sunday School.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
595 N. McIlhaney, Stephenville, TX 76401
Priest: The Rev. Bruce Coggin
7pm – Holy Eucharist, Foot Washing, Stripping of Altar, Prayers at the Altar of Repose – this begins after the Maundy Thursday liturgy and goes until the beginning of the Good Friday liturgy. People are invited to sign up for one hour of prayer. (Child care is available for worship service)
Good Friday – Noon and 6:00pm Good Friday Liturgy (Child care available)
7:30pm – Easter Vigil
8am – Eucharist
10am – Eucharist (Child care available) Easter reception following
The Episcopal Church of Wichita Falls
All Saints’ Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
5023 Lindale, Wichita Falls, TX 76310
6pm – Maundy Thursday service
6 pm – Good Friday service
10:30am – Eucharist
The Episcopal Church of Wise County
905 S. Church Street, Decatur, TX
Priest: The Rev. Tony Hiatt
6pm – Eucharist
6pm- Stations of the Cross
10am – Eucharist