Everyone – no exceptions – is welcome to join Episcopalians in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in the observance of Holy Week and Easter.
The Rt. Rev. J. Scott Mayer, provisional bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, will be celebrating and preaching at 11:15 am on Easter Sunday at St. Andrew’s, worshiping at Good Shepherd Chapel, University Christian Church, 2720 S. University Dr., Fort Worth, TX, 76109.
A list of all Holy Week and Easter services in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth 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.
Palm Sunday is when Christians recall Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. But it also is known as the Sunday of the Passion, for the joy of the triumphal entry soon dies away as the heartbreak of Jesus’ suffering and death begins to unfold. This is an ancient rite of the Church. For centuries in Jerusalem, hundreds of Christians have processed down the Mount of Olives through the Lions Gate and into the Old City, waving branches of palms or olive trees as they walk, singing psalms and crying, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Episcopal congregations throughout the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth also will observe Palm Sunday with processions, palms, and song before entering into the somberness of the Passion. At many congregations the service will begin outside with the blessing and distribution of the palms, and a procession into the church. Once the people are in the church, the focus changes abruptly from the triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the solemnity of the Passion.
The Tenebrae service includes use of fifteen lighted candles, often set on a special, triangular stand. One candle is extinguished as each of the fourteen appointed psalms is completed. The fifteenth candle, symbolic of Christ, is left lighted at the end of the final psalm. But it is carried away to be hidden, which signifies the apparent victory of the forces of evil. A sudden loud noise is made at the end of the service, symbolizing the earthquake at Christ’s death. The lighted candle is then restored to its place, suggesting Christ’s eventual triumph.
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
9:30am –Congregation will gather at Gene Allen Park (121 Main Street) for Blessing of the Palms, Procession down Main Street to Theatre Arlington, Choral Eucharist
7 pm – 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)
12 pm – Stations of the Cross with interactive display and guided tour in the lobby of the theatre
7 pm – said service, no communion, in Classroom 1
9:00 am – 12 pm “Pray All-Ways” a Lenten Mini-Retreat in Classroom 1
8:00 pm Easter Vigil at Theatre Arlington in Classroom 1
9:30am – Choral Eucharist in Theatre Arlington
All Saints’ Episcopal Church
5001 Crestline Road, Fort Worth, TX 76107
Priest: The Rev. Christopher Jambor
8am — Eucharist
9am and 11:15 am – Congregation gathers for procession with palms outdoors by the playground. Process into the church for Solemn Choral Eucharist with full choir.
5:00pm — Eucharist
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 on the Lawn for children
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 – Blessing of the Palms, Chapel of the Good Shepherd, University Christian Church
11:15am- The Rt. Rev. Scott Mayer will celebrate, preach, and do confirmations, Chapel of the Good Shepherd, University Christian Church
St. Christopher Episcopal Church
3550 Southwest Loop 820, Fort Worth, TX 76133
Priest: The Rev. Bill Stanford
8 and 10:30am – Blessing of the Palms, procession outside to the church for Eucharist.
7:30pm – foot washing, stripping of altar
8pm – Vigil with Jesus – St. Simon Chapel
Noon & 7 pm – Good Friday service
8pm – the Great Vigil
8 & 10:30am – Worship
St. Elisabeth’s & Christ the King Episcopal Church
5910 Black Oak Lane, Fort Worth, Texas 76114
Priest: The Rev. Sandi Michels
8 am –Blessing of the Palms, process into church for Eucharist
10:30 am – Blessing of the Palms, process into church for Eucharist
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
St. Luke’s in the Meadow Episcopal Church
4301 Meadowbrook Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76103
Priest: The Rev. Karen Calafar
10am –Blessing of the Palms, process into church for Eucharist
Tuesday of Holy Week
6pm – Centering Prayer
7pm – Foot washing, stripping of the altar
7pm – Good Friday Liturgy
8pm – Easter Vigil. Followed by celebration in Parish Hall
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
8am – Eucharist
9:15 and 11:30am – Palm procession begins in the parking lot, then moves into church for Eucharist
5pm – Eucharist
Holy Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday
7pm – Evening Prayer
7pm – Holy Communion and foot washing, Vigil begins after the service until 7 a.m. Friday
12:15 and 7pm
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
Children’s activities (including Easter egg hunt) at 10:45 a.m.
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
9:30am – Blessing of the Palms, procession into church for Eucharist
6pm – Holy Thursday service with stripping of the altar
6 pm – Good Friday Adoration of the Cross
9:30am – Holy Eucharist
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church of Hamilton County
1101 S. Rice (Hwy. 281 South), Hamilton, TX 76531
Priest: The Rev. Robert Tarbet
11am – Blessing of the palms outside in parking lot, then congregation will process into the church for Eucharist
Noon to 1pm – Episcopalians will join with First Methodist and other churches in reading the Stations of the Cross and offering hot cross buns. Readers will be in costume.
11am – Holy Eucharist
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
200 N. Abbott St
Hillsboro, TX 76645
Priest: The Rev. Hope Benko
11am – Blessing of the Palms outside, then congregation will process into the church for Eucharist.
1:30 pm – Good Friday service
11am – Flowering of the Cross and Eucharist
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
463 West Harwood Road, Hurst, TX 76054
Priest: The Rev. Bob Gross
10am – Blessing of the palms and Eucharist – people will gather at the Gazebo in front of the church and process into the church from there
Wednesday of Holy Week
Noon – Eucharist
6:30pm – Stations of the Cross & Soup Supper
6:30pm – Eucharist
7:40pm – Prayer Vigil
Good Friday – 6:30pm
7:45pm Easter Vigil & First Eucharist of Easter
10am – Eucharist
St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church & School
223 S. Pearson Lane, Keller, Texas, 76248
Priest: The Rev. Scot McComas
8:30am – Eucharist
10:30am – This service will start in the education building and process with palms into the church. Children will process and follow the children’s cross to Sunday School.
7pm – Eucharist, foot washing, stripping the altar, watch at the altar of repose in the chapel. Nursery is provided.
Noon – Stations of the Cross
5:30pm – Children & Family worship- nursery is available
7pm – Good Friday liturgy with Eucharist. Nursery is available.
8 to 10pm – The Great Vigil of Easter (with incense) – nursery is available.
7am – Eucharist outdoors in the memorial garden
8:30am – Eucharist and hymns
10am – Flowering of the cross & Easter egg hunt
10:30am – Eucharist and hymns (with incense; no Sunday School)
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
595 N. McIlhaney, Stephenville, TX 76401
Priest: The Rev. Curt Norman
Palm Sunday – 8am and 10am – Eucharist
6pm – Seder Dinner
Monday in Holy Week
Noon – Stations of the Cross with Eucharis)
Tuesday in Holy Week
Noon – Stations of the Cross with Eucharist
Wednesday in Holy Week
6pm – Stations of the Cross with Eucharist
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.
Good Friday – Noon liturgy followed by Stations of the Cross
7:48 (Sundown) – Easter Vigil
10 am – Eucharist
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
10:30am – Service begins with procession with palms, Eucharist
6:pm – Maudy Thursday service
6 pm – Good Friday service
10:30am – Eucharist
The Episcopal Church of Wise County
Worshiping at the historic Episcopal Mission of the Ascension
905 S. Church Street, Decatur, TX
Priest: The Rev. Tony Hiatt
10am – Blessing of the Palms, process into church for Eucharist
12:05pm – The Rev. Tony Hiatt will preach at First United Methodist Church, 104 S. Miller, Decatur
6:30 pm- Stations of the Cross
10am – Eucharist