Town and Village

St. Michael's Episcopal Church prepares for Easter

BRATTLEBORO — Holy Week is honored at St. Michael's Episcopal Church on Bradley Avenue from Palm Sunday through Easter morning. While the public is welcome to all services, a few of broader interest are, first, the Tenebrae on Wednesday, April 5, at 7 p.m.

This Holy Week tradition - otherwise known as the Service of Shadows - is not a time of celebration, “but a time of contemplation, meditation, and prayerful reflection of what this time in the Passion (the suffering) of Jesus means for us and for the world,” says (1)coordinator Craig Hammond.

With prayer, scripture, poetry, and music, the service begins in twilight and ends in darkness lit with candles. “Tenebrae is the origin of Evening Prayers and Morning Prayers in the Anglican Communion,” Hammond adds. “In that spirit and faithful to the contemplative nature of Holy Week, we offer this evening as a contemporary reverent time for all.”

Music for the Tenebrae this year includes works of J. S. Bach, Samuel Barber, Ennio Morricone, John Dowland, and Jean Sibelius, as well as Hebrew and Taize chants. Texts to be read are from the New Testament and from the writings of Mary Oliver, Christina Rossetti, Thich Nhat Hanh, Mary Elizabeth Fry, Danna Faulds, John O'Donohue, and Madeleine L'Engle.

Participants include St. Michael's Rector, the Rev. Mary Lindquist; St. Michaels' interim musician, Patty Meyer; and parishioners Grainne Buchanan, Megan Buchanan, Greg Lesch, Joyce Vining Morgan, Chris Chapman, Annie Landenberger, Alli Ackerman-Hovis, Christopher Wesolowski, Bruce Landenberger, Craig Hammond, John Daly, and Judith Reichsman.

The Pascal Triduum - one story told over three days - then begins with Maundy Thursday, “when we enter into the story of Jesus' last supper and hear some of his last words to his disciples, including the 'new commandment' to 'love one another as I have loved you' (John 13:34),” Rev. Lindquist explains. “Just as Jesus washes the feet of his disciples, we wash one another's feet. Just as Jesus experiences the desolation of the Garden of Gethsemane, we experience this desolation in the stripping of the altar in the church.”

The evening begins with a meal and moves into the church for optional foot-washing, listening to the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Holy Communion, intermittent Taize chants, and - for those who choose to stay - an all-night vigil or “Night Watch.”

The “second act of the Triduum,” Lindquist continues, is on Good Friday, “as we follow Jesus through his interrogation, arrest, and crucifixion.” This year at St. Michael's, there are two opportunities to participate in Good Friday. At noon, there will be a said service from the Book of Common Prayer with a reading of the Passion. At 7 p.m., there will be a choral liturgy with the Passion, prayers, hymns, and the Veneration of the Cross.

The final act of the Triduum is the Great Vigil of Easter. “At this, the 'king of liturgies,'” Lindquist explains, “we light the new fire of Easter and move from darkness to light, telling the ancient stories of God's people.” This year, Easter Vigil will be celebrated on Sunday morning at 5:15 a.m., starting outside the church at 16 Bradley Ave. before moving into the sanctuary. Also on Easter morning will be an 8 a.m. Holy Eucharist and a 10:15 a.m. Festival Holy Eucharist with music.

All are welcome to St. Michael's Episcopal Church. All of the Holy Week Liturgies will be Livestreamed or Zoomed. Links can be found at

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