Holy Week Celebrations in the Past
As we move into the Lenten and Easter Seasons, it is interesting to look back at what St. Mark has done in past years. One set of observances comes from 1973. Rev. Ray E. Blanset served as Pastor; Rev. George I. Melhorn, Visitation Pastor; and Ronald R. Borinsky, Field Worker. The church printed a brochure to show all the services with an explanation of Lent 1973 on the back.
The Season begins with an explanation of Ash Wednesday:
Ash Wednesday (March 7, 1973) begins the important season of Lent when Christians focus attention upon the passion of Jesus, and His crucifixion and death on the cross. Lent is an invitation to all to grow and to deepen understanding in faith of God’s saving act at Calvary, to prepare for the glorious confirmation of our faith in Christ’s resurrection and the Easter proclamation “He is Risen.” It is a time of spiritual growth and renewal through worship, prayer, scripture and acts of Christian love.
Lenten Sunday sermons dealt with “The Question of the Cross,” and the perplexing questions about its meaning. The cross is not only a symbol of our Christian faith, but the heart of it; not only the mark of the Christian life, but the very essence of it.
From March 7th through April 11th the Wednesday evening Lenten studies examined the Gospel of Luke. Attendees enjoyed a supper and worship. The session began with “Real Love” (Luke 9-10), then followed the rest of the Gospel:
“Discipleship” (Luke 11-13);
“The Coming of the Kingdom of God” (Luke 14-17);
“Prayer” (Luke 18-20);
“Nourishment from the Lord” (Luke 20-22); and
“Peace and Joy” (Luke 23-24).
Holy Week ended with a Holy Thursday Pantomime. These pantomimes had become part of the worship experience each year at St. Mark. From The Bells newsletter: “This year the theme of the pantomime will be “At the Last Supper and At the Cross”, written by Pastor Ray Blanset and directed by Shirley Rhodes. The mime depicted the upper room experience of the disciples with Jesus, the experiences of the women and the centurion at the cross. While the narration is being read, persons enact the scenes dramatically. The church council and other congregation members will take the roles of the 19 characters in the presentation. Other persons work on costumes, make-up, staging, lighting, etc. for this experience.”
On Good Friday the church choir, directed by Lucille Zepp, sang the Tenebrae Service, a combination of music and scripture and prayers. The Bells newsletter states: “Although we do not like to think about suffering and death, that strange Friday called “Good”, which recalls the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, is one of the most important days in the life of Christians. It is the day of sacrificed love, the day of forgiveness, the day of our redemption. Every Christian ought to assess the meaning of this day and make it a day of worship. Gratitude and praise ought to burst forth from God’s people in response to His great love.”
Information taken from February 28th and April 11th, 1973 St. Mark “Bells” and a 1973 “Our Lenten Calendar” brochure