These next few days are a time of drawing deeply, prayerfully into our faith narrative, remembering in scripture and song and sacrament the last evening Jesus spent with his disciples, the day he was crucified, the unknowing in the waiting and the revelation on Easter morning that New Life had triumphed over death. The tomb was empty.
Each year, I savor these days.
Maundy Thursday I feel my spiritual self present at the table with Jesus and his disciples as they shared a final meal that has come to be a meal of sacred sustenance for us.
Good Friday, I find myself on the path to the cross, differently than on the path in the Palm Sunday parade. Each year, a different phrase from that narrative moves me to tears. I have stopped trying to predict and simply welcome the Holy Spirit presence in the Word.
On Saturday, I often ponder the stillness of the tomb.
And, on Easter Sunday, I celebrate resurrection.
I find the scriptures and ritual actions of these days deeply moving, and each year I find myself in a different place in the story. May you be deeply blessed by these narratives of our faith.
I encourage you to attend each of our services, detailed below, or pick the one that most suits your needs and hopes this year.
My prayers are with each one of you.
My prayers are with us all.
I want to close by offering a gift of beauty and ritual art. It is a Holy Week Meditation and Ritual of Three Anointings. The video comes to us from my partner Dr. Marcia McFee. She shared it with all her Worship Design Studio subscribers as a gift to their congregations. The video is 12 minutes and offers a time of deep reflection. Have some oil with you for the anointings or simply watch and receive the visual artistry. This is a moving way to begin the Triduum.
In prayer and care,
Holy Week Worship Schedule
Palm Sunday, March 28 marked the start of Holy Week.
On Holy Thursday, April 1, we recall the mandate from Jesus to love one another, and we recall his servant ministry when he washed his disciples feet. We celebrate Holy Communion and read the scriptures of the last night Jesus spent with his friends, sharing a meal, going out into a garden to pray. Then, we symbolically strip the altar and drape the cross until we celebrate resurrection on Easter Sunday.
This worship will be pre-recorded and available on YouTube.
On Good Friday, April 2, at 7:00 p.m. we will enter together into a remembrance of the Passion of Christ Jesus. In a solemn sharing of scripture and song, we consider these final hours in the life of Jesus. It is a time to enter into this sacred story. Find your place in the narrative and pray and ponder. This will be a Tenebrae service with a variety of readers sharing the scriptures and extinguishing a candle or lamp after each reading. Verses of hymns that proclaim the scriptures are interspersed throughout to draw us deeper into prayer. Worship will be live on Zoom, and the Zoom link will be sent via email.
The worship service will then be available later on our YouTube page.
Easter Sunday, April 4, reminds us that the light of Christ shines through any darkness. The Christ candle lights the way. We celebrate anew that Christ is alive in our lives, bringing transformation and hope. Invite friends and family to join in this message of hope for new life. Prepare to shout your Alleluias, and hear wonderful arrangements by the Bell Choir, the Virtual Sanctuary Choir, the Women's Ensemble. Sing hymns of faith, including one sung across our denomination on Easter Sunday. We also celebrate Holy Communion, so prepare your table at home and join in this holy meal. Celebrate the Risen Christ with shouts of Alleluia!
This worship service will be pre-recorded and available on YouTube.
Our prayers are with all of you during one of the most holy times of year. Please also keep your CUMC worship leaders in prayer and care as they combine their faith and talents to create meaningful worship experiences for Holy Week.
Please note that CUMC Staff will receive an Easter Holiday on Monday, April 5.
Stations of the Cross
A number of churches in our area, including Claremont UMC, have created a progressive Stations of the Cross in the Upland and Claremont communities. Click on the link below to see the order of the Stations. Each station has a link to its own reading with a visual representation to ponder. You will drive from one location to another to see the total presentation.
The Men’s Enrichment Group continues to “meet” for fellowship and devotional study via zoom the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. Join us as we study Reading John for Dear Life by Jaime Clark-Soles. The next Zoom gathering is Wednesday, April 14 at 8:00 a.m. You are invited and welcome to join in with us. For more information, contact Carl Williams or Ron Harrington, or email email@example.com.
April "Life Goes On" Gathering
Part of the human experience is facing all kinds of challenges, dealing with loss, and working our way through grief that at times can threaten to overwhelm us. Life Goes On responds by offering support, comfort, and objective information in a safe and confidential setting.
Life Goes On meets in April via Zoom on Wednesday, April 28 at 7:00 p.m. The Zoom link will be sent out that week. April's discussion is on "Living with Uncertainty." Each gathering begins with prayer and a short presentation, led by Rev. Martha in April, followed by small group discussion of whatever feels important to the participants.
Life Goes On continues on the fourth Wednesday of the month through the spring. You may drop in as your schedule allows. If you have questions, please contact Paula Hui. If you need Paula's contact information, email the church office, firstname.lastname@example.org.
"March for Change"
Greetings again from our Youth Chimes and Youth Group!
So, Wednesday, March 31st marks the last day to get out and move for our "March for Change" fundraiser for the online social justice group ColorofChange.org. After that, we will be sending out a form to those of you who walked, ran, biked, and swam to find out your final total miles for the month of March.
Then, we’ll calculate everyone’s donation amount, if you were someone who chose to donate based on the number of miles travelled. If you were someone who chose to donate a set amount, you may send your checks to the church, with the memo line marked “March for Change”. You can also donate on the church’s website using the “donate now” button. Simply check “March for Change” in the drop-down box marked “(Optional) Use this donation for”.
Even if you haven’t signed up to be part of March for Change, please feel free to make a donation. We hope to announce our final total on Sunday, April 18th.
Thank you to all of you who participated this month. We are all really excited to see how far we travelled together, in our effort to dismantle racism one mile at a time.
Have a blessed Holy Week, and a joyful Easter.
The Youth Chimes and Youth Group
A Musical Meditation from Katie
This week's musical meditation is the Holy Week hymn, "Go to Dark Gethsemane" from The United Methodist Hymnal No. 290. Click HERE to hear and meditate on this special hymn.
~ Katie Franklin Ledsinger
We Are Praying For...
If you have someone you would like Claremont UMC to keep in prayer, and list on our prayer list, please email Jessica, email@example.com. Please indicate whether they are to be listed on the public prayer list, or kept private.
Please pray for these dear ones on our prayer list, HERE.