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2022 Holy Week and Easter Celebrations in Oriental
What it is and where you can worship
April 12, 2022

Reverend Doctor Anne Walker Sims is the pastor of Oriental United Methodist Church. She writes in about Holy Week Services in the community, what each service means, and where they can be found. She also invites all the community to worship with local community churches in the Community Sunrise Service at Lou Mac Park at 6:30a Easter Sunday.


What’s all the fuss about Holy Week and Easter?
It’s not just Easter eggs and bunnies – at least, not in the Christian tradition. Easter is the central holiday of the Christian church, focusing on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the promise of forgiveness and resurrection into eternal life for those who follow him.

This year, Easter falls on April 17, and will be celebrated throughout Oriental in a variety of ways.

First Baptist Church, Oriental Free Will Baptist Church, Oriental United Methodist Church, Pamlico Presbyterian Church, St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church, and St. Thomas Episcopal Church will join together to host a Community Sunrise Service at Lou Mac Park on Sunday, April 17 at 6:30a. Everyone is invited. You’re encouraged to arrive around 6:15a and bring your own chairs.

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Easter Sunrise 2019 (Ben Casey photo)

If the forecast is cold, you may want to bring a blanket or a thermos of coffee. If it rains, the sunrise service will be cancelled—but Easter will still be celebrated – see below for details.

In many church traditions, Easter Sunday is preceded by days of preparation (often called Holy Week), commemorating the arrest, trial, death, and entombment of Jesus Christ prior to his disciples discovering his empty tomb on the first Easter morning. You are invited to experience these services. Places, time, and descriptions follow:

Thursday, 4/14
6-8p: Passover Seder program in the fellowship hall at Pamlico Presbyterian; takes about 2 hours total with a break in the middle for a covered dish meal. The Seder meal commemorates God’s freeing of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt with a sacrifice of spotless lambs; Christian tradition identifies Jesus’ death with the salvation of all who love and follow him.

6p: Maundy Thursday Service at St. Thomas Episcopal. Maundy derives from “Mandatum novum do vobis” (“a new commandment I give to you”; John 13:34) in which Jesus commanded the disciples to love one another and to serve one another. It is remembered with foot washing and holy communion.

7p: Last Supper drama with Communion at Oriental United Methodist Church. In this re-enactment of Jesus’ last meal with his disciples, we get a glimpse into the personalities and emotions of those who followed Jesus most closely. All will be invited to share in holy communion together; non-Methodists are welcome.

Friday, 4/15
Noon Good Friday service at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. This is a solemn service of prayer with a reading of the Passion narrative from the gospel of John ending in silence.

6p: Good Friday service at First Baptist Church. This is a reflective time of worship on the day of Jesus’ death.

7p: Seven Last Words service at Oriental United Methodist Church. The seven last statements Jesus made reveal his heart and his mission to love and welcome all people into God’s kingdom. Those words, read and sung, will speak to our hearts and stir our souls. The service will end in silence, with the sanctuary draped in black, as we acknowledge that Jesus has died and leave to prepare our hearts for Easter.

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Saturday, 4/16
10a: Easter Egg Hunt at Oriental United Methodist Church. All children are welcome and need to bring only a basket or container for their eggs. Eggs, prizes, and refreshments will be provided by the OUMC Sand Dollar Circle.

Easter Sunday, April 17
Community Sunrise Service at Lou Mac Park; bring a chair and plan to arrive about 6:15a; service starts promptly at 6:30a
10a Worship at Oriental United Methodist Church on Freemason St. 8 am and 10:30a Easter Sunday service at St. Thomas Episcopal on Freemason St.

10:30a Sunday Mass at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church on White Farm Road
11a Worship at Pamlico Presbyterian Church on Kershaw Rd
11a Worship at Oriental Free Will Baptist Church on Ragan Rd
11a Worship at First Baptist Church on Broad St

Oriental United Methodist Church and St. Thomas Episcopalian Church are next to each other on Freemason St

Grace and peace,
Anne Walker Sims