Historic City News Christian readers are celebrating Easter in St. Johns County today; rejoicing “He is Risen” on Christianity’s most important holiday.
Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection occurred after he went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, the Jewish festival commemorating the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt.
Easter is really an entire season of the Christian church year, as opposed to a single-day observance.
Lent, the 40-day period leading up to Easter Sunday, is a time of reflection and penance and represents the 40 days that Jesus spent alone in the wilderness before starting his ministry, a time in which Christians believe he survived various temptations by the devil.
The day before Lent, known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, is a last hurrah of food and fun before the fasting begins.
The week preceding Easter is called Holy Week and includes Maundy Thursday, which commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples; Good Friday, which honors the day of his crucifixion; and Holy Saturday, which focuses on the transition between the crucifixion and resurrection.
The 50-day period following Easter Sunday is called Eastertide and includes a celebration of Jesus’ ascension into heaven.
Sunday services around the community:
* Amazing Grace Baptist Church, which meets at the Fullerwood Center, 10 Hildreth Drive, will have worship at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, as the church is officially launched this Easter Sunday. Sunday school is at 9:30 a.m. Pastors are David Wheat and Matthew Jones.
* First Baptist Church, Orange Street on the Westside, will serve a buffet breakfast at 8 a.m. followed by the children’s ministry program at 9:30 a.m. and worship at 10 a.m. The Rev. Michael McConnell, senior pastor, invites all to attend.
* Flagler Estates Baptist Church, 10145 Kirchher Ave., will have services at 10 a.m. when an Easter Cantata is sung by the Praise Team. There will be no Sunday evening service on Easter. Call (386) 325-6655 for further information.
* Greater St. Mary’s Baptist Church will celebrate Eater with a play “Were U There” at 11 a.m. Sunday. All are invited.
* Moultrie Baptist Church, 3699 U.S. 1 South, worship begins at 11 a.m. Sunday, with the children’s choir providing the special music. Sunday school is at 9:45 a.m.
There will be no evening service on Easter Day.
* New St. James Missionary Baptist Church, 135 Rodriguez St., will host an Easter cookout with fun and games and an Easter egg hunt today on the church property.
Sunday’s worship schedule includes morning worship at 10 a.m. following 9 a.m. Sunday Bible school. A unique Easter program begins at 4 p.m.
* The Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine, Cathedral Place, will have 8 a.m. prayer on Holy Saturday. Bishop Victor Galeone will be the principal celebrant for the Easter Vigil — the primary liturgy of the Church in the liturgical year, celebrated at 8:30 p.m.
Easter Day, Masses at the Cathedral are planned at 7, 9 and 11 a.m.
The conclusion of the Sacred Triduum comes with the celebration of Paschal Vespers at 6 p.m. Easter Day.
* St. Benedict the Moor Church, M.L. King Avenue, will have Easter Day Mass at 8 a.m.
* Our Lady of La Leche Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on the grounds of the Mission of Nombre de Dios, San Marco Avenue.
There is limited seating, but those attending are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
* St. Anastasia Catholic Church, 5205 A1A South, Easter Vigil Mass begins at 7 p.m. Holy Saturday. Masses on Easter Day will be at 7, 9 and 11 a.m.
* St. Francis of Assisi Charismatic Episcopal Church will celebrate Easter with Holy Communion at 8 a.m. at the church, Flagler Estates.
* St. John the Divine Charismatic Episcopal Church will celebrate Easter with Holy Communion at 10:30 a.m. on the riverfront in East Palatka.
Call the Rev. Bob Mills, (386) 325-7113 for further information and directions.
Dawson Chapel CME Church, Orange Street on the Westside, will have services at 11 a.m. Sunday following 9:30 a.m. Sunday school.
* St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church, 37 Lovett St., Easter Day service is at 10 a.m. with the Festival Holy Eucharist celebrating the Resurrection.
* Trinity Episcopal Parish, corner of King and St. George streets, Easter vigil begins at 8 p.m. Saturday. Easter Day, three services are planned: 7:30, 9 and 11:15 a.m. There will be a nursery provided for the 9 and 11:15 a.m. services.
In addition to the three services there will be an Easter Egg Hunt for the children at 10:15 a.m. For more information call the office at 824-2876.
* Christ Our Savior Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, 21 Milton St., will serve Easter Breakfast at 9 a.m. Sunday. The worship service begins at 10:30 a.m. Easter Sunday at 9 a.m. Our Easter Worship Service will be held at 10:30 a.m. All are welcome to celebrate with us. All questions will be answered by Rev. Albert Oren at 829-6823.
The church’s Easter Vigil begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
* Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 276 Roscoe Blvd. N., will serve breakfast at the church following sunrise services on Ponte Vedra Beach. Easter worship is at 9:45 a.m.
* Memorial Lutheran Church, U.S. 1 South at Moultrie, will have the service of Holy Communion at 8 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Easter brunch is at 9 a.m. Tickets for the brunch are $7 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under.
First United Methodist Church, 118 King St., will have Easter day services at 8:15, 9:30 and 11 a.m.
Lifetime Ministry Church, 2615 US Highway 1 South, Easter worship begins at 10 a.m. Lifetime Ministry is a nondenominational Free Church. For more information call 417-8434 or go to the website www.lifetimeministry.org for service times.
Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer