Easter is the holiest day in the Christian calendar. It is a time of hope, renewal and rebirth. Through Jesus’ resurrection, we are reminded that death is not the end.
We look at how Uniting Church congregations throughout Victoria and Tasmania worshipped the holy days of Easter.
Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, when Christ entered triumphantly into Jerusalem. Mountview Uniting Church in Mitcham observed Palm Sunday with an interactive Stations of the Cross service. Performers dressed in traditional garments and re-enacted scenes from the Passion of the Christ.
A number of congregations hosted street art inside and outside their church as part of Stations in the Street. The project was organised by the young adults at More Praxis and create opportunities for people to reflect on the Easter journey and enjoy art. The stations were located at various locations in Melbourne, including Mt Eliza Uniting Church, Glen Waverley Uniting Church, Ringwood Uniting Church and the Centre for Theology and Ministry.
Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper of Christ before he is betrayed by Judas, abandoned by his disciples and crucified on the cross. During the Last Supper, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples in an act of love and service.
Uniting Churches in Hobart took part in a combined Tenebrae service. The word ‘Tenebrae’ is Latin for shadows. It is a time to sit in darkness with Jesus as he enters the final hours of his life.
On Good Friday, Christians from all denominations gathered in the Melbourne CBD for the annual The Way of the Cross walk. Wesley Uniting Church on Lonsdale St has been involved with the walk since its inception and the fourth station was held outside the church.
Good Friday ecumenical services were also held in regional towns and metropolitan suburbs. Swan Hill Uniting Church joined with the Anglican Parish of Swan Hill and Grain Shed Church of Christ for the first-ever combined Good Friday service. Ministers from the different churches led prayers and incorporated different traditions into the one service. This was followed by The Way of the Cross walk, which began outside the Anglican Church and concluded at Swan Hill Uniting Church.
St Thomas Uniting Church joined with other churches in Craigieburn for an ecumenical walk on Good Friday. An estimated 600 people took part in the pilgrimage (photos by Heather Ackland).
Holy Saturday is a day of in-betweens and waiting. Western Heights Uniting Church held a meditation service for the congregation to reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus. A week before the service, congregation members participated in a stone carving workshop where they crafted and polished small soapstones into crosses. These stones were used as a focus of the meditation.
As dawn broke on Easter Day, many Uniting Churches held sunrise services to celebrate the light of the risen Christ. Shepparton Uniting Church hosted a dawn service at Victoria Park Lake, which included dampers and hot cross buns for breakfast.
St Andrew’s Uniting Church in Bendigo celebrated Easter with a dawn service outside Lake Weeroona.
Hastings, Crib Point and Balnarring Uniting Churches decorated the church pavement with chalk messages celebrating the risen Christ. These markings are a reminder that God’s love will ultimately triumph over death.
Here are some more Easter photos from other congregations:
Do you have images from your congregation’s Easter celebrations? Share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org