Holy Week will be observed at the First United Methodist Church in Gilmer, with activities on the following special days: March 24, Palm/Passion Sunday; March 24, Sunday evening Praise Service; March 27, Wonderful Wednesday; March 28, Maundy Thursday; March 29, Good Friday; March 31, Easter Sunday.
Palm/Passion Sunday commemorates the day on which Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Jesus rode into Jerusalem humbly on a donkey but he was recognized and honored by the Jewish people as the messiah and they placed palms on the ground in front of him. On March 24, we will participate in the joyous demonstration of Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem by entering the worship service waving palm leaves. Children who want to participate in bringing the palms into church will meet in the Chapel at 9:45 A.M. All children are invited to participate.
Special music for Palm/Passion Sunday will include Molly Sullivan playing “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” as the Call to Worship. Grant Woodson will be our trumpet soloist with Jubilation Bells in ringing “Processional for Palm Sunday” by Tucker. During the processional the entire congregation will follow the Chancel Choir and children to the altar area to place palm branches.
On Sunday evening, March 24, we will have a special Praise Worship service. This will be a contemporary service, featuring local musicians such as Dick Chapman, Bob Bates, Buzzy Green, and Mike Williams and vocalists Susan Laster and Nancy Carter, among others. This is a casual, “come-as-you-are” service and all are welcome.
On Wednesday, March 27, all children (kindergarten through 6th grade) are invited to attend “Wonderful Wednesday” from 3:45 to 6:00 PM. On this occasion, the children will participate in a “Seder Meal.” The Passover Seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The week before his death, Jesus and his disciples traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. This was a festive occasion – a celebration of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. The Seder itself is based on Exodus 13:8, a verse commanding Jews to retell the story of the exodus from Egypt: "You shall tell your child on that day, saying, 'It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.'" (Exodus 13:8) During our Seder Meal, the children will learn how the Jewish people celebrated the Passover during the time of Jesus.
Thursday, March 28 is Maundy (or Holy) Thursday. The term “Maundy” comes from a Latin word meaning “commandment.” When Jesus shared the “Lord’s Supper” and said “do this in remembrance of me” he presented a “mandatum novum,” or a new commandment. Maundy is an old English translation of “mandatum.” Our Holy Thursday service will be held on March 28 beginning at 7:00 PM in the Sanctuary and will focus on Communion and a Tenebrae service of shadows as each of eight candles is extinguished. The choir, accompanied by Gilmer musician Bill Marshall as well as a quintet of strings and oboe from the Longview Symphony Orchestra, will provide music for the service. There will be a time during the musical in which the congregation will be asked to come place the nails in the cross as a symbol of our own guilt which was borne by Jesus on the Cross of Calvary. (This same cross will be decorated with beautiful flowers the next Sunday on Easter.) Nursery service for children up to age 4 will be available.
On Good Friday, March 29, services will be “come and go” from 11:30 A.M. until 1:30 P.M.
The Sanctuary will be open for personal prayer with Holy Communion for those who wish to receive. A prayer guide and scriptures for reflection will be available. Everyone is invited. Please enter only at the Montgomery Street entrance.
On March 31, Easter Sunday, we will celebrate the joys of the resurrection of Jesus beginning with a Sunrise Service at 7:00 A.M. in the Prayer Garden. After the Sunrise Service, rolls, juice and coffee will be served. During Sunday School (9:00 AM) a special performance of the Puppets for Jesus will feature the Centurion and the Solider, and Mary Magdalen. We encourage kids of all ages to come and enjoy the show. Our traditional Easter Celebration will begin at 10:00 AM; nursery services are available. The service will be joyous with handbells, brass, and the flowering of the cross as we celebrate the resurrection of the Christ. Everyone is invited to bring fresh cut flowers to place on the cross. Special music during the Easter service will include Bill Marshall on organ, the Jubilation Bells, and the Chancel Choir.