Holy Week ReCap

Leaders Share Stories and Highlights

By Bonnie McMaken, editor

Hope and renewed energy around the beauty of Jesus and his good news filled Holy Week 2023 throughout the Diocese of the Upper Midwest.

Palm Sunday, Christ Church of Madison. Photo by Jonny Hoffner.

Many diocesan churches tried something new this year or gratefully resumed beloved Holy Week traditions that COVID wouldn’t allow, like foot washing on Maundy Thursday at Immanuel Anglican in Chicago. These embodied actions are significant, says Parish Administrator Kayla Parker, and they give people space to “make powerful connections with the story of Holy Week through tactile elements.”

Restoration Anglican in Minneapolis held her first in-person Maundy Thursday service and Stations of the Cross. The church also observed her first Easter Vigil in a new sanctuary. (Read the incredible story of the building they bought for $1 here.) “All of these firsts brought so much joy to our congregation!” says Carrie Moseman, Director of Parish Operations.

Restoration’s first Easter Vigil in her new sanctuary. Photo by Audrey Anderson.

Light of Christ in Kenosha added a twist to a favorite Holy Week tradition—a Maundy Thursday Seder dinner. People at each table were invited to engage in questions about the meal and meaning of the Last Supper more deeply. This special meal was the first event of the Triduum (the three days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday). Director of Communications Lisa Traylor describes: “The experience helped our time feel like a cohesive whole, something we were all doing together.”

City of Light in Aurora offered her Stations service once in English and once in Spanish, both with a fully bilingual bulletin. The Spanish Stations were a huge highlight for Father Trevor McMaken: “As we lifted the Cross and walked through downtown Aurora, it was beautiful to see several of our Latino leaders and partners leading the liturgy, Scriptures, and songs and worshiping alongside English speakers in the common language of the Cross.”

Immanuel Whitewaterled by Father Jens Nostad, also held her first Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening by partnering with two other local churches. One of these churches, Living Word, hosts ministry office space for Fr. Jens, and the pastors of these two churches pray together weekly for mission in their community. Fr. Jens was especially moved by watching children and youth own the readings they acted out, leading everyone in worship through these familiar passages.
Do you struggle in your prayer time with a busy and distracted mind, or yearn for simple silence and stillness? Explore the tradition of contemplative prayer in this book study.

Easter baptism at Immanuel Anglican in Chicago. Photo by Jantzen Loza.

Another Wisconsin parish, Christ Church in Madison, also partnered in worship for Maundy Thursday, joining Bread of Life Anglican and a Nigerian Anglican congregation (Church of the Messiah). All three churches led the service together. Deacon Kaitlyn Wallett describes the worship as a “slice of heaven.”

At the cathedral in Wheaton, a one-hour prayer walk commenced the All-Night Vigil for Church of the Resurrection from 9-10pm on Holy Saturday. A crucifer led the procession of 150 people to City Hall, where small groups huddled in prayer for civic leaders and neighborhoods before returning. Father Brett Crull says, “The purpose was to pray a blessing on our communities, to be outside the four walls of the church.”

We thank the Lord for nourishing our people, strengthening our ties to other congregations, and leading us in outreach throughout the Upper Midwest.

>>Enjoy more Holy Week photos from around the Upper Midwest