Beloved Friends in Christ,
We are fast approaching the central observance of the Christian year, without the ability to gather bodily as we have in the past. As leaders in your congregations, both lay and ordained, some of you no doubt have already begun to sketch out a plan for how a scattered community will observe Holy Week and Easter. For others the prospect is too overwhelming, and it is not clear at all where to start. Some congregations have the resources and the energy to pull together these observances on their own; others would prefer to partner with other communities. You each know where your community fits on this broad spectrum.
We have culled and curated a collection of resources that we hope will help you find a way to observe and celebrate these great days, whether you are ready to plunge in or need some support and encouragement. Use what is helpful, adapt what needs adapting, let go of what doesn’t fit and know that whatever you do, it will be enough. The Rev. Dr. James Farwell noted, in the recent webinar on the Triduum Under Quarantine, that during this fraught time, simpler is no doubt better; it is certainly less likely to heighten our anxiety. Do what we each know how to do best; do what fits our communities, not what the parish across town or the best-resourced parish in the deanery is doing.
This is also a time when silence might be deliberately incorporated into your day, especially if you are at home with others. Monastic communities such as the Society of St. John the Evangelist, the Society of St. Margaret and the Order of St. Anne spend time in silence together each day. This is a companionable silence, not a punitive one. The ability to sit together in silence is a powerful thing and gives each of us the chance to hit the reset button. Of course this might not be practical with small children but you might be surprised by how receptive children can be to small amounts of silence. Building silence into worship is also worth considering; it is always appropriate, especially during Lent, and this year makes space for a deeper peace in a time of disruption.
This also may be a time to nurture the domestic church, and offer to households simple instructions on how to create a home altar or prayer space, as well as simple, lay-led liturgies that can be used to mark each of the three days of the Triduum. If there are blessings in this time (and eventually we will be able to note many of them), one is that we might develop holy habits of divine encounter and prayer in our homes. There are a number of resources listed below that could help us to do this.
You do not need to do all of these things; you do not have to do any of them. Consider them an offering, a possibility, a sign of love and gratitude for all you do. Please don’t hesitate to contact any of us if you have any questions.
You’ve got this. We’ve got you. And God’s got all of us.
The Rev. Dr. Elise Feyerherm
Convener, Liturgy and Music Commission of the Diocese of Massachusetts
The Very Rev. Amy McCreath
Dean, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston
Sister Kristina Frances, SSM
Assistant Superior, Society of St. Margaret, and Secretary of Diocesan Convention
Triduum Under Quarantine - Resources from Virginia Theological Seminary
- Triduum Under Quarantine 2020 (a folder with multiple documents on various topics)
Note: To edit documents, you will need to download them to your own computer, save and edit them there.
- The Easter Homily of St. John Chrysostom (especially appropriate to read at the Easter Vigil)
- The Three Days at Home, adapted for the Episcopal Church (ready to use as is, if desired)
The Book of Common Prayer 1979
Other Prayer Resources
- Sunday Revised Common Lectionary, Episcopal edition
- Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018
- Other Books of Common Prayer
- ChurchNext: Prayer and Worship in our Homes (an online course)
- Forward Day by Day - Daily Meditation
- Topical Prayers from Common Worship (Church of England)
Praying the Daily Office (Morning, Noonday, Evening Prayer & Compline)
- The Lectionary (Daily)
- Daily Prayer for All Seasons (Church Publishing)
- Praying online with the Mission of St. Clare
- The Daily Office Tutorial from St. George’s Ardmore, PA
Praying with Children
- Praying with children
- Praying Compline with your children
- Illustrated Ministry (Coloring)
- Weekly Godly Play Stories (from the Rev. Dr. Cheryl Minor, All Saints' Church, Belmont)
Graces at Meals
- Home Prayer (page 685 in the Book of Alternative Services, Anglican Church of Canada)
- Thanksgiving Prayers & Table Graces
- Agape Meal