Holy Week Services - what are they all about?

Holy Week is the week leading up to Easter, and is the week when Christians remember the last week of Jesus's life. Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday commemorates Christ's triumphant arrival into Jerusalem, on a donkey to the cheers of ‘Hosanna from the crowd. You can read about this in John’s gospel chapter 12 verses 12-14.

Compline. We say Compline on Monday (at Holtby) Tuesday (at Stockton) and on Wednesday (at Warthill at 7.30pm. It is a quiet reflective service said at the end of the day. This would be the last service of the day, in the monastic tradition, often said in the dark before retiring to bed.

Maundy Thursday. Christians today remember the Last Supper (Luke 22 v14 23) Jesus shared with his disciples, and we now call Holy Communion or the Eucharist. Jesus also washed his disciples feet a task usually assigned to a servant. The priest at the service will take on the role of a deacon and wash the feet of hopefully 12 people to commemorate Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples. As part of the service the Church is stripped of all the altar linen and other hangings. It was on this evening when Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane, which is why we, at St Nicholas, have a vigil (a time of reflection) in the Lady Chapel. The word Maundy comes from the command (mandate) given by Jesus at the last supper, that we should love one another.

Good Friday. Today we remember Christ’s suffering and death on a cross. Many Churches will create Easter gardens today placing three crosses on a hill and a stone rolled across the tomb. Plants are carefully placed, often by children, who will come on Easter Sunday to see the stone rolled away.

Eastingle. In Stockton and at St Nicholas bags will be prepared with a hot cross bun, a straw and purple, red and white ribbons ready for an Eastingle to be created.  Each colour ribbon has a meaning so come and find out what it is.

Walk of Witness. In Dunnington we leave St Nicholas Church at 12.00 and walk towards the school following the cross.  At different points on the way to the doctor’s surgery, we stop hear the Good Friday Story (Luke 23 v26 to 43) and pray for our Village.

Last Hour. A service to reflect on the events of Good Friday with hymns and readings.

Holy Saturday. The first service of Easter takes place tonight. We begin in the Churchyard by lighting a fire from which the pascal (Easter) candle is lit.  Those present then light their candles and we walk into a dark church to hear bible readings on a theme, which remind us that God is always with us.  This leads to the renewal of our baptism promises.

The pascal candle is marked with a cross, an Alpha, and an Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The 4 numbers of the year are marked between the arms. This symbolises that Christ has been, is now and always will be with us.

Easter Sunday. Today is the most important Christian festival, when our Churches will be filled with flowers and we will hear of one of Christ’s appearances after his resurrection, maybe to Mary, his mother, in the garden, Luke 24 1-12 and on the road to Emmaus, Luke 24 v13-35.

Dawn Vigil. Many of us will gather at Holtby Wood, on the A166, around a fire, just before sunrise on Easter Sunday. We hear the Easter story, sing, and pray before sharing Hot Cross buns and ‘bubbles’ to celebrate this special day.


Download this information about Holy Week as as a print-ready pdf


Celebrate with us!

This Easter (2020) we will not be able to come together for services duing Holy Week and Easter, but there are other ways to celebrate Easter at home.