I'm super excited about Easter this year. Not only is it my first Easter as the minister of Hallett Cove Uniting Church, but also it is my first Easter as an ordained minister. I've always enjoyed how we celebrate Easter in the Uniting Church. No two services are the same!
The fact is that many churches do what they feel is most appropriate for them in their own expressive ways. For instance I read in the UC E-News that Mitcham Village will be holding an art exhibition called Life@death, Hope Valley UC will be taking people on a pilgrimage through various displays, Adelaide Congress Ministry will be hosting their iconic Easter Service encompassing both charismatic and the traditional expression of the SA Indigenous communities where they minister.
At HCUC we will be enjoying a little of the South American tradition of Holy Week. As a child in Argentina and Brazil, I remember Holy Week as a great time when we would hold events all week and connect with our wider community. It was like as if for the whole week, we had an extended family who we saw everyday! More importantly, I remember a sense of unity as a Christian community. We ate together, we prayed together and we worshipped together.
You might be wondering why we don't celebrate Holy Week as much in the Protestant traditions - this is because part of the Reformation was to cull some of the feasts of the Catholic church. In response to this, the Catholic church in its Counter-Reformation increased the feasts and made them more of a feature of their church. Hence today, in Catholic countries there are many feasts related to the church e.g. Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras in French) or Carnival. In today's post-modern world we have the pleasure to share in ecumenical relationships with other churches, we are also multi-cultural and in the Uniting Church we can enjoy our freedom of expression spiritually and culturally.
For HCUC, I believe this will be a wonderful time of connection and expressing our faith - we will be holding events such as Passover Meal, Stations of the Cross, Hot Cross Buns etc... These are but a few different ways that we can celebrate the Easter season.
May God bless you richly this Easter Season,
Ps. Esteban Liévano