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Celebrating Holy Week and Easter online

by Michael Ford last modified 08 Apr, 2020 03:29 PM

For centuries, Morning Prayer and Evensong have been said or sung daily at Salisbury Cathedral, as have regular Sunday services and weekday Eucharists.

Celebrating Holy Week and Easter online

Original photo by Ash Mills

But all that has changed and the ancient rhythm of prayer, song and reflection had to be re-imagined for our new and strange times.

The challenges were not only liturgical but technological. Clergy had to acquaint themselves with online meeting platforms and operate remote cameras in order to continue worship, as well as carry out the daily business of looking after this ancient building, its staff and volunteers.

Within a week, a new pattern of prayer and reflection had been established - different but full of the same spirit. From Monday to Friday at 5pm, a Daily Reflection is now live-streamed and anyone missing a broadcast can catch up via the Cathedral website, and every Sunday, there’s a 50-minute pre-recorded service of word and music at 10.30am.

This reinvention of worship has never been more important than in the week to come. Holy Week is the most important week of the Christian year, a time when Christians remember the Jesus’ triumphant ride into Jerusalem, his crucifixion and his resurrection.

Canon Precentor Anna Macham explains:

“The events of Holy Week and Easter are a turning point in our faith, and a turning point in human history. In ordinary times we relive those events through our worship but, while it is still not possible to meet in person, we hope to share the experience virtually, through streamed services offering the opportunity to embark on a life-changing journey together, even though we are apart.

“From Palm Sunday through to Holy Wednesday the Cathedral streamed our Daily Reflection at 5pm. The Reflections were given by the members of the Bishop’s senior staff team, preparing us for the Easter Triduum, the Great Three Days that stretch form the evening of Maundy Thursday to the eve of Easter Day.

“Alongside that we are also offering the opportunity to undertake a virtual Holy Week Pilgrimage of your own, a digital experience that can be used as part of personal prayer and reflection.”

The Holy Week Pilgrimage is a digital experience created by Patrick Price, the son of a former bishop. Patrick scanned the entire Cathedral, making it available in virtual form to worshippers whilst the real building is closed, and from Palm Sunday onwards, those wishing to pray, listen or reflect can virtually enter the Cathedral and activate a window of music, reading and prayer.

A new window will be added each day of Holy Week for individuals to explore, here.

Links to the worship can be found on the Cathedral website.

For details of Holy Week and Easter streamed services, see below.

Maundy Thursday, 9 April
7.30pm: A Short Act of Worship for Maundy Thursday, with Address by the Ven Sue Groom, Archdeacon of Wilts

Good Friday, 10 April
12noon: Good Friday Devotion conducted by the Ven Sue Groom, Archdeacon of Wilts
1.30pm: The Liturgy of Good Friday

Easter Sunday, 12 April
10.30am: A Service of Words and Music for Easter Day led by Salisbury Cathedral’s Canon Precentor, Canon Anna Macham. The Very Revd Nicholas Papdopulos, Dean of Salisbury, will preach the sermon.

Daily Reflections
From Sunday 5 April to Wednesday 8 April, and on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 April at 5pm.

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