The St. Stephen Lutheran Church cross took on a new look this winter, with lights, and it will change again for Easter. In recent years, the outdoor cross has been yarn-bombed, covered in brightly colored vinyl to suggest faux stained glass, and festooned with flowers. Member and artist Ken LaPlante is working on this year’s Easter surprise transformation.
After many months of Sunday worship on Zoom, St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 537 Bolton St., Marlborough, is pleased to be able to offer in-person, outdoor worship on both Palm Sunday (March 28) and Easter. Worship in the pines will be held in the partially-shaded back parking lot and those who attend must wear face masks, bring their own chairs, keep social distance from people who are not family members, and pre-register.
Anyone who would like to attend either service – or both – can register now by going to the link on the church website, www.SaintStephenLutheran.com. Services will be held weather permitting. Registration closes at 5 pm on the Friday before each Sunday service. If outdoor worship is canceled, those who have registered will automatically receive an email, and worship will take place on Zoom.
Both parishioners and the pastor are looking forward to seeing one another in three dimensions. “While Zoom has allowed us to have an interactive, community-focused worship service, it’s exciting to meet in flesh and blood, just as Jesus meets us,” said Pastor Joseph Graumann, who has been leading Zoom worship and offering midweek messages on YouTube during Lent, as well as throughout the past 12 months. The outdoor services will be live-streamed on YouTube (not Zoom) for those who prefer to participate from home. That link is also on the church website.
Yes, There Will Be Palms
Although people will have to trade their pjs for regular clothes and drive to church, meeting in-person has some distinct advantages over the on-screen experience. Palms will be distributed on Palm Sunday, and chances are several members will fashion some palms into crosses. On both Palm Sunday and Easter, Holy Communion will be observed, with distribution of wafers, but not wine. The careful protocol from last summer’s outdoor service will be repeated, with each masked communicant receiving the wafer, then consuming it when returning to their seat. There will be a food collection for the Hudson Food Pantry on the outdoor worship Sundays.
Zoom will continue to be the platform for the remainder of Holy Week. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (April 1 and 2) services will be on Zoom at 7 pm.
As the spring season progresses, St. Stephen Lutheran Church hopes to continue to hold outside services on alternate weeks with the live-stream option, and maintain Zoom worship on the opposite weeks.
For more information about St. Stephen Lutheran Church, visit the church’s Facebook page or website, www.saintstephenlutheran.com. Saint Stephen is a member of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (www.elca.org). The church is a Reconciling in Christ congregation, inviting people of every gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability, marital status, or class. Parishioners come from Marlborough, Hudson, Berlin, Northborough, Southborough, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Sudbury, Stow, and Bolton.