What is the oldest Christian holiday? It’s coming up this week – Easter Vigil on the night before Easter, and St. Stephen Lutheran Church will be marking the holiest night of the year with Bible readings, stories, a video message, and more.
Beginning at 7:30 PM on Saturday, April 16 with a bonfire outside the church at 537 Bolton St., Marlboro, the event will then move inside where people will hear St. Stephen parishioners read and interpret seven Bible stories. Some will preach while others will incorporate creative methods, for example, to tell the story of Daniel with a musical band and ensemble and the story of Jonah set to the theme of the retro TV show, Gilligan’s Island.
“In ancient times, Christians would gather after sundown and tell all the great stories of salvation,” said St. Stephen pastor Joseph Graumann. “These stories would reach their climax in the story of Jesus’ triumph over death and continue into the present day. As the day broke, Christians would celebrate the first communion service of Easter morning.”
The St. Stephen Easter Vigil will not go all night, but it will be a bit longer than a traditional church service. “This is a longer service, but it is very accessible, and moves about the church building,” Pastor Graumann said. Following the readings and stories, the service will conclude with communion “and the first Allelujas of Easter,” he noted.
For a more traditional Easter celebration, Festive Easter worship will take place at 10 AM on Sunday, April 17 and will feature music by both the vocal and handbell choirs. An Easter brunch follows the service, and all are welcome to come for worship and stay for food and fellowship.. Other Holy Week opportunities at St. Stephen Lutheran Church include Maundy Thursday worship at 7:30 pm, preceded by a soup and bread supper at 7:00 PM, and Good Friday Worship on April 15 at 7:00 PM.
For more information about St. Stephen Lutheran Church, visit www.saintstephenlutheran.com or the church’s Facebook page. 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.