Ever since I was introduced to the church calendar in college, Holy Week has been my favorite week of the year. For the last 6 years, I have had the privilege of celebrating holy week as a parent, and, although it is different and it can be hard to fully enter into the fullness of a silent and serious church service with a fussy baby or an energetic toddler (or two), I have found that the Lord still meets me in miraculous ways during this beautiful, meaningful week, and I have discovered an appreciation for the deep mystery of Easter by walking through Holy Week alongside my children.

At First Pres, you could literally be at church eight days in a row during Holy Week. Some of those services are in the morning, some are at night, some are past bedtimes or during nap times and I get how difficult it is to have schedules thrown off and then after that expect your child to sit through more church services. Only you as a parent can discern what services it is prudent for your family to attend. You don’t have to be in a service to celebrate holy week, and for some of us, the ages of our children necessitates that we will miss some of these services in order to love our children well. But, I also want to encourage you that the Holy Week services provide an incredible opportunity for children to enter into the Easter story. There are few church services that have so many narratives, such rich opportunities for participation, or such a wonderful chance for us as parents to show our children how God has given them everything they need in Jesus. So my aim here is not to convince you to come to church every day of Holy Week. It’s not to guilt you or to burden you. It’s to give you ideas so that you can make the best choices for your family this year. Here’s a link to our list of Holy Week Services and times.

Palm Sunday

A celebration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, this service includes palm branches, shouting, and a parade outside and around the building, led by children.

Holy Week Breakfasts

Rev. Ben Ruyack will be teaching on “A Growing Appreciation of the Cross” at both the 6am and 9am Holy Week Breakfasts. Join other adults for a light breakfast and teaching time—childcare available at the 9am breakfast.

Maundy Thursday

This service creates space for us to remember the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples. Families hear how Jesus foretold his death, instituted the Lord’s Supper, and have the opportunity to participate in a foot washing. This year, we will also have a special children’s portion of the service centered on the seasons of Lent & Easter called “The Mystery of Easter.” Childcare available during the sermon.

Good Friday

A serious service with a lot of silence that retells the story of Christ’s crucifixion, and centers on the seven last words of Jesus. This service ends in a solemn mood. Childcare available.

Holy Saturday

This short service has been designed with children in mind. Join the congregation to hear the truest story of the whole world, as we begin at Genesis and retell six of the major events of the story of scripture. The stories are told using a variety of methods and include opportunities for the congregation to respond in song, prayer, and through the Psalms.

Easter Sunday

Ring bells and celebrate with the congregation as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Consider having very young children begin the service in the sanctuary and then take them to the nursery for the sermon.

Resources & Ideas

  • Pick up a Holy Week Coloring book in Murray Commons for Psalm-themed coloring pages for Maundy Thursday through Easter.

  • If you can’t make it to the Maundy Thursday service, read the story of the Last Supper from a children’s Bible or from Mark 14:12-31 and wash one another’s feet.

  • If you can’t make it to the Good Friday service, read the story of Jesus’ crucifixion from Mark 15:21-41 or a children’s Bible and sit in a manageable amount of silence together.

  • If you have young children, join us for a Family Holy Saturday Service on Saturday morning. (for more info call the church office).