Another early and very chilly morning. 3 of the Clergy in the town said the prayers. We prayed for peace.
At 6am on Easter Morning at Nyah Boat ramp the Easter Fire was alight and a group of faithful Christians of various denominations gathered in the dark with candles.
Geoff Bradbury preached a great sermon on how all the people in the gospels ‘just didn’t get it’ when Jesus was crucified. Only on that first Easter Morning, when the disciples discovered the empty tomb and the folded grave cloths did they finally start to make sense of it all. After the sermon we shared communion and sang the last rousing hymn.
Then the fire was used to toast hot cross buns. The mist on the river rose slowly and eddied up stream. Eventually the sun broke through the trees and the mist.
Later at Nyah West Anglican Church we celebrated Easter in a more traditional setting.
Merle read the bible readings and Rev Jan celebrated the Easter Eucharist.
It was a full day at Christ Church Swan Hill. We gathered in the foyer, for readings, prayers and the blessing of the palms and crosses.
Then we processed in to the music of Murray’s clarinet singing ‘We have a King who rides a Donkey”.
During the service Parish Council were commissioned and Rev’d Robyn Davis introduced herself and her partner Ed to the Congregation.
Robyn and Ed live at Balranald but their ministry extends over a wide area and Robyn will be working a couple of days a week at Swan Hill, and become part of Swan Hill Parish after her ordination to Priesthood on 3rd of May.
Together Robyn and Ed presented the church with an Aboriginal Flag.
To complete the festivities, Rev’d Denis had researched Palm Sunday, and found that there is an Old English custom of celebrating the day with a ‘Figgy Pudding’ cake.
Not only that, he had discovered a recipe for the aforementioned cake, and he had it cooked and ready to be served as our refreshment after the service. The photo is borrowed from the internet where you can read more information. http://kdrunlimited1.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/a-very-blessed-palm-sunday-to-you.html and even find a recipe – http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/recipes/view.cfm?id=43
All 3 clergy of Swan Hill Anglican Parish went to the Diocesan Blessing of Holy Oils and Renewal of Vows, which takes place each year on the Monday of Holy Week. The service is followed by a shared meal. The service took place at St Augustine’s Inglewood, and the parishioners there catered for the meal. For Rev Jan it was a return to her previous parish and a time to catch up on the latest news. Our vows have been renewed and our Holy Oil has been replenished all ready for Easter. Holy oils are used for blessing and anointing, in services of baptism, confirmation and ordination, and in ministry with the sick.
With Mothering Sunday falling on a fifth Sunday there were so many possibilites for the day that it was difficult to decide what to include; so we did it all. The men of the parish provided breakfast for the women. There was cereal, juice, tea, coffee, toast and pancakes, with toppings of berries, jams, caramelised figs, yoghurt and cream. It was a banquet full of life and health and colour.
The men arrived early and our pancakes were handmade on the barbeque.
One of our parishioners Donna Salathiel, director of The Wellbeing Path, was our guest speaker, sharing her journey and encouraging us in our wellness.
After breakfast we continued with our Harvest Festival Service. Pews were decorated with wheat stalks and the altar was surrounded with fruit and vegetables, the large and the small as well as greens and herbs. After the great thanksgiving for the fruits of creation, non perisables were donated to St Luke’s. At morning tea, the rest of the produce were available for purchase at Emily’s Fruit and Vegi Stall. The proceeds also went to St Luke’s.
The traditional Simnel Cake was prepared by Mrs Maggie Williams.
Wonderfully refreshed by these Refreshment Sunday activities we are ready to continue on our Lenten journey towards Easter.
It was generally agreed, that perhaps with the exception of Emily, the greatest fun of the morning was had by Rev Denis’ breakfast chefs.
Rev. Jan Harper
Photos Jon Roberts