Each Wednesday morning, the clergy in the Magnolia area gather for coffee in fellowship to support one another and pray. A few months ago, part of this coffee group discussed how they would like to join together for Holy Week. Once they visited with other pastors from the area, the “Columbia County United Methodist Holy Week” became a reality.
“As clergy, we wanted to work together to be able to better serve our community,” Rev. Dan Read shared. “Working together allowed us to bring more congregants to each service, and it allowed us to focus on one service each to make it very meaningful. For the members of our congregations, it was a chance to experience Holy Week in a new way. It was a great encouragement to see our churches working together in the Methodist connection.”
Stations of the Cross was held on Wednesday at Greer’s Chapel UMC, with Rev. Dan Read officiating. Participants walked through a series of Biblical stations as they contemplated the events leading up to the crucifixion. Every station contained a scripture reading, a prayer, and an action. Participants were able to pick up a bag filled with 30 pieces of silver, touch a crown of thorns, tear a piece of fabric, and in the final station participants entered a darkened room set as the tomb of Christ.
A Maundy Thursday service was held at First United Methodist Church in Magnolia along with communion with Rev. Gary Maskell and Rev. Melissa Maskell.
A Tenebrae Service of Darkness was held on Good Friday at Asbury United Methodist Church, led by Rev. David Moore. Scripture lessons based upon the last week before the resurrection were provided by Rev. Barbara Lewis, Rev. Carol Moore, Rev. Gary Maskell, and Rev. Dan Read, as the service ended in darkness.
Rev. David Moore shared, “Because of the restrictions placed on gathering for worship for the last two years (due to COVID-19) I felt a feeling of the restoration of some normalcy. In addition, the churches coming together sent a message out to Magnolia that as United Methodists we are in unity with the celebration of Holy Week.”
In all, there were 12 local United Methodist Churches that were represented in the Columbia County United Methodist Holy Week.
“In a time when we are all experiencing waning church attendance, the Holy Week multi-church services were spirit-filled and encouraging,” added Rev. Barbara Lewis, of Emerson UMC and Harmony, Magnolia UMC.