Holy Week & Easter 2021 - Pastor Kristin's Column


Beloved Epworth Family,


We’ve entered the climax of Jesus’ earthly life known as Holy Week. Throughout this week, we’ll revisit the places of Jesus’ passion that we have been zooming in on throughout Lent. There are a number of special services and observances to strengthen your walk during this week which are detailed below.


On Maundy Thursday, April 1, a commemoration of the Last Supper will be held on Zoom at 6pm. Each of the dramatists who have enriched our worship throughout Lent will reprise their roles, and we will partake together in a service of holy communion. Please have bread or a wafer as well as juice or wine ready as elements. Also, please light a candle near you which will stay lit through the service. We’ll extinguish these together as we close.


On Good Friday, you’re invited to walk the Stations of the Cross with a social justice lens through our neighborhood. We have reached the maximum number of participants who can comfortably social distance for the 11am walk, but please do take advantage of the self-guided audio tour which will be available in Thursday’s This Week at Epworth. At noon on Good Friday, I’ll be part of a service of the seven last words of Christ, organized and hosted by Easter Hill UMC in Richmond. Tune in through Facebook or YouTube to hear seven diverse voices walk through Jesus’ last moments on the cross.


Easter’s joy comes to us on Sunday beginning with a sunrise service at the Berkeley Marina at 6:30am. Please RSVP here if you plan to come so appropriate preparations can be made. Everyone must be masked and practice social distancing between households. Then later that morning, we’ll have our 10am celebration service online through Facebook, YouTube and our own website. Prelude music starts at 9:30am. Both services are the same, so whether you are online or in person, you’ll experience the same liturgy and message. I look forward to a joyous celebration of Easter and resurrection with you all.


Finally, we have entered the home stretch of the You Raise Me Up campaign to fully fund an elevator at Epworth. Our goal is $40,000, and to date, we have raised $29,980 in pledges and gifts. The last $10,000 gift of that $29,980 was made as a challenge grant. A former member of Epworth who has been able to worship with us online throughout the pandemic wanted to encourage the congregation to go the last distance toward the goal. “The Epworth congregation raises me up!” she said. Would you make a gift today to reach the goal by Easter morning? You can do so by mail or online here. Thank you!


I look forward to walking the way of the cross with you this week, and celebrating again on Easter morning the new life that is confirmed in the resurrection.

In resurrection hope,

Pastor Kristin

Beloved Epworth Family,


Our journey through Lent and Jesus’ passion moves us into Holy Week beginning this Sunday. In worship, we’ll return briefly to Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem when he was greeted with Hosannas! and palms, and catch up with him in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Garden of Gethsemane is arguably the lowest point of Jesus’ life where he is facing immanent death, and yet it is also the place where he gives us some of the most important guidance for living. My message will be rooted in Mark 14:32-42 and I look forward to entering this most holy of weeks with you.


Throughout the week, there will be opportunities for you to experience these last days of Jesus’ life. On Maundy Thursday, April 1, a commemoration of the Last Supper will be held on Zoom at 6pm. Each of the dramatists who have enriched our worship throughout Lent will reprise their roles, and we will partake together in a communal meal and service of holy communion. Please have bread or a wafer as well as juice or wine ready as elements. Also, please light a candle near you which will stay lit through the service. We’ll extinguish these together as we close.


On Good Friday, you’re invited to walk the Stations of the Cross with a social justice lens in an audio tour beginning at Epworth, moving through our neighborhood. This can be self-guided, or you can walk with me starting at 11am. We’ll meet on the steps of the church. Please RSVP here if you plan to come. Then at noon, I’ll be part of a service of the seven last words of Christ, organized and hosted by Easter Hill UMC in Richmond. Tune in through Facebook or YouTube to hear seven diverse voices walk through Jesus’ last moments on the cross.


On Sunday, Easter’s celebration begins at 6:30am in the Berkeley Marina. Please RSVP here if you plan to come so appropriate preparations can be made. Everyone must be masked and practice social distancing between households. Still, even with these restrictions it will be good to come together for those comfortable doing so. We will also have our 10am celebration service online through Facebook, YouTube and our own website. I look forward to a joyous celebration of Easter and resurrection with you all.


In hope of the resurrection,

Pastor Kristin

P.S. Don’t forget there are two special opportunities for giving right now. The first is our Easter offering which will be split between the Meals Ministry at Taylor UMC in Oakland and the Nicaragua project. The second is the You Raise Me Up campaign to fully fund an elevator in the Epworth building. You can give to these appeals through the mail or through our website. Thank you for your generosity!

February 22, 2021: Entering the Passion of Jesus: Picturing Ourselves in the Story

Beloved Epworth Community,


The last week of Jesus’ life on earth is often described as his “passion.” Opening with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus’ passion follows him through the last days of his life. The high point of being praised by crowds waving palms descends into his betrayal, arrest and crucifixion. It is a time of reflection and reckoning.


Normally we spend just one week in Lent walking the passion with Jesus, the week we call “Holy Week” right before Easter. The intense emotions and experiences that Jesus experienced during that time reflect the intensity of this time of pandemic for us.


This year, we will be doing a deep dive into the passion of Christ with a worship series and related events on the theme “Entering the Passion of Jesus: Picturing Yourself in the Story.” The image above is drawn from a Lenten group in which Epworth members embodied each one of Jesus’ disciples in a tableau of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper painting. Participants remarked on how moving it was to imagine what each disciple and Jesus himself must have been going through. How will you “enter the story?”


I invite you to observe a Holy Lent, with new or renewed disciplines, practices, prayer and study. You will find many opportunities to journey the way of Jesus’ passion with the Epworth community this season: www.epworthberkeley.org/lent.


And then, as Easter dawns on April 4, I look forward to looking in awe with you at the empty tomb, an assurance that no matter what we suffer or endure, nothing, not even death can separate us from the gift of love in Christ Jesus.


As Easter breaks through in full, we’ll celebrate, again, the joy of the resurrection, the body of Christ alive in our midst.


Is there someone you know who has not experienced the joy and peace that companions in Christ bring? Someone who is traversing the hills and valleys alone? Please share these Lenten opportunities with them. Blessings to you as we enter into this holiest of seasons.


Grace and peace,

Pastor Kristin Stoneking





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