Ardmore Moravian Church

EASTER

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. John 3:16

HOLY WEEK

The week before Easter is known as “Holy Week”.  During this week, the congregation uses a manual entitled “The Readings of Holy Week”.  Services are held at Ardmore each evening during Holy Week (Sunday - Thursday) at 7:00pm and Friday at 2:15pm.  The readings are biblical references from the New Testament following the activities of Jesus Christ during each day of the week telling of his sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension. In 2017, Holy Week is April 9 – 16. Sunday Morning – On Palm Sunday, we celebrate Christ’s entry into Jerusalem as we begin Holy Week (also called Passion Week) together with beautiful music, liturgy, and the word of God.  The children of the church hand out palm branches for people to wave.  During the liturgy, the choir and congregation sing “Hosanna”, a Moravian hymn using the bible text from Matthew 21:9 where the crowd following Jesus shouted “Hosana to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Sunday Evening – a lovefeast is served by dieners (German for servers), the choir will sing "Bethany, O Peaceful Habitation" and we will read pages 5-15 in the manual. Monday evening we will read pages 16-33a in the manual. Tuesday evening we will read pages 33b-49 in the manual. Wednesday evening we will read pages 50-74a in the manual.  Thursday evening we will read pages 74b-83 in the manual. Also, Maundy Thursday Communion will be observed. Friday afternoon we will read pages 84-103 in the manual as part of the Crucifixion Service. The bell will toll 33 times at 3:00pm in remembrance of the years Christ was on earth with us. The congregation departs in silence contemplating the meaning of Christ's sacrificial death.

EASTER SUNRISE SERVICE

The 245 th  Easter Sunrise Service, sponsored by the 13 Salem Congregation churches, will be held on Sunday, April 16. 2017, beginning at 6:00 AM and will be led by The Rt. Rev. Lane Sapp, pastor of Calvary Moravian Church.  Worshippers will gather in front of Home Moravian Church, 529 S. Church Street (at the corner of Academy Street and S. Church Street) to begin the service proclaiming “The Lord is risen! The Lord is risen indeed!”  In reverent procession, worship continues as participants assemble in God’s Acre for the conclusion of the service. (Note:  the following information about the Sunrise Service, God’s Acre, The Church Band, and Radio Broadcast was taken from the liturgy bulletin used by Salem Congregation at the Sunrise Service.) The Sunrise Service of the Moravians in Winston-Salem is an old service, rich in deep spiritual significance. It originated in Herrnhut, Saxony, a village which had been established in 1722 on the estate of Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf by a band of religious refugees, descendants of the Ancient Unitas Fratrum. On Easter Sunday in 1732, before dawn, a group of earnest young men met by special appointment on "God's Acre" to sing appropriate hymns and to meditate upon the great fact of Christ's death and resurrection. To these young men, as they stood among the simply marked graves, singing their songs of hope and faith, watching the rising sun drive darkness from the hills and valleys, there came a deeper appreciation of the resurrection truth than they had ever before experienced. With this simple beginning, the holding of a sunrise service on Easter morning became an annual feature in the worship services of the Moravian Church wherever it has established itself. In Winston-Salem, this service, with little variation from the traditional and liturgical form, has been held since 1772 under the auspices of the Salem Congregation Churches. It is in no sense one of spectacular appeal or pageantry, but is held as a service of true worship, centering attention on the great underlying fact of the Christian Faith, THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST, through which God placed a seal of approval on Jesus' atoning sacrifice and established the truth of the claims of our religion. The service offers each one who attends an opportunity to renew a faith in the Risen Christ, in "the communion of saints," in "the forgiveness of sins," and in "the life everlasting."

GOD’S ACRE

Moravian graveyards are called “God’s Acre”.  The site for the Salem Congregation graveyard was selected April 21, 1766; the avenue bordering the graveyard was laid out in the year 1770; and the first body, that of John Birkhead, one of the eight men who first came to the settlement, was interred June 7, 1771. The Moravians still call their graveyard by that significant and ancient name used by their ancestors "God's Acre." It is a "field" in which the bodies of loved ones are sown in faith as "physical bodies," in due time to be raised as "spiritual bodies." A feature of God's Acre is the recumbent stones, symbolizing the Moravian belief in the democracy of death and making it impossible to distinguish between the graves of rich and poor. The burial of members according to "choirs," or station in life (married men, married women, single men, single women, etc.) rather than by families, is another distinguishing feature, carrying out the departmental system which was introduced into the Moravian Church over two hundred years ago by Count Zinzendorf.

THE CHURCH BAND

Music was from the beginning assigned a prominent place in the Moravian Church, both for its cultural value and as an aid in the expression and development of the religious life. Congregational singing is made a feature of its services, and the Band is used to helpful advantage in the outdoor services, on festival occasions, and in the Moravian funeral service. Particular emphasis has been placed on the development of the Band, which had a small beginning with six members over two hundred years ago. It has grown from that small beginning to more than five hundred members. About two o'clock on Easter morning, all the Moravian musicians who play in the Band assemble in groups to go throughout the city playing chorales, partly to remind all listeners of the Resurrection, and partly to awaken people for the Sunrise Service. The first chorale played by each group is "Sleepers, Wake!"

RADIO BROADCAST

Since 1930 the Easter Sunrise Service of The Moravian Church has been broadcast yearly by WSJS, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Moravian Church expresses appreciation to WSJS for making possible an extensive witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.