Easter is coming! Easter is the most important and the oldest festival of the Christian Church. Easter is important because it celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ which provides Christians assurance that their sins can be forgiven because God gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to die to assure our sins can be forgiven which allows eternal life (life after death) to be realized.
Unlike many other Holidays, Easter is not on the same date each year and can fall anytime between March 22 to April 25 in a given year. According to the Bible, Jesus’ death and resurrection occurred on the first Sunday (or at least after sundown on Saturday - the Jewish Sabbath) following the Jewish feast of Passover. Rather than depending on Jewish rabbis to determine the date for Easter (by setting the date to celebrate the feast of Passover), in 325 AD, the Council of Nicea set the date for the celebration of the Christian festival of Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon (Paschal full moon) following the spring equinox (when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night are nearly equal) but never on the date of the Paschal full moon if it happens to fall on a Sunday. Easter is on April 16, 2017 – as verified by checking the calendar which is much easier than checking dates of the spring equinox and lunar phases.
Lent is the time for Christians to prepare to celebrate the festival of Easter. Lent is a period of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday (March 1, 2017) and ends on Holy Saturday (April 15, 2017). Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter" and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the celebration of Easter; the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The word “Lent” comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means "spring." The forty days of Lent represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness (immediately after he was Baptized by John the Baptist) enduring temptation by Satan just before Jesus began his public ministry.
Lent is a time for Christians to repent, fast, and prepare for the coming of Easter. It is a time for self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.
Ash Wednesday will be celebrated at the Fairmont Community Church. Numerous other services will be held, including a Sunday evening Lenten series in cooperation with churches in Dorchester, Friend and Milligan.
Everyone is invited to participate - you don’t need to be a member of the United Methodist Church or even a member of a church. If you feel God calling you to be in relationship with God, you are encouraged to prepare for Easter. All God wants is to be in a relationship with you and God wants all to be well with your soul.
The following page contains a list of services and events leading up to and including Easter.
Service or Event
March 1, 2017-7:00 p.m. - Ash Wednesday Services at Fairmont Community Church
March 5, 2017-11:00 a.m. - Worship with Communion at Fairmont Community Church
7:00 p.m. - Lenten Service at Dorchester United Methodist Church
March 12, 2017-11:00 a.m. - Worship at Fairmont Community Church
7:00 p.m. - Lenten Service at Exeter United Church of Christ
March 19, 2017-11:00 a.m. - Worship at Fairmont Community Church
7:00 p.m. - Lenten Service at Milligan United Methodist Church
March 26, 2017-11:00 a.m. - Worship at Fairmont Community Church
7:00 p.m. - Lenten Service at Friend United Methodist Church
March 29, 2017-7:00 p.m. - Combined Choir Practice at Friend United Church of Christ
April 2, 2017-11:00 a.m.Worship with Communion at Fairmont Community Church
7:00 p.m. - Lenten Service at Fairmont Community Church
April 5, 2017-7:00 p.m. - Combined Choir Practice at Friend United Church of Christ
April 9, 2017-11:00 a.m. - Palm Sunday Worship at Fairmont Community Church
6:00 p.m. - Combined Choir Practice at Friend United Church of Christ
7:00 p.m. - Final Lenten Service at Frien United Church of Christ with combined choir
April 13, 2017-7:00 p.m. - Maundy Thursday Service with Communion at Fairmont Community Church
April 14, 2017-Noon - Good Friday Service at Milligan United Methodist Church with lunch provided
April 16, 2017-11:00 a.m. - Easter Sunday Worship at Fairmont Community Church
The Sunday morning Lenten Sermon Series is: Living Our Baptismal Calling. The sermon titles during this series are: March 5, 2017 - Renounce; March 12, 2017 - Accept; March 19, 2017 - Confess; March 26, 2017 - Nurture; and April 2, 2017 - Believe.
The Sunday evening Lenten Sermon Series is: Repent: Turn to Jesus! The sermon titles during this series are: March 5, 2017 - Repent: Turn to Jesus and Not to Yourself; March 12, 2017 - Repent: Turn to Jesus; Do Not Turn Away; March 19, 2017 - Repent: Turn to Jesus; He Holds the Key to Heaven; March 26, 2017 - Repent: Turn to Jesus; He Longs to Forgive You; and April 2, 2017 - Repent: Turn to Jesus; He Changes Your Life; and April 9, 2017 - Turn to Jesus When You Face Temptations.