Wesley United Methodist Church in Connellsville to continue Maundy Thursday tradition
A Passover Remembrance, which has been held at Wesley United Methodist Church in Connellsville on Maundy Thursday for more than 25 years, will take place again at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Nancy Duncan, church member and coordinator, begins planning the service at least one month in advance, contacting each of the men who portray the Apostles. “Fortunately, they are always willing to participate and they each do a fantastic job. They memorize their verses, which makes it so realistic,” she said. “This year our pastor, the Rev. Dave Ealy will play Thaddeus, who is not available from last year's group.”
Two Apostles are played by parishioners from Ealy's Franklin Memorial United Methodist Church in Dunbar. The others are all from Connellsville's Wesley United Methodist Church.
The Apostles wear costumes and sit by candlelight. Symbolic foods are used.
Duncan said the focus is on Jesus' teaching as the 12 Disciples gathered with Him around the table in the Upper Room, to remind us of our own place at the table where Jesus is the host and teacher. The various foods are eaten with symbolic purpose and meaning; they are not meant to be enjoyed for their taste, but to be eaten as an act of devotion and faith.
The eating of the greens symbolizes new growth; bitter herbs, like parsley, remind of bitterness of life and bondage of sin; an olive is next, the fruit of the tree of life, symbolic of Israel's past and future beauty and the source of many life-giving products, she continued. Next, the unleavened bread is the symbol of the bread of affliction which the Israelites ate in the land of Egypt. It was the bread of haste which did not have the chance to rise on the day of leaving Egypt. A boiled egg follows, which is the symbol of God's creation, the world and everything created by God.
The last food is a grape, which is the fruit of the vine that reminds us of the vine which Jesus declared himself to be with his followers, the branches which are to bear fruit.
Those in attendance will be seated at tables and partake of the foods as the disciples do after each one speaks. Andrew and Phillip are followed by the eating of the greens, Duncan said. James the Lesser and Judas are followed by the bitter herbs. Following Peter, the olive is eaten, then Thomas and Simon the zealot are followed by the unleavened bread. James speaks, followed by the eating of egg. Thaddeus and Matthew are followed by the grape, and Nathaniel and John speak last.
The congregation then receives communion.
“The choir is there with beautiful music directed by Kay Springer who is also our church organist. The program takes a lot of practice and preparation by many people. The service is moving and meaningful, a wonderful part of our Easter celebration,” Duncan said.
Ealy encourages everyone in the community to attend this solemn presentation.
“It is an inspirational experience for all ages. Each disciple has a monologue of what he is feeling and thinking that night and Jesus is present in spirit.”
The program will be held in the Susanna Wesley Room, which can be reached by entering the lower church door on South Pittsburgh Street.
Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.