Have Faith: Easter and Passover

Some services and reflections on the season.


It’s that time of year, when I ask Island clergy about Passover and Easter services. It’s also that time of year when they’re probably busiest.

The Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center offers a special Zoom program, Learn Songs for Your Seder with Deborah Strauss, on Tuesday, March 23, from 4 to 5 pm. A klezmer fiddler and Yiddish singer, Strauss will teach all the songs to sing at your family Seder on the first night, March 27, and then you can join the Hebrew Center at the virtual Community Seder on the second night, March 28, at 5:30 pm. Call the office at 508-693-0745 for information about the Zoom links.

The Rev. Stephen Harding, pastor of Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven, writes that Palm Sunday, March 28, 8:30 am service will be in-person, outdoors with registration through the church’s app or by calling the church at 508-693-0332. There will also be a 10 am online service, and another outdoor service with registration at 11:30 am. Holy Week will be streamed from the diocese, just visit graceepiscopalchurchmv.org. Easter Sunday services will feature an 8 am service in-person, outdoors with registration, a 10 am online service, and a 2:30 pm joint worship service at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs with St. Andrew’s Church.

The Rev. Cathlin Baker wrote about some of the Easter season details at the First Congregational Church in West Tisbury. All of the services will happen via Zoom, and links can be found on the church’s website: wtcongregationalchurch.org. Tenebrae/Maundy Thursday service is on Thursday, April 1, at 7:30 pm, worship with communion. On April 4, Easter Sunday, there is a sunrise Zoom service at 6 am, and another service with worship and communion at 10 am.

The Rev. Charlotte Wright, interim minister at the Federated Church in Edgartown, says there will be four special Easter season services. Palm Sunday on March 28 and Maundy Thursday on April 1 will feature prerecorded services available online at federatedchurchmv.org. On Easter Sunday, April 4, there will be two open-air, in-person services: Easter Sunrise Service with communion will be led by the Rev. Sharon Eckhardt on the Mayhew parsonage lawn at 6:30 am, 75 S. Water St. Bring a lawn chair and dress for the weather. The main Easter service with communion will be led by the Rev. Charlotte Wright and music minister Peter Boak, and will be in-person or live streamed at 12 pm at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs. (All COVID protocols will be followed and face coverings must be worn at both in-person services.)

Father Michael Nagle, pastor of Good Shepherd Parish, gave me the schedule for the Island churches he serves. Palm Sunday services include 4 pm Mass at St. Augustine’s in Vineyard Haven, Mass at 9 am at St. Augustine’s, and 11 am Mass on Palm Sunday at St. Elizabeth’s in Edgartown. Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper on April 1 takes place at 7 pm at St. Augustine’s Church. Liturgy of the Word and Veneration of the Cross takes place at 3 pm on Good Friday, April 2, at St. Augustine’s. Stations of the Cross at St. Augustine’s begins at 6 pm on Good Friday. Easter Vigil Mass at St. Augustine’s is at 7 pm on Saturday, March 27. There is a Sunrise Service at Sheriff’s Meadow Beach in Vineyard Haven at 6 am. Masses on Easter Sunday take place at St. Augustine’s at 8 am, at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs at 9:30 am, at St. Elizabeth’s in Edgartown at 11 am, and in Portuguese at St. Augustine’s at 11 am.

The Rev. Chip Seadale, pastor of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown, sent this information: “St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown will be continuing with online worship for Holy Week beginning with Palm/Passion Sunday, March 28 (which includes a dramatic reading of the Gospel by Islander friends); Maundy Thursday, April 1 (including the touching ritual of foot-washing and the stripping of the altar); and Good Friday (with the veneration of the Cross, remembering Christ’s torture and crucifixion). Then, on Easter Day, Sunday, April 4, we’ll not only have recorded, online worship available, but will be doing our first physically together worship since the end of September, at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs at 2:30 pm (bring your coats and get ready to CELEBRATE!). All our worship continues to be available on our YouTube Channel — one only needs to go onto the YouTube site, enter St Andrew’s—Edgartown, and click on the chosen worship offering!

“And a note to those who are unchurched, de-churched, skeptical, wondering, or spiritually hungry: this is a GREAT time to check out various offerings of faith communities to see what we’re up to — but don’t forget, we are communities first — which means we offer real caring, personal connections, and some community ‘spirit’ for those of us who might be searching for real caring and connection. So come (online) and give us a try! And Happy Easter to all! Death is no match for love!”

The Rev. Leo Christian at the First Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven sent information about services.
“Good Friday evening we will be having a socially distant COVID-compliant joint service at
7 pm at First Baptist Church, 43 Spring St., with First Assembly of God, Beacon of Hope,
and First Renewed Baptist Churches.
“And on Easter Sunday, we will be having our a socially distant COVID-compliant Morning
Worship Service at 11 am.”

The Rev. Susan Waldrop currently doesn’t have a physical church building where she serves, but gives us an affirming Easter message: “Happy Easter! Jesus is Risen, indeed!

Does the world seem the same? It is not. But change comes heart by heart, wherever we need hope or transformation. Reach out and receive His Love. Blessings all, Rev. Susan Waldrop”


Some of us have given up something important to us for the Lenten season, others have been focused on being more mindful and aware, others still have struggled maybe. It’s hard to keep any kind of faith when you’re experiencing hardship. For me though, that’s the time when my faith in God, a higher power, really kicks in. I used to worry about the fact that whole days go by and I forget to pray or to give thanks. Who feels like giving thanks when it feels the world is crashing down on you?

I would tell myself, “You’re so concerned with yourself and your busyness and troubles that you couldn’t find a few minutes to spend in prayer or meditation to thank the One who gives us everything.” (That right there might be Catholic guilt rising to the surface.) But honestly, I’ve learned to be more gentle with myself. God knows everything is crazy. He knows my life better than I do. And he’s always with me. I doubt he’s keeping tabs on exactly how many times I say thank you. Besides, I eventually return my heart and my prayers to God, knowing that he’s still there and still ready to listen.

Here’s to a happy Easter season, and hopes that wherever you are in your own journey, you realize that everyone else is on theirs right beside you.