A Holy Week first Easter in this new chapter of the Trinity Retreat Center

Hey friends! When Trinity parishioners and colleagues asked me this past Monday how Holy Week went up here at the retreat center, it gave me the idea to post some photos from the week back to you, to add your retrospective participation to all that went on in the chapel. It was a rich week and a pleasure to celebrate, and helped bring this place to a new level of awakening.

Holding Holy Week services before we open (September 1) was the perfect "beta-test" - a chance to get all the gear a church needs to function through the year. I could also discover the range of the chapel's capacity and furniture configurations, and could begin to create the foundational norms rhythms and style of worship that will continue to evolve over the coming year.

Grateful thanks to Joe Rose for his co-leadership in liturgy, and to Heidi for a pitch-perfect Thursday Agape meal; and thanks to Scott Smith for helping outfit the chapel with his usual easy efficiency and humor. Great teamwork!

This past week the buds were just on the cusp of bursting. It added another dimensions to prayer when everything surrounding us was visibly straining forward!

Palm Sunday

We would love to have brought Maggie down for the St. Paul's Chapel-to-Trinity Palm Sunday procession, but she's not quite ready for city-life showtime - Next year!

Maundy Thursday

Dinner Church...

Fourteen of us gathered in the chapel for an Agape meal using a Eucharistic prayer from the 2nd-century. Then we washed feet, and stripped the chapel bare for Good Friday.

[photos courtesy of Joe Rose]

Heidi created a tasty and colorful Mediterranean-themed meal - a foretaste of what is to come when the center is opened!
Abundant simplicity.
Sermon sharing around the table.
"Love one another, as I have loved you..."

Good Friday

From the abundant table to the stripped stone chapel. Spare beauty.

We had two dozen people attending this service! We've cultivated partnerships with local UCC, Lutheran, and RC clergy/congregants, and the result was delightfully surprising. Get out the folding chairs!!! [photo courtesy of Joe Rose]

Saturday - The Great Vigil of Easter

It keeps surprising me, how little it takes to make these stones feel vibrantly alive. An icon, a flower, a candle, and then just let its beauty open up!
This might have been the highlight of the week: the friends who gathered together for the Vigil: [pictured R to L]: Rabbi Darren Levine (Tamid) was in the house for the weekend. He and I have celebrated Yom Kippur and Passover for years at St. Paul's Chapel. Saturday night I heard the readings with new resonance, and celebrated our personal and congregations' friendship with even great affection. Mary Gates, who is the priest of the local congregation meeting Sundays here in the chapel (and leader of a Buddhist sangha up the hill); we have quickly become close colleagues and friends, and she will certainly have an influence in the spiritual possibility of this place. Clayton Crawley, one of my closest friends of many years, with whom I'm in a life-long clergy colleagues group, came over with his husband, Roy, from their upstate NY home. And a Trinity parishioner - Ryan Campbell and his friend Aron, were in the hood and joined us. With a few other local congregants who joined us we celebrated Resurrection simply and truthfully. This is Real.
The New Fire [photo courtesy of Ryan Campbell]
Singing the Exultet with a Vigil candle from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem [photo courtesy of Ryan Campbell]

Easter day

Sunday morning's 8am All Saints congregation - a joy to be coming to know them!
Monday morning the chapel is different than it was last Monday. It's not just the gear and the smell of the hyacinth - there's a luminosity and a depth that has come through sweeeping and carrying and recruiting and sitting and singing and basically rehearsing our lives in ritual. I don't take this opportunity to shape the patterns of prayer lightly or for granted. It's been a privilege and a great gift. Thank you all! [photo courtesy of Joe Rose]
Experiencing the chapel this Holy Week, I was aware of earlier chapters of its life, styled quite differently, though equally faithful and resonant.
This holy week felt liminal, a cusp between the echo and wellspring of the past, and the whisper and call of the future.

These past three months and this Holy Week have further taught me what a "thin" place this is, where boundaries between past and future, seen and unseen, seem to dissolve. This happens in simple, daily, ordinary ways...

resurrection continues, all around us! ...
Created By
Daniel Simons
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