Christmas Eve is December 24, and in our two worship services we commemorate the birth of Jesus. The first service, usually at 5:00 p.m., is family-friendly celebrating the birth of Christ in a manner appropriate for all ages. The second service is our most festive of the Christian year. It is a Candlelight Festival Service of Holy Communion in which the true meaning of Christmas is celebrated: God’s becoming a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ in an incredible act of love for our salvation.
New Year’s Eve
This vesper service, usually at 6:00 p.m., is modeled after John Wesley’s Covenant Service.
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days (40 days not counting Sundays) before Easter. The Ash Wednesday service is held each year at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary. The ashes used are typically gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are burned.
Palm Sunday is the day we remember the “triumphal entry” of Jesus into Jerusalem, exactly one week before His resurrection. Palms are passed out at this service.
Maundy Thursday, also known as “Holy Thursday” is the Thursday of Passion Week, one day before Good Friday (the Thursday before Easter). Two important events are the focus of Maundy Thursday. First, River Road Church observes a special Communion service on Maundy Thursday in memory of Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples. Second, Jesus’ self-giving act for our salvation is observed through Tenebrae (Latin for shadows or darkness) a distinctive ceremony where the gradual extinguishing of the candles in the sanctuary occurs while the story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion is read.
Good Friday is the Friday immediately preceding Easter Sunday. River Road Church observes Good Friday with a subdued service (shared by several church in the River Road corridor), usually at Noon, in which Christ’s death is remembered with solemn hymns, prayers of thanksgiving, a message centered on Christ suffering for our sakes.
We offer two services of worship on Easter to accommodate the very large number of worshippers. The service is marked by joy and emphasizes the last word in the Easter story, namely: life.
Day of Pentecost
This day is the great climax of the Easter-Pentecost Season, known as the Great Fifty Days. On this day we remember and celebrate the fullness of God’s promises in Jesus Christ.
Trinity Sunday is a day in which we praise and worship the infinitely complex and unfathomable mystery of God’s being as Holy Trinity. Although the basic liturgical color for this half of the Christian Year is green, for Trinity Sunday the liturgical color is white, symbolizing God’s purity and perfection.
All Saints Day
All Saints Day falls on November 1, but may be celebrated on the first Sunday in November in the Christian year. It is also known as All Hallows’ Day. The service of worship and holy communion reminds us of those for whom the battle is over, the victory won, and also of our continuing pilgrimage toward God and the heavenly banquet. To render thanks to God for the lives and deaths of the saints is to recognize the common bond between the church on earth and the church triumphant in God’s love. The liturgical color is white, signifying that it is Christ who lives in the saints.
River Road Church participates in a community-wide service of worship one evening before Thanksgiving.
Christ the King Sunday
Christ the King is both the last Sunday after Pentecost and the last Sunday of the Christian year, a transitional Sunday leading directly to Advent and the new Christian year. On Christ the King Sunday, worship stresses the continuity between the celebration of Christ’s sovereignty (kingship) and the expectation of Christ’s coming again in glory, which is anticipated in the Season of Advent.