The Three Days
Maundy Thursday is much like Sundays except that the candles need to be extinguished before the altar area is stripped. The acolytes could also help with clearing the chancel area if there aren’t enough altar guild ladies present. We’ll figure that out on Thursday.
On Good Friday, the crossbearer has no responsibilities until the end of the service; there are no acolytes. When the Lord’s Prayer ends, he should be in the fellowship area standing at the doorway to the sanctuary. After “Behold the life-giving cross, on which was hung the Savior of | the whole world. Oh, come, let us | worship him.” is sung or spoken the first time, he should walk halfway down the aisle and stop. After it’s sung/spoken a second time, he walks to the altar and rests the cross against the altar. (The cross for Good Friday is wooden and will not fit in a stand so it should rest at an angle.) The congregation sings a third time.
The candlebearer for Easter Vigil should be at the church about a half hour before the service begins. We begin outside. Candlebearer will hold the paschal candle. Pastor Bob will trace the inscription on the candle as the candlebearer holds it. The candle will be lit outside. After the words “the light of Christ…” are repeated, Candlebearer processes to door at entrance to sanctuary (congregation follows) where the handheld candles will be lit (distributed from small basket). After all the candles are lit, Erin will sing “the light of Christ”, the candle is then processed to the middle of the aisle where the candlebearer will stop until Erin sings again. He then processes the candle to its stand centered in front of altar and Erin and the congregation sing again. The rest of the candles are lit after the Old Testament readings.
Another option is to process the candle to the fellowship area where the handheld candles will be lit. The candlebearer stands at the doorway to the sanctuary while Erin chants (after the candles are lit). The candlebearer then processes the candle to the font and stops while Erin chants. The candle is moved to the altar and placed in the stand, Erin chants again. As the candle is placed in the stand the acolytes begin lighting the other candles—candelabras first starting at the bottom and working up, then the torches, then the candles on the altar (can stand on platform to reach altar candles). They should work in unison. As candles are lit, stain glass window should be turned on. When candles are extinguished, everything is in reverse—altar candles, then torches, then candelabras from top to bottom. If there is a baptism, the candleholder will be at the font so the candle will be processed back to the font and placed in the stand.
The stained glass window is lit as the acolytes light the first candle.
If there are enough people signed up for the vigil that there is a constant presence in the sanctuary overnight, the paschal candle should not be extinguished.