Advent is a time of waiting for the arrival of Christmas: the coming of Jesus to earth when he was born as a baby in Bethlehem, about 2000 years ago. Church services relate to the coming of Jesus and the preparations for this.
Lent represents the 40 days that Jesus spent being tempted in the wilderness by the Devil. Lent is preceded by Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) and begins with Ash Wednesday. It is a time when Christians prepare for Easter by thinking about their spiritual lives and their relationship with God. Here in Kingston, Study Groups or film series, or special reading programmes help us to reflect on these things, and we join with members of other churches in the town as we prepare for Easter.
The last week of Lent is known as Holy Week
Easter is the oldest and most important Christian Festival. It marks the death and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The date of Easter changes every year (it falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox).
At the start of Holy Week, Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, when the people spread palm leaves before Him. Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper which took place on the Jewish festival of Passover. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and asked them to continue to share bread and wine in memory of him. We now celebrate this tradition in our communion service as do other Christian churches. Good Friday marks the day when Jesus was crucified and died on the cross while Easter Sunday celebrates his resurrection on the third day after his crucifixion.
There are services at our church on all of these days. A supper is held on Maundy Thursday for all Kingston churches; a Walk of Witness on Good Friday is followed by different services in our partner churches. Easter Sunday communion is an especially joyful time.
Pentecost, also called Whitsun, occurs on the 7th Sunday after Easter and commemorates the time when the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus' disciples. They were changed from frightened, disillusioned followers into empowered men able to spread Christianity and the message of Jesus throughout the ancient world.