For many in Montclair, Ash Wednesday and Lent will once again be in person
By DIEGO JESUS BARTESAGHI MENA
Churches in the Montclair area are preparing for Lent – the 40-day observance that for many Christians includes prayer, fasting and almsgiving. For some watching, it will mean the return to in-person services, including ash distributions, for the first time in the pandemic.
“Now is a time to acknowledge our own mortality and reconnect with the Lord,” said Reverend Ann Rolosky, senior pastor for worship and transformation for the congregation at First Congregational Churchnoted.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 2, and continues until Thursday, April 14.
Rolosky said that for his congregation, this Ash Wednesday will be in person and live, after two years of virtual-only services during the pandemic. She said the service will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the church, located at 40 South Fullerton Ave.
She invited anyone to join the church labyrinth prayer – a meditative “walking prayer” through a path on the floor of the church. The labyrinth of the First Congregation is modeled on that of Chartres Cathedral in France and is at the center of the sanctuary.
But Rolosky said there was no need to participate in this more intimate prayer experience; everyone can also join the benches.
She said the service will also feature live Taizé music, a form of prayer music that originated in the Taizé community in France in the 1940s, and will be available online at facebook.com/FCCMontclair.
Rolosky said that throughout Lent the church will have its Sunday services. During Holy Week, the church will also hold a series of events. On March 16, he will screen the documentary “The Sacrifice Zone,” which talks about environmental racism in Newark. This will be followed by a conversation about the film led by the Reverend John Rogers, Senior Pastor for Spiritual Formation and Community Development.
St. James Episcopal Church, located at 581 Valley Road in Upper Montclair, will have two in-person services on Ash Wednesday, at noon and 7 p.m., Reverend Melissa Hall said. The service will also be available via Zoom. The link will be sent via the weekly church newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter, register on stjamesepiscopal.orgclick on the “News” tab and scroll down to “Weekly E-blast”.
The church will also host an art installation reflecting the 14 Stations of the Cross. Hall said the installation, “The Doors Project,” began as a creative way to reflect on this tragic and historic event in the life of Jesus.
“These stations are considered to be the touchpoints of the actual journey that Jesus made on Good Friday, from his arrests through his judgment, persecution, execution and finally his burial in the tomb,” she said.
Hall said the actual gates will be on display on the St. James lawn for two weeks beginning April 10.
“As we talk and explore the possibilities of ‘The Doors Project,’ we understand that keeping Good Friday and the Stations of the Cross is not everyone’s tradition,” Hall said.
“However, the doors are a universal experience for everyone.”
She said that doors define boundaries – they close the world or welcome it. They can mark the beginning of a relationship or the separation of those inside and outside. She said a front door can also be the first statement of who we are – signified by the colors we choose and whether we adorn them with welcome mats or doorbell cameras.
“They can also be a gateway to moments filled with dread, like sitting outside an intensive care unit, or the joy of walking into a delivery room to deliver a child. world,” Hall said. “No two doors are the same; two doors do not have the same meaning. Doors can have endless interpretations, and while they may be common, they can be very unique.
She invites everyone, regardless of religion or spiritual belief, to visit the art installation and experience it, not necessarily as a Christian, but as a human.
“A door is not just a surface but rather an affirmation, a commentary, an identity, a border. It can be a portal to the end times or endless possibilities for new beginnings,” Hall said. “Come and walk on the lawn of St. James. Through art, poetry, storytelling and other creative expressions shown on the doors, experience, wonder, laugh, cry and learn.
Montclair Redeemer Church, located at 19 North Willow St., will not hold an Ash Wednesday service, but the church will hold services on Good Friday, April 15 at 7 p.m., and an Easter morning service on April 17 at 10 a.m. h, church administrator, Loretta DiQuattro, said. Services are available in person or online at redeemermontclair.com.
St. Cassian Roman Catholic Church187 Bellevue Ave., will have an Ash Wednesday distribution of ashes during Masses at 8:15 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., as well as separate ash distributions at 12:05 p.m. and 4 p.m., according to administrator Mary Cavagnaro.
Union Congregational Churchat 176 Cooper Ave., will hold services on Ash Wednesday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Services will be held in person and will be streamed live on the church’s YouTube page (search “UnionCong1”).
Upper Montclair Presbyterian Church at 53 Norwood Ave. will hold an in-person service on Ash Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Masks and social distancing will be required. Live streams of the services will be available on pcum.org.
Church of Christ Montclair, at 68 Church Street, will hold services on Easter Sunday. The church has Saturday and Sunday services available to attend in person as well as online via christchurchusa.org.
Union Baptist Church, at 12 Midland Ave., will hold an online service on Ash Wednesday at 6 a.m. The link will be sent to the church contact list. To join the contact list, said Yvette Folkes, executive assistant to the senior pastor, call the church directly at 973-746-3270 or email [email protected].
First Montclair Lutheran Church, at 153 Park St., currently only holds online services, according to a message taped to its office number. Attendees can request a Zoom link by calling the office at 973-744-6043.
The Montclair local left messages for the first Lutheran, First United Methodist Church at 24 North Fullerton Avenue, St. John’s Episcopal Church at 55, avenue Montclair, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church at 51 Elm Street and Grace Presbyterian Church at 153 Grove St. Friday for more information on their services and awaits their responses.
Additionally, a message left Feb. 18 at St. Teresa Parish in Calcutta, which includes the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church at 30 North Fullerton Ave. and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church at 94 Pine St., has yet to be fired (the church office was closed that day).
Raffaele Marzullo, from the OLMC parishioner community outreach program, said that while Sunday mass resumes on the first Sunday of Lent (March 6), the program will host the parish Stations of the Cross at the OLMC on March 11, 18 and March 25 and April 1. Stations would be preceded at 6 p.m. with soup (with two meatless offerings), bread, salad, snacks and drinks for all attendees.
But the church has had an abbreviated mass schedule since it reopened last year, and Marzullo said he didn’t yet know if mass was scheduled.
This post will be updated to reflect service plans at churches not yet reached by the Montclair Local as information becomes available.