Though our life together centers around our weekly celebration of the Holy Eucharist, there are other times and reasons to gather to worship. We mark the seasons of the Church year: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost, with changes in our liturgy, which sometimes includes adding special services. These are published on our calendar and information is included in our weekly newsletter.
Christmas: Christmas Eve we have two services at 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm. The early “Family Service” is designed for children of all ages. Both services include special music, with the early service featuring the Children’s and Senior Choirs. The later service is designated the “Festival Eucharist,” featuring our Senior Choir and guest musicians. Christmas Day we celebrate a spoken Eucharist at 10:00 am.
Lent, Holy Week and Easter: We enter into Lent with the Imposition of Ashes at noon and at 7:00 pm. We also take part in the nation-wide Ashes to Go ministry, bringing ashes and prayers to the Millburn Train Station from 6:00 to 8:45 am. We move into Holy Week with a special Palm Sunday service. We gather at 7:00 pm on Maundy Thursday for Eucharist and Foot Washing (an ancient tradition), followed by the Stripping of the Altar and a Vigil. On Good Friday, we gather at noon and then again at 8:00 pm for “The Proper Liturgy for Good Friday,” a solemn prayer service. We joyfully celebrate the Resurrection with a Festival Eucharist on Easter Sunday.
Blessing of the Animals: The Blessing of the Animals is an annual autumn event at St. Stephen’s. At St. Stephen’s, we love all God’s creatures. To commemorate The Feast of St. Francis, we bless the animals in our parish family and beyond. This outdoor service (unless the weather means a move indoors) is in the afternoon of the Sunday closest to October 4th. Refreshments for creatures large and small are provided. This year’s service will take place on Sunday, October 6, 2019.
Interfaith Thanksgiving Service: The Coalition of Religious Leaders of Millburn and Short Hills hosts an annual Thanksgiving Gathering in November. This community celebration of gratitude includes prayer, music, liturgical dance, and refreshments. This year’s service will take place on Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 4 PM at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, 1025 South Orange Avenue, Short Hills.
The Ordinary and Extraordinary Times: There also are times when the realities of our lives or the goings on in the world call us to gather together for prayer or worship. As with our seasonal services, these are published on our calendar and information is included in our weekly newsletter.