Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, is when Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The solemn week precedes the celebration of Easter, Jesus' resurrection. The American Bible Society notes that Easter falls earlier this year than any time since 1913. For Eastern Orthodox Christians, Easter will fall on April 27 this year. The following are some of the Holy Week and Easter events planned in our area:
The Pinellas Park Ministerial Association will hold its annual Good Friday Service from noon to 1 p.m. Friday at the Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center, 4951 78th Ave. N.
Good Samaritan Church, 6085 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park, will hold its Maundy Thursday Worship Service of Diminishing Light at 7 p.m. Thursday. "Maundy" refers to Jesus' commandment to love one another, and this will be interpreted by the telling of the Passion narrative and Holy Communion at the Cross. The church's Easter service will be at 10:30 a.m., which will be followed by a children's Easter egg hunt in the Peace Garden and fellowship with refreshments. Go to www.goodsam-church.org or call 544-8558.
Lake Seminole Presbyterian Church, 8505 113th St., Seminole, will show the film The True Easter Story: A Promise Kept, 6 to 7 p.m. March 26. This free program includes refreshments. Go to www.lakeseminolepc.org or call 391-5509.
Pass-a-Grille Beach Community Church will hold its 67th Easter Sunrise Service at 7 a.m. on Pass-a-Grille Point, First Avenue and Gulf Boulevard, south of the Don Cesar Hotel. A pancake breakfast will be served afterward at the church, 107 16th Ave., St. Pete Beach. Regular Easter services will be held at 9:15 and 11 a.m. at the church. Call 360-5508.
The 20th Annual Easter Sunrise Service at the Pier will take place at 6:45 a.m. at 800 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. The Unity A Cappella Gospel Ensemble and Salvation Army Band will provide music. The Rev. Robert E. Smith of 20th Street Church of Christ will lead the service and deliver the sermon. A freewill offering will benefit Florida Resurrection House, an ecumenical ministry that helps homeless and poor working families with minor children to become self-sufficient. The service is being sponsored by Florida Resurrection House, the Downtown Clergy Association and the Pier. Free parking and the trolleys will be available. Call 823-4742.
Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 3300 31st St. S, St. Petersburg, will hold its Easter sunrise service at 6 a.m. The adult choir will sing. Afterward, the youth department drama ministry will perform A Living Testimony for Easter. A second service will be held at 10 a.m.
Pax Christi Tampa Bay will hold its annual "Way of the Cross Today," a contemporary version of Stations of the Cross, at 5:30 p.m. Good Friday, starting on the corner of First Avenue and Sixth Street N, St. Petersburg. The
group will follow the traditional stages, or "stations," of Jesus' crucifixion, but set in the modern context of the "American Empire" in 2008. As members wind through downtown St. Petersburg, they will find the parallels between the crucifixion of Jesus and crucifixions today: war, homelessness, injustice, the School of the Americas, the farmworkers' struggle, gun violence and ecological destruction.
Pasadena Community Church, Pasadena Avenue at Second Avenue S, St. Petersburg, will present the cantata This Man at 7 p.m. Good Friday. The work, which will incorporate folk art and spirituals, tells the passion story from the Last Supper to the empty tomb. Scripture, folk songs, spirituals and original art will be part of the performance. The art was commissioned by the Pasadena Community Church Sacred Arts Department from Rudolph Bostick, a religious folk artist living in Savannah, Ga. Robert Drick, director of music ministries at the church, is the composer and arranger of the cantata. Call 381-2499.
Lutheran Church of the Cross, 4545 Chancellor St. NE, St. Petersburg, will host the Gustavus Adolphus Wind Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. on March 27. Gustavus Adolphus College is a liberal arts college in Minnesota. The 60 musicians are also performing in Winter Park and Naples. Call 525-8364.
Christ United Methodist Church, 467 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg, will present a music and reader's theater, The Lamb and the Wolf, at 7 p.m. in its chapel. Saturday, the church will hold its traditional Easter Eve Sunset Service at Hurley Park at Treasure Island. Bring a picnic at 6 p.m. and worship on the beach at sunset. Easter services will be the next day. Call 822-3343.
Pilgrim United Church of Christ, 6315 Central Ave., will celebrate Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday today at 10:30 a.m. It will hold its Maundy Thursday Tenebrae Service at 7 p.m. On Good Friday the service will be at 7 p.m. Easter services will be at 8 and 10:30 a.m. A continental breakfast will be served between services. A nursery will be available at the 10:30 a.m. service. Call 347-1226.
Lakewood United Methodist Church, 5995 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. S, St. Petersburg, will hold Palm Sunday services at 10:25 today. A Maundy Thursday service will be at 7 p.m., and Saturday a children's Easter celebration will take place at 10 a.m. The church will hold a sunrise service at Lassing Park at 7 a.m. Easter Sunday, followed by another service at the church. Call 867-1744.