"A death so foretold"
Posted March 29, 2021
“There had never been a death so foretold.”
- Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Dear parents and families,
Holy Week is similar to the anticipation of getting a shot: it makes people antsy and uncomfortable. We all know what is going to happen on Good Friday. Going back roughly 2000 years, Holy Week was hopeless for Jesus and the disciples. Jesus knew He was going to die. Most of Jesus’ friends abandoned Him when the chief priests and elders sought His life. One of Jesus’ own followers, Judas, was even the person who betrayed Him.
Sometimes, it is easy for all of us to betray Jesus. Excluding strangers, behaving out of spite, or acting as bystanders in situations of injustice make us no better than Judas. When we hurt others, we violate the Greatest Commandment. So how can we make this particular Holy Week meaningful? How do we move beyond the pain and suffering of our own lives and appreciate the sacrifice that Christ made for us?
Here are some age-appropriate resources and tips on nurturing your relationship with God:
- Preschool and elementary school children: follow along with our Holy Week for the Whole Family guide.
- Middle school youth and older may wish to participate in our Stations of the Cross walk on Germantown Avenue on Holy Wednesday (3/31 at 5 PM).
- High school students and young adults may be ready to hear deeper meditations on Good Friday. The Seven Last Words of Christ (4/2 at 7 PM) is an excellent service for that.
- Families and children of all ages: Cozy up to Compline in the evenings! Compline is a gentle, easy prayer service that anybody can lead. St. Martin’s has a live Compline service each Wednesday during Lent. You can watch or listen to the most recent video here.
Times have been tougher than usual lately. As we take this holy and life-giving journey together, do not hesitate to reach out if I can assist in growing your or your children’s relationship(s) with God.
Onwards into Holy Week we go,
Anne Alexis Harra
Children & Youth Minister
Anne Alexis Harra (she/her) was born and raised in Wilmington, DE, where she is currently a member at St. David’s Episcopal Church. Anne Alexis graduated from Washington College in May 2019 with a B.A. in English and a minor in Philosophy. She is currently working on her M.S. in Secondary Education from Saint Joseph's University.
Anne Alexis serves on the Diocesan Council in the Episcopal Church in Delaware, as well as the Racial Justice & Reconciliation Commission. She moved to West Philadelphia in January 2021 after spending time in the city with her partner (Cole Appelman [he/him]) and while working on her Masters in Secondary Education at Saint Joseph’s University. A big piece of her heart may be in DE, but she could not be more thrilled to be a part of the St. Martin’s community!
Beginning with the waters of baptism, Anne Alexis has devoted her life to serving God in the Episcopal Church. Raised on Godly Play in Sunday school and moving into a tight-knit youth group, she is aware of the positive impact that the Church’s presence can have in the life of a young person. She is passionate about encouraging children and youth to explore their faith on a personal level while also committing to a community-centered effort to enact change for the greater good.
Anne Alexis is passionate about racial justice and healing, as well as advocating for the rights of children in the context of the Christian faith. She hopes for a church where all of God's beloved are welcomed, heard, and included. She seeks and envisions a church where every member feels the true love of God in Christ. Anne Alexis is deeply aware of the profound impact of Jesus' unyielding love for all, including the most tender and vulnerable in our society: children. Hopeful for a day when all marginalized peoples are treated with equity, she continues "to seek and serve Christ in all persons." The Baptismal Covenant and Sacrament of Eucharist guide her ministry.
Anne Alexis’ father owns and is president of a local funeral home in Wilmington. Some of her earliest childhood memories include observing him engage with bereaved families in a way that can only be described as ministerial. Her mother is a hospice nurse who guides her patients and families through a dignified palliative care stage. Anne Alexis’ parents have left a huge impression on her heart. A ministerial goal she has at St. Martin’s is exploring the often taboo topics of dying and death in the hopeful context of the gospels.
In her free time, she enjoys weightlifting, reading, spending time with her family (notably her godson, Will), and watching new shows with her beloved cats by her side. She and Cole enjoy trying eclectic restaurants in their neighborhood -- observing COVID restrictions, of course!
5:00 p.m. - Stations of the Cross Walk on Germantown Avenue
This Stations of the Cross, new this year, will be a walk up Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill, recalling Christ's walk up Calvary. The traditional devotion of the Stations of the Cross invites us to not only remember the events of Jesus’ Passion, but also to place ourselves in them.
7:00 p.m. - The Seven Last Words of Christ, music and spoken reflections
The Fairmount String Quartet returns to play Franz Joseph Haydn's composition by the same name, between spoken reflections on each of the seven "words".