Holy Week Worship & Activities
Holy Week and Easter will be different this year. We all miss being together, lifting our voices in shared songs and prayers, and we will surely miss the beauty of Easter morning spent in worship: surrounded by smiles and warm hugs, seeing the lilies and other blooming flowers, and hearing the majestic hymns and songs of praise.

But... we can still find meaning as we discover new ways of worship and communion and celebration.

We have put together three online worship services for the week, and have listed several activities you can do at home (no matter your age) to find joy and meaning.

Read on for each days' worship and activity opportunities.

If you need help with any of the online technology needed for worship, please call or email Pastor Melody: 314-630-0768 or melody.webb@polkcityumc.org.

NOTES ABOUT FACEBOOK LIVE: if you have access to internet, you can view worship on Facebook Live, even if you do not have a Facebook account. Simply click the link provided at the time scheduled for worship, and you will see our public video. (Depending on bandwidth, it may take a minute or two to load; try refreshing your page a few times until you see the video)

NOTES ABOUT ZOOM: Zoom is an online platform for video-conferencing. If you are on a tablet or PC, the first time you click the link provided for Zoom, it will prompt you to download and install the program. Once you have downloaded the program, click "Join a Meeting" - then type in the Meeting ID and Password when prompted. It will give you a prompt to join with video and audio, and to test your microphone. Please keep your microphone muted when viewing worship. If there are times for sharing conversation, the meeting host will prompt you to "unmute". There is also an option to Dial-in to zoom, by dialing a number on your phone; this will allow you to hear worship, but you will not be able to see. Again, you will want to mute your microphone during worship.
WEDNESDAY: Youth Group Zoom
Wednesday, April 8 at 6:30 PM

We look forward to seeing your faces and hearing your voices. Please  forward this information to anyone in grades 6-12  who would benefit from some connection during this time of distancing!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 676 676 9851

Dial by your location
  +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
THURSDAY, April 9 at 7:00 PM

Join zoom online for worship: https://zoom.us/j/806976226

Dial in to zoom: 1-312-626-6799

Meeting ID: 806 976 226

Password (required): 464463
Today we give thanks to God for the servant ministry of Jesus Christ. As Jesus makes his way to the cross he continues to teach his disciples to carry on his mission of loving God and others.

Maundy Thursday is the first of the three days of solemn remembrance of the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. The English word "Maundy" comes from the Latin mandatum, which means "commandment." On his last night before his betrayal and arrest, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, and gave them a new commandment to love one another. He also instituted the practice of communion as he shared, “Do this in remembrance of me.”

Set upon a table a pitcher of water, a bowl and a towel. Set the table like you would for an important guest with the color purple if you have it to mark that someone royal is coming. Light a candle to welcome your guest Jesus Christ. Leave an empty seat at the table for Jesus. Gather some bread or crackers and some juice, water or wine and a cup or drinking glass for each person at your table.

I think that one of the most important things to consider during this time is that not all people have the privilege of being "bored" right now. A lot of people are struggling without work, food, and basic needs. Some, who are more vulnerable to infection, may be isolating and avoiding public places to shop for essential items. God calls us to look after one another. Here are some ideas for serving others today:

  • Take the time to search your home for any canned or boxed non-perishable food items, or unopened personal care items, and drop them off for the Comet Cupboard Tiny Free Pantry at church.

  • Make a donation to the Des Moines Area Religious Council Food Pantry Network. When you make a donation now through April 14, your donation will be matched as part of the Douglas Woods challenge (a retired police office who will match all contributions during this time up to $20,000). Right now, the need is great! DMARC has served around 1,200 new clients for the last two weeks of March, during this COVID-19 outbreak. The majority of them have been recently unemployed and are using the Mobile Pantries. You can donate through our church: https://polkcityumc.org/give, through the GivePlus mobile app, or by writing a check to our church with "DMARC/Woods challenge" in the memo line.

  • Check in on friends or neighbors who are vulnerable and offer to deliver their grocery or carry-out order.
FRIDAY, April 10 at 7:00 PM
Tenebrae Service of Shadows

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Today is the day we commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus and his death on Calvary. The source of our term for the Friday before Easter, "Good Friday," is not clear. It may be a corruption of the English phrase "God's Friday."

"Good Friday" is not a universal name for the day. The liturgical title for the day in the Western church was "Friday of Preparation," since the time Jews used the word paraskeue (getting ready) for Friday, meaning the "day of preparation." Popular names for the day are "Holy Friday" among the Latin nations, "Great Friday" among the Slavic peoples, "Friday of Mourning" in Germany, "Long Friday" in Norway, and "Holy Friday" (Viernes Santo) among Hispanic peoples.

The service of Tenebrae, meaning “darkness” or “shadows,” has been practiced by the church since medieval times. Readings trace the story of Christ’s passion and the power of silence and darkness suggests the drama of this momentous day. As lights are extinguished, we ponder the depth of Christ’s suffering and death.

Gather 7 different candles, flashlights, lamps or other lights and place them on a table or other worship space. You will "extinguish" these one by one throughout the service, along with the scripture reader on the screen.

As we commemorate Jesus' death on the cross, make some crafts or artwork that feature the cross:

  • Chalk the Walk with crosses - use sidewalk chalk to draw crosses of various colors and designs on your driveway or sidewalk

Holy Saturday is the name given to the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Some Christians recognize Holy Saturday, the seventh day of Holy Week, as the day on which Jesus “rested” from His work of providing salvation. As Jesus died, He called out, “It is finished!” There was no further price to pay; sin had been atoned for.

After His crucifixion, Jesus was laid in a nearby tomb, and His body remained there the entirety of Holy Saturday (Matthew 27:59-60; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53-54; John 19:39-42). Churches that celebrate Holy Saturday traditionally do so by observing a day of somber reflection as they contemplate the world of darkness that would exist without the hope of Christ’s resurrection.


In this new age of staying home because of a global pandemic, many of us are busy working from home, helping to school our children at home, all while trying to keep our pantries stocked with essential goods and keep ourselves and our families safe. Take some intentional time today to allow yourself (and your children) to rest - to be still. To be bored. Let your mind rest from screen time and constant stimulation. Daydream, lie in the grass and look at the clouds, or the stars.

As you consider a world that was without Jesus on the day after his death, be reminded and assured of Jesus' presence in our world today, and of the power of God to create and make things new, as you look forward to the celebration of Christ's victorious resurrection!
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SUNDAY, April 12 at 10:30 AM

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Today we celebrate that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and defeated death. We celebrate that evil does not have the last word and that through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are saved and have everlasting life! Today more than any other Easter before now, we joyfully celebrate that God continues to work and bring forth new life in seasons of grief and death. So today, let us celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ together!

Gather some flowers or other signs of spring and arrange them in your worship space, along with a candle or lamp to symbolize Christ's presence in worship.

Go to our Online Worship page to download a bulletin, sign the connect card, submit prayer requests, make your offering, and find links to children's Sunday School lessons and worship activity pages.

Here are some ways you can celebrate today:

  • Easter Basket Scavenger Hunt - check our Online Worship page on Saturday for instructions. Everyone who sends in a photo of the completed basket by 8:00 PM on Sunday will have a prize waiting on our first day back to church!

  • Chalk the Walk - use sidewalk chalk to draw flowers on the crosses you drew on Good Friday. Add phrases such as "He is Risen!" & "Hosanna in the Highest"

  • "Stained Glass" Windows - use painters tape to tape out a design on a window, then use washable paint to fill in the sections (we recommend Crayola Kids' Washable Paint, available from Michael's, Walmart & Amazon); see examples HERE

  • Hide some "Easter Eggs" in the windows for your neighbors to find - print or design your own paper eggs, then tape them to the inside of your windows. Put a sign outside with the total number of Eggs you've "hidden" and challenge neighbors to find them all. (Here's a printable template)
Miss a week of worship? Catch up below: