Heathsville will celebrate the ancient tradition of the Easter Vigil with a procession through the town. This centuries-old tradition begins with the “Service of Light” a kindling of fire and the lighting of a candle on the evening before Easter Sunday. The kindling of the fire will take place in front of Heathsville United Methodist Church at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 30. The Rev. Alan Hooker, rector of St. James’s Episcopal Church in Montross, will sing the song for this special occasion, which is called the Exultet. The light that shines in darkness is a celebration of the Resurrection after death, and a celebration of the light of Christ.
Participants will then process through the town along Northumberland Highway, stopping four times along the way for a scripture reading, a song, and a prayer at each location. Scripture passages include the creation, the exodus, the dry bones, and the gathering of God’s people. Songs include both Episcopal hymns and songs such as “Let My People Go” and “Dem bones, Dem bones.” The Episcopal Prayer Book provides a prayer for each scripture reading. Participants will process to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, which will be decorated with Easter lilies.
In the third part of the tradition the whole congregation reaffirms its faith and renews its baptismal vows. Participants hear the scripture of the Resurrection and celebrate Easter with the Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper.
The tradition of the Easter Vigil has been practiced for centuries by Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Eastern Orthodox, and is open to people from any background. For details or questions, call the Rev. Lucia Lloyd, the Rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, at 445-3888.