Palm Sunday

Service Summary

5:30 Sunday service for Palm Sunday.


Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week and is perhaps the easiest service for the Liturgy Committee. Only a little preparation must be made for this service, which is held during the normal 5:30 evening Eucharist at Bruton.

The main difference for which the Liturgy Committee must plan is the reading of the Passion. The reading of the Passion is much like reciting a play. This may be done in many ways, from a very simple, minimal style of as few as three readers – Narrator, Jesus, everyone else – to multiple readers per part. Bruton has traditionally leaned a bit towards the latter. I find it easiest to avoid doubling parts whenever possible, whereas Bruton will typically have several people on many of the general parts – soldiers, for example. The college students do not rehearse the way Bruton requires for their morning services, so coordinating several people on one part, even if they are sitting next to each other, is difficult.

The Liturgy Committee will receive a copy of the Passion by email, which changes each year – there is a different Passion for years A, B, and C. This copy is different from other versions, and it has already been broken down into parts. This makes it easy to know how many people are needed. A priest will be the narrator; other parts should be assigned to available students. Particular attention is paid to assigning the part of Jesus. Make sure to give people plenty of notice of their assignments, and email a copy of the Passion to them and ask them to print out and highlight their parts. Bring a few copies of the Passion to the service for those who have forgotten.

The service itself begins outdoors. Unless the bishop is present, only a single procession is needed. The best place to begin the service is by the semicircle in the north end of the churchyard. Have ushers hand out palm leaves and bulletins to all congregants. Generally, people should not be allowed into the church before the service. Exceptions may be made for anyone who cannot stand for the beginning portion of the service, which typically lasts only 15 or 20 minutes. If it is cold or the weather is otherwise an issue, people may wait inside, and an usher should make an announcement a few minutes before the service begins.

The two torches and crucifer should line up at the semicircle as early as possible to draw attention to that location. Make sure the Gospel Book holder has the Gospel Book ready and marked at the proper reading. The choir should be nearby, as they typically chant a psalm at the beginning of the service. Instruct the ushers to hold everyone out of the church until the procession – torches and crucifer – have reached the bell tower so that they may lead the congregation into the church. The Gospel Book holder should process in with the Gospel Book but be ready to hand the Gospel Book to the priest. There is no Gospel reading other than the Passion, and a priest will need the Gospel Book to read the role of the narrator.

Date or Feast Day

Palm Sunday

Who is needed

Normal set of acolytes, readers, and ushers; enough additional readers to cover the parts for the Passion.

What is needed

  • Palm Crosses
  • Copies of readings specific for the parts of each reader

What worked

What did not work

Things to change


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