Palm Sunday, April 2

Sunday, APRIL 2: Palm Sunday – Holy Communion
10 a.m. In-Person and Online Worship
The day we celebrate Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, with the waving of palms and loud Hosannas!

Sunday, APRIL 2: Easter Hop-By
10:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. in the Courtyard

Following Palm Sunday worship, come by the Courtyard for the Easter Hop-By, hosted by Children and Family Ministries. Featuring an Easter Egg scavenger hunt, games and crafts, a family photo opp, delicious treats and a visit from the Easter Bunny! Fun for all ages!

Maundy Thursday, April 6

Community Maundy Thursday Service
7 p.m. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
St. Paul’s Lutheran is holding an in-person Maundy
Thursday Service.
958 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Good Friday, April 7

Walk the First UMC Labyrinth
First UMC is pleased to announce the Labyrinth will be open for walking for the first time since 2019, as a complement to your Lenten practice. The Labyrinth laid in the Simkins Hall floor of First UMC is a replica of the Chartres Labyrinth laid in the cathedral around 1220 CE. Walking the Labyrinth is an ancient spiritual practice, a way to quiet our minds and open our spirits to the presence of the Holy. Every step a prayer.
April 7: Good Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. in Simkins Hall

Prayer Vigil
The First UMC Chapel will be open all day to pray and “watch with Jesus.”

April 7: Good Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Chapel

Community Good Friday Service
7 p.m. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
St. Paul’s Lutheran together with First Presbyterian Church
present a Good Friday Service.
958 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Easter Worship Services:

April 9: Easter Sunrise Service
6:30 a.m. Palisades Park

Palisades Park (*Washington Ave. & Ocean Ave.) *note new location – no longer at Santa Monica Blvd.
Informal outdoor service at the park, with Holy Communion. Bring fresh flowers for the cross, and a lawn chair or blankets. Hot coffee served.

April 9: Easter Celebration Worship
10 a.m. In-Person and Online Worship in the First UMC Sanctuary
Family Service, Choir, Organ, Easter Flowers, and Alleluias!

Lent 2023

Lenten Devotional with Audio Files

Audio Devotions will be offered for Holy Week (April 2 – 9). This year the devotions are read by their authors, and guest readers. They will be included in devotion emails sent out during Holy Week and can also be found below. Sign up online to receive the daily devotional by email (the email version includes the scripture for the day) http://eepurl.com/brFsJL  You may also read the Devotional booklet here: download the pdf here

Audio files:

First UMC 2023 Lenten Devotion – Palm Sunday, April 2, 2023. Written by Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity, read by guest reader Carlee Forbes, with David Penson reading the scripture.
First UMC 2023 Lenten Devotion – Monday, April 3, 2023. Written by Sam Johnson, read by guest reader David Penson, who is also reading the scripture.
First UMC 2023 Lenten Devotion – Tuesday, April 4, 2023. Written and read by Janet Searfoss, with David Penson reading the scripture.
First UMC 2023 Lenten Devotion – Wednesday, April 5, 2023. Written by Ann and David Wilson, and read by David Wilson, with David Penson reading the scripture.
First UMC 2023 Lenten Devotion – Maundy Thursday, April 6, 2023. Written and read by Luann Hull, with David Penson reading the scripture.
First UMC 2023 Lenten Devotion – Good Friday, April 7, 2023. Written and read by Bee Campbell, with David Penson reading the scripture.
First UMC 2023 Lenten Devotion – Holy Saturday, April 8, 2023. Written and read by Howard N. Wollitz, with David Penson reading the scripture.
First UMC 2023 Lenten Devotion – Easter Sunday, April 9, 2023. Written by Rev. Denise Anderson, read by guest reader Ann Wilson, with David Penson reading the scripture.

The season of Lent began on Ash Wednesday, February 22. Lent is a 40-day season given to us as a time of spiritual preparation for the astonishing story of Easter. Traditionally, Lent is a time to fast—to refrain from excess and experience our hunger for God; a time to pray and study the Word of God—to quiet our thoughts and open our hearts to God’s call on our lives; and a time to repent—to turn away from words, thoughts, behaviors that close us off to the fullness of God’s kingdom and the fullness of all that our lives might become.

Our theme for Lent this year is “Seeking.” As we hear again the Biblical stories of the Temptation of Jesus,
Nicodemus, the woman at the well, and others, we will hear our ancestors, and even our Savior himself, wrestling with questions of identity, purpose, direction, and vocation. We will hear our own questions and longings echoed in theirs: who am I in my heart of hearts? Who is God calling me to be? What is the new life offered me in Christ? What is the song of my soul? May Lent be for us each and all a holy season of seeking
new depth and growth, seeking healing, vision, and deeper faithfulness. For our God has promised: “When you seek me, you will find me, if you seek me with all your heart.”

As we enter the season of Lent, we begin our seeking journey by listening to our theme song by Spencer LaJoye titled, “The Land of the Seeking.” The song invites you into an imagined land where you can bring all of yourself—all your questions, fears, and uncertainties. It’s a place where your “worry and wonder can dwell,” as Spencer puts it.

Lenten Bible Study

Gospel of Matthew, Lenten Zoom Bible Study with Rev. Larry Young
Rev. Larry Young is leading a 6-week study of the Gospel of Matthew, that began Wednesday, March 1. Duplicate sessions are offered Wednesdays at 2 and 7 p.m. The study was created for local church use by the Center for Continuing Education at Yale Divinity School, Rev. Young’s alma mater. Each session will deal with some aspect of Jesus’ ministry (Sermon on the Mount, miracles, events leading to the cross, etc.) For each, a study guide and discussion questions will be emailed ahead to class members, and each session will include a video created by Yale personnel. There is no cost for the class.
Class runs for 6 weeks from March 1 – April 5, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., via Zoom

To sign up, email Rev. Young at lyoung@ljyoung.net
Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/99130945843?pwd=eFliTHFUZ3JuVG1sUm5VdkxJZGRJQT09
Meeting ID: 991 3094 5843
Passcode: 976304

Stop by the Fireside Room after worship to view artwork and read statements from artists that are part of a collective called “A Sanctified Art.” 

Each picture is connected to a Sunday in Lent and the Scripture we will hear in worship. You can also find the images in our Lenten Devotionals for Sundays, reflecting our Seeking theme for Lent.
Exhibit runs thru Sunday April 2.

From the UMC: What is Lent and why does it last forty days?

Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, meaning “lengthen” and refers to the lengthening days of spring. The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.

Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by new converts and then became a time of penance by all Christians. Today, Christians focus on relationship with God, growing as disciples and extending ourselves, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of ourselves for others.

Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a “mini-Easter.” This is why you will see the designation “Sunday in Lent” rather than “Sunday of Lent” in the naming of these Sundays. On each Lord’s Day in Lent, while Lenten fasts continue, the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.

Chuck Knows Church explains Lent!

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