The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

Worshipers to observe Easter and Passover holidays with services, seders

SCOTT MULLIN PHOTO

Emma Pedraza, 2, and Jackie Civitella plan their strategy at the starting line at the Homestead Easter egg hunt in Katonah.

 
By JOHN ROCHE

As local Jews and Christians prepare for the holy days of Passover and Easter, area religious leaders reflected on the message and meaning of each holiday, which offer similar promises of hope for people of faith.

Passover, the eight-day observance commemorating the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and freedom from slavery, begins at sundown tonight, April 6.

Throughout Bedford and Pound Ridge, services for Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday drew Christians of various denominations this week. Today marks Good Friday, followed by Holy Saturday tomorrow and Easter on April 8.

Easter Sunday, the day in which Christians worldwide commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, marks the high point of the year for the Christian faith.

The Rev. Paul Alcorn, pastor of the Bedford Presbyterian Church in Bedford Village, said that hope is an integral element in the promise of Easter, which marks Christ’s resurrection after being tortured and crucified. But he stressed that the Easter message is not just the promise that tomorrow can be better, but it’s also about the courage for each person to do something to make that better tomorrow possible.

“The enduring promise of Easter is the conviction that despite all the headlines to the contrary, Life — with a capital L — has the final word,” Mr. Alcorn said. “For me, if I believe that to be true, it means that I am to do all I can with the resources available to me to create communities and a world where all are treated with respect and compassion, where children don’t go to bed hungry each night, and where families have a safe place to live.”

Rabbi Carla Freedman of Jewish Family Congregation said the general theme of Passover is freedom from slavery, and explained that while in today’s world there are still too many places where people are physically enslaved, there are many other forms of slavery, making the promise of Passover significant and relevant to everyone.

“That theme has resonated with many different populations and communities across the globe since the time of the exodus 3,300 years ago right up to our present day,” Rabbi Freedman said. “For many different cultures and countries, the idea of an oppressed people rising up, being liberated and having the opportunity to reform themselves, if you will, has struck a very positive note.”

Pointing to the uprisings this past year as part of the Arab Spring, the increased domestic and international attention on sex slaves, factory workers in China and elsewhere working under near slavelike conditions and other forms of oppression that exist today, Rabbi Freedman said slavery is by no means a thing of the past, “but neither is the very real promise of hope for freedom from it, which we can all reflect on and work toward this Passover and each day.”   

Both religious leaders said that the message of this week’s holy days should hold particular resonance in these trying times, as people of all faiths seem to be struggling with the impacts of a national recession, atrocities in this country and around the world, and other stressful challenges. The more difficult our lives become, Mr. Alcorn said, the stronger the call of faith and hope is.

Rabbi Freedman agreed. “Amid all that is going on around us in the world at this time in history, the message of Passover rings just as loudly as ever today,” she said.

Local residents of the Jewish faith will be marking Passover with the seder, a family gathering revolving around a meal of traditional foods, prayers, songs and customs, including the retelling of the Passover story through the reading of the Haggadah.

Although family seders will take place in many area homes, communal seders will also be offered.

Chabad of Bedford, for instance, will host its annual family seder at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday, April 6. The seder will include discussion and activities aimed at bringing the message of the holiday alive. Handmade matzoh from Israel, kosher wines and a gourmet kosher Passover dinner will be offered at the seder at the Chabad Jewish Center on Railroad Avenue in Bedford Hills.

Bedford’s Temple Shaaray Tefila will host a Second Night Passover Seder on Saturday, April 7, at 7 p.m. Earlier that day, there will be a Passover Service at 9 a.m. in the temple’s sanctuary, located at 89 Baldwin Road in Bedford Corners.

Jewish Family Congregation, located in South Salem and serving members from Bedford, Pound Ridge and other area towns, will hold a Second Night Seder tomorrow, April 7, at 6:30 p.m. On Thursday, April 12, a “third Seder” will be held for adults only, featuring at potluck supper at 6:30 p.m.

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Bedford will hold a Good Friday service today at noon, and a Holy Saturday family service, followed by an Easter egg hunt, on Saturday, April 7, starting at 10 a.m. at the church, located at 382 Cantitoe St. On Easter Day, St. Matthew’s will offer a Holy Eucharist sunrise service at 7:30 a.m., as well as Festival Holy Eucharist services at 9:15 and 11:15 a.m.

The First Presbyterian Church of Katonah will hold services of Resurrection on Easter Sunday at 9:30 and 11 a.m. There will be a special church school activity during both services, and coffee hour in the Fellowship Hall between services, as well as Easter egg hunts for children.

Antioch Baptist Church in Bedford Hills will hold a Good Friday service tonight at 8 p.m. led by Pastor Paul Briggs, who will deliver a message titled “I Am Convinced.” On Easter Sunday, the church, located at the corner of Church and Main streets, will hold its annual Easter church school program at 9 a.m. followed by an Easter family worship service at 10:45 a.m., with Pastor Briggs’s message focusing on the theme of “Your Next Life, Now.” 

The Katonah United Methodist Church will hold its annual Easter Sunrise Service on Sunday, April 8, at 6 a.m. at the south end of the Cross River Dam. At 10 a.m. an Easter service in the church sanctuary will feature special musicians who will join music director Keith Burton and the church’s choir in a stirring celebration of Easter. A special fellowship hour will follow.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Katonah will celebrate Easter with Holy Eucharist services Sunday at 8 and 10 a.m. at the church, located at 68 Bedford Road.

The Pound Ridge Community Church tonight will offer a Good Friday cantata by Pete Malinverni, music director at PRCC, at 7:30 p.m. The church will also once again lead a sunrise worship service at the Town Park at 7 a.m. on Sunday, as well as Easter service at the church at 10 a.m. All residents are invited and welcome to the Pound Ridge Community Church services, regardless of where they may be in their spiritual journey, church leaders said.

At St. Patrick’s Church in Bedford Village, a liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and Death will be offered at 3 p.m. today, and Stations and Veneration of the Cross will take place at 7:30 p.m., and services on Easter Sunday at 9:15 and 11 a.m.

On Holy Saturday, a Solemn Vigil of the Lord’s Resurrection will begin at 7:30 p.m. at St. Patrick’s. On Easter Sunday, masses will be celebrated there at 7:30, 9, and 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m.

Masses at St. Mary of the Assumption in Katonah will take place Sunday at 7:30, 8:45, 10 and 11:30 a.m.

An Easter Sunday Mass will be celebrated at St. Matthias Church in Bedford Hills at 10:30 a.m.

Bedford Community Church will hold a Good Friday service tonight at 8 p.m., and Easter services will be held at 8, 9:15 and 11 a.m.

On Good Friday, the sanctuary at Bedford Presbyterian Church will be open for private reflection and prayer from noon through 3 p.m. Easter Sunday services at Bedford Presbyterian Church will be held at 9 and 11 a.m.



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APRIL 6, 2012