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Easter Vigil
8th April 2023

Paschal Candle in the Darkened church

Here you can find resources for our liturgy to pray at home or wherever you are. 

The readings for today and some of the prayers of our liturgy are on the downloadable pew sheet.

Thank you for joining us for the Easter Vigil
as we continue our journey through the Easter Triduum

The Easter Fire and Blessing of the Paschal Candle

We hear the story of salvation as we journey from darkness to light

The renewal of Baptismal Vows and the first Eucharist of Easter

Downloads (PDF)

Video and Audio Files (2021)

If you choose to listen to Matthew’s Gospel (see below), stop the recording at 54:09 and resume it at 55:51 for The Renewal of Baptismal Vows

The Liturgy of the Light

The Easter fire
The Blessing of the Fire and Preparation of the Candle

At church, we gather outside (weather permitting). All stand and face the Easter fire.

Dear friends in Christ, let us begin our solemn Vigil. On this most holy night when our Saviour Jesus Christ passed from death to life, we gather, with all the Church throughout the world, to watch and pray. This is the Passover of Jesus Christ. Through light and word, through water, bread and wine, let us celebrate the new life that Christ shares with us.

The presiding celebrant blesses the fire:

Almighty God, who gloriously raised your only-begotten Son from the dead: sanctify this fire, that it may be a sign of life and hope; may we, who celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, be set aflame with love, and renewed in faith, so that we may shine as a light in the world, and glorify you in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The presiding celebrant traces a cross in the Paschal candle, Alpha and Omega, and the numerals of the current year, saying,

Christ yesterday and today,
the beginning and the end,
Alpha and Omega,
all time belongs to him,
and all ages;
to him be glory and power,
through every age and for ever.


Gathered around the Easter fire at the start of the Easter Vigil liturgy

Incense studs are inserted into the Paschal Candle as these words are said:

By his holy and glorious wounds may Christ our Lord guard and keep us. Amen.

The Paschal Candle is lit from the Easter fire. The presiding celebrant says:

May the light of Christ, rising in glory,
dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

The Procession

Carried aloft by the deacon, the Paschal Candle leads the congregation into the church.

Deacon: The light of Christ.
All: Thanks be to God.

The clergy and servers light their candles from the Paschal Candle.

The Paschal Candle leads the congregation to the centre of the Nave.

Deacon: The light of Christ.
All: Thanks be to God.

The candles of the congregation are lit from the Paschal Candle. The Paschal Candle leads the congregation to where its stand has been prepared:

Deacon: The light of Christ.
All: Thanks be to God.

The Paschal Candle is placed on its stand.


The Exultet is sung (see pew sheet for the text)

The Liturgy of the Word

Page from Gospel Book

As we await the risen Christ,
let us hear the record of God’s saving deeds in history,
recalling how he saved his people in ages past
and in the fullness of time sent his Son to be our Redeemer;
and let us pray that through this Easter celebration
God may bring to perfection in each of us the saving work he has begun.

See the pew sheet for the six Old Testament readings with their psalms, canticle and prayers

Gloria reflection

In church, the candles of the altar are lit, and Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) is sung by all, during which bells are rung

Friedrick Wilhelm Zachow: Allein Gott in der Höh’ sei Ehr’

O God,
who made this most holy night to shine
with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection:
stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption given to us in baptism;
that, being renewed both in body and mind,
we may worship you in sincerity and truth;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle: Romans 6.3-11

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Gospel: Matthew 28.1-10

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’

The Easter Sermon of St John Chrysostom

See the text of the Easter Sermon here

The Renewal of Baptismal Vows

In church, we sing the hymn Blest be the everlasting God (after 1 Peter 1.3-5) as the clergy and servers lead the procession to the font, where we all assemble

HT brass water jug

The presiding celebrant says:

Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whose great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope:
Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

The Baptismal Prayer

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Praise and thanksgiving be to you, Author of all being; for on this night your only-begotten Son passed through the waters of death, and rose to new life, the firstborn of your new creation. He that died upon the cross, was buried, and descended to the dead; he broke the chains of death, and opened for us the gates of salvation. As you delivered Noah from the waters of the flood, and led the children of Israel through the Red Sea, so you deliver your people from the waters of chaos. As your Son, when he hung upon the cross, gave forth water from his side along with blood, so you grant us a well-spring of life. Look therefore with love upon the face of your Church, and unseal for us, and all the world, the fountain of new birth.

The base of the Paschal candle is lowered into the water.

Send down upon the waters of this font and upon your people your holy and life-giving Spirit. Lead those who are baptised with Christ through the waters of death, to be one with him in his resurrection; and sustain your people by your Spirit to bring hope and strength to the world.

The Paschal candle is removed from the water.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all ages, world without end. Amen.

HT Font & Aspergillium

After the Baptismal Prayer over the waters of the font, all stand holding lighted candles in their hands, and renew the promise of baptismal faith. The presiding president addresses the congregation:

The Christian life means turning from evil and turning to Christ.

Do you renounce evil?
I renounce evil.

Do you repent of sin?
I repent of sin.

Do you turn to Christ?
I turn to Christ.

Will you follow Christ?
I will follow Christ.

Do you believe in God the Father, who made the world?
I believe.

Do you believe in God the Son, who redeemed humankind?
I believe.

Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to God’s people?
I believe.

This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith. We believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

As disciples of Christ, will you continue in the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers?
With the help of God, I will.

Will you proclaim the good news by word and deed, serving Christ in all people?
With the help of God, I will.

Will you work for justice and peace, honouring God in all Creation?
With the help of God, I will.

This is the task of the Church.
This is our task: to live and work for the kingdom of God

The presiding president sprinkles holy water over all as a symbol of our renewed baptismal vows.

May Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and has bestowed on us forgiveness of all our sins, guard us by his grace, and grant us, when our earthly course is ended, resurrection to eternal life, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Peace

The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then were they glad when they saw the Lord. Alleluia.
We meet in Christ’s name. Let us share his peace.

The Liturgy of the Sacrament

HT chalice and host at Elevation
Offertory Prayer

As the grain once scattered in the fields, and the grapes once dispersed on the hillside are now reunited on this table in bread and wine, so, Lord, may your whole Church soon be gathered together from the corners of the earth into your kingdom. Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer
The Breaking of the Bread
The Lord’s Prayer

Please join in the prayer Jesus himself taught us:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Do not bring us to the time of trial
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever.

Thanksgiving and Sending Out

Post-Communion Prayer

Father of all, we give you thanks and praise that when we were still far off you met us in your Son and brought us home. Dying and living, he declared your love, gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory. May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life; we who drink his cup bring life to others; we whom the Spirit lights, give light to the world. Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us, so we and all your children shall be free, and the whole earth live to praise your name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, alleluia, alleluia.
In the name of Christ, alleluia, alleluia.

Organ Postlude
Johann Gottfried Walther: Erstanden ist der heilig Christ
Paschal Candle in the Darkened church


This week

Sunday 9th April
Easter Day

  • 8.30 am Holy Communion
  • 10.30 am Sung Eucharist
    online resources will be available on this website

Thursday 13th April

  • 11 am Service of the Word
Next week

Sunday 16th April               
EASTER 2                          

  • 8.30 am Holy Communion
  • 10.30 am Sung Eucharist
    Readings: Acts 214a,22-32; 1 Peter 1.3-9; John 20.19-31

Confirmation Service (21st May)

Bishop Ian will be with us at HT on Sunday, 21st May, for a service of Confirmation. Should you have not been confirmed yet and wish to be included, please speak to the Rector or a member of the ministry team.

Helping Ukraine

You might be interested in how best to help people in crisis in Ukraine.
The College of Bishops have highlighted these two organisations:

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal: 
Among the DEC partners are Christian Aid, the British Red Cross, and Tearfund. The UK Government has pledged to match donations from the public to the DEC fund, pound-for-pound, up to £20 million.

The UK for UNHCR:

More resources for this week

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