Essex, Jericho & Underhill Ecumenical Holy Week Journey – 2021

For several decades, the churches of eastern Chittenden County have gathered during Holy Week for morning devotions and a Good Friday pilgrimage walk, stopping at churches and along the roadside to recall Jesus’s last moments. The pandemic has changed the way we gather, but the journey is no less important. 

In 2020, clergy led virtual morning devotions that were published daily during Holy Week. In 2021, those devotions will again be released each morning, and an accompanying outdoor “journey” will also be available. Beginning Palm Sunday (March 28) through Holy Saturday (April 3), the churches mentioned below will have outdoor stations available for self-guided prayer and reflection, and each morning a pre-recorded devotion will appear on the Ecumenical Ministries YouTube Channel. This guide provides scriptures, prayers, and actions to accompany your journey, whether you visit the stations, watch the devotions from home, or both. This year’s journey focuses on the account of Holy Week found in the Gospel of Mark.

Download a PDF of the Holy Week Journey.

You may visit any outdoor station on any day and in any order. Please wear a face covering and leave space between yourself and other households, should someone else be at the station at the same time you are. Questions? Contact Rev. Jen Mihok, United Church of Underhill:

YouTube Channel: 
(Or search for EJU Ecumenical Ministries on YouTube)

Participating Churches:

1. Jericho Congregational Church
3 Jericho Center Circle
Jericho Center, VT 05465

2. Calvary Episcopal Church
370 Vt. Rt. 15
Jericho, VT 05465

3. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
273 Vt. Rt. 15
Jericho, VT 05465

4. Essex Center United Methodist Church
119 Center Road
Essex Junction, VT 05452

5. Richmond Congregational UCC
(Station on church front porch)
20 Church Street
Richmond, VT 05477

6. United Church of Underhill
7 Park Street
Underhill, VT 04589

7. Covenant Community Church
1 Whitcomb Meadows Lane
Essex Junction, VT 05452

1) Triumphal Entry – Jericho Congregational Church
Scripture: Mark 11:1-11
Prayer: God of triumph, we offer you shouts of praise and thanksgiving. You have taught us that the humble will be exalted, the first made last. May we likewise seek out and exalt the lowly, mindful of your presence among the least, the last, and the lost. Amen.
Action: Sing a song of praise or shout “Hosanna” as loud as you can.

2) Anointing at Bethany – Calvary Episcopal Church
Scripture: Mark 14:1-9
Prayer: Dearest God, forgive us when we have failed to recognize how precious you are. Like the woman who anointed Jesus at Bethany, may we not be afraid to lay before you all that we value and hold dear. Amen.
Action: Devote something you hold dear (time, money, a possession) to the glory of God today.

3) Betrayal at the table – Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Scripture: Mark 14:10-25
Prayer: God of faithfulness, forgive us for the times we have betrayed you, knowingly or unknowingly. When the ways of the world are more appealing than walking in your way, guide our feet back to your table of grace and forgiveness. Amen.
Action: When giving thanks at your next meal, remember a time when God has been faithful to you, perhaps through the faithfulness of others.

4) Peter denies Jesus – Essex Center United Methodist Church
Scripture: Mark 14:27-31, 66-72
Prayer: God of solidarity, you stand by us in our greatest hours of need, yet we are quick to neglect your calling when it is inconvenient or risky. Renew in us a steadfastness to serve and speak out in your name. Amen.
Action: Find one way to make public your commitment to Christ today. 

5) Praying in the garden – Richmond Congregational Church UCC 
Scripture: Mark 14:32-42 (Station on church front porch)
Prayer: God of sorrow, forgive us when we fail to hear your cries of grief. Hasten us to the sides of those who mourn or suffer. Keep us alert in prayer and presence to the needs of your children. Amen.
Action: Read the news with an ear and heart toward the places God is grieving. Join God there in prayer.

Between the passages at stations 5 and 6 occur the critical moments of Jesus’s arrest, appearance before the high priest, and trial before Pilate. We encourage you to read Mark 14:43-15:15.

6) Jesus is crucified – United Church of Underhill
Scripture: Mark 15:16-32
Prayer: God of endurance, when Jesus faced his greatest hours of suffering, he received only insults and mockery. Forgive us when we pour salt into the wounds of our neighbors, instead of helping them shoulder the burdens. Amen.
Action: Find a cross—fashioned of palms, drawn on a paper, an object or piece of jewelry—to carry with you, perhaps in wallet, purse, or keychain. When you face suffering and hardship, gaze at the cross and remember that Jesus suffers with you.

7) Jesus dies and is buried – Covenant Community Church
Scripture: Mark 15: 33-47
Prayer: God of everlasting life, may we never forget that you knew the chill and the darkness of the closed tomb. As Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of Joseph, cared for your precious body, so may we be present with those who mourn. Amen.
Action: Send a note of support to someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one.