Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Easter traditions renewed and reborn

To many, Easter Sunday means pastel-colored button-up shirts and frilly dresses, decorated hard-boiled eggs, candy baskets full of sugar-coated marshmallows and traditional church hymns sung in chorus from the hymnal.

2418664+032716.n.GFH_.eastertraditions 001.JPG
Brian Harris uses a scissor lift to install thirty foot black tapestries to cover windows to keep the light out of the sanctuary for the Friday service at Calvary Lutheran Church in Grand Forks . Harris has helped install the window coverings at Calvary Lutheran Church for more than 20 years. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald

To many, Easter Sunday means pastel-colored button-up shirts and frilly dresses, decorated hard-boiled eggs, candy baskets full of sugar-coated marshmallows and traditional church hymns sung in chorus from the hymnal. It means tradition-passed down from one generation to the next. The end of Holy Week is one of the biggest weekends for churches, rivaled only by Christmas, as casual worshippers, or those looking for a church home, check out their options and join in the festivities. As the Lenten season comes to a close, many Grand Forks residents will be celebrating Easter just as they've done for generations. But options are growing for those looking for a more relaxed, family-friendly service, and perhaps a box of doughnuts at the door. In a region largely dominated by Catholic and Lutheran traditions, church-goers of all kinds are being offered new ways to worship, even in between downtown bars and at the shopping mall. Blending traditions The deep bass from Sara Bloom's organ could be heard all throughout Calvary Lutheran Church in Grand Forks, even though it was only Tuesday afternoon, not even halfway through Holy Week. Purple banners hung from the pillars at the front of the sanctuary, affixed to the brick with a nail and a crown of thorns. The color of royalty, combined with the crown given to Jesus by the Romans during his crucifixion, could be seen all over the sanctuary and throughout the church during Lent. Even Pastor Kristen Larsen-Schmidt, unaware that she'd even done it, arrived to the church in a long-sleeve purple shirt and matching scarf. "We take (the color) purple very seriously," Larsen-Schmidt said, only half-joking. Calvary Lutheran Church, a member of the ELCA, certainly takes its imagery and traditions very seriously, and for good reason. With a deep Norwegian heritage, rivaled by an equally impressive German ancestry, traditional sects of Christianity such as Catholicism and Lutheranism have reigned in the Grand Forks area. Of the nearly 50,000 people in Grand Forks and Polk counties who identified with a religion in the 2010 census, more than 24,000 identified as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America while a little more than 18,000 checked the box on the Catholic Church, according to U.S. Census data collected on city-data.com. By and large, this is a region steeped in religious tradition.
There are seven candles on either side of Calvary's sanctuary, to accompany the seven candles up front, adorned with purple backstops, intended to signify the last words of Jesus on the cross. The Christ Candle stands front and center, ready for its moment to shine. Later Tuesday evening electrician Brian Harris, also a member of the congregation, would arrive to hang large black drapes over the sanctuary's massive windows in preparation for Friday's Tenebrae service. Tenebrae is ripe with tradition, Larsen-Schmidt said. "As the service carries on, the candles will be put out one by one, so it will get gradually darker and darker in here until it is eventually pitch black," she said. Throughout the service, all of the purple materials will be removed from the sanctuary until all is bare. When the congregation returns Easter morning, the sanctuary will have been transformed by flowing white banners and paraments on the altar, etched with golden thread, and dozens of Easter lilies. "It's sort of like the flower, in the shape of a trumpet, is actually recounting the Lord's promise," Larsen-Schmidt said of the traditional flowers. The service will be traditional in every sense, with proclamations (Alleluia! Christ is risen!) and hymns ("Jesus Christ is Risen Today") and scripture readings (I Corinthians 15 recounting the resurrection of Christ). Despite the Lutheran church's tradition of, well, being traditional, Larsen-Schmidt said it became apparent the congregation was looking for more options. About a year ago the Fellowship Hall was opened. In it, contemporary services, complete with a full band on guitars and a drum kit, are delivered. "(The contemporary service) is intended to be more family-friendly," Larsen-Schmidt said. "Not quite as serious and dark (as the traditional service)." The contemporary service is full every Sunday, Larsen-Schmidt said, and has been a great tool to bridge the gap between tradition and the younger generation. Calvary Lutheran will hold five services, including two traditional, two contemporary and one blended service. Starting new traditions "This is the biggest Sunday of the year," said Paul Knight, pastor of Hope Evangelical Covenant Church. Hands down. Even more than Christmas, although it's a close second, Knight said. So for the second year in a row, they'll leave their location at the Grand Cities Mall and head to the Chester Fritz Auditorium on the UND campus for two services. "Last year we had about 2,100 people at our Easter service," Knight said. "There's a group of people that for whatever reason go to church on Christmas and on Easter Sunday, and I love that. I love that they would spend that time with us." So Hope uses that time to send a message, to deliver a different kind of service for those in search of a home church, Knight said. "We'll have a combination of that great, traditional music and a contemporary band," Knight said, a shift from tradition they made nearly 25 years ago when Knight first started at Hope. "It'll be great music. We have an incredible band." It's a change from singing straight out of the hymnal intended to bring in those who might not otherwise attend church. Knight said their whole goal, especially this Easter weekend, is to deliver a service that "speaks to people," even if that bucks against tradition. That's the message Nathan Johnson, pastor at Freedom Church in downtown Grand Forks, wants to convey, as well. "For us, it's just about 'what are the basics?' We're passionate about our love for Jesus and being there for each other," Johnson said earlier this week. Everything else is superfluous. Freedom Church, located at the corner of Third Street and DeMers Avenue, bucks tradition with its very location. On the first floor is the sanctuary and a newly renovated entryway lounge, complete with coffee machines and sofas. The third floor is home to the church's children's ministries. The second floor of the building, however, is The Loft Bar and Grill, an establishment not typically connected to a church. "We don't use this space Saturday nights and they don't use it Sunday mornings," Johnson said with a smile. "It seems to work for everyone." It's that openness that brought in Nate Espinoza, then hungover and looking for answers as he struggled with addiction, now sober and a compassion coordinator for the church. "The casual atmosphere let me know-I belong here," Espinoza said, and they plan to have that same casual attitude on Easter morning. "Being a Christian doesn't have to be boring." Johnson said while there won't be vast amounts of decorations around the sanctuary, there will be doughnuts. "We're here to provide hope and encouragement," Johnson said. "When people come to church, they don't need to be beat up."To many, Easter Sunday means pastel-colored button-up shirts and frilly dresses, decorated hard-boiled eggs, candy baskets full of sugar-coated marshmallows and traditional church hymns sung in chorus from the hymnal.It means tradition-passed down from one generation to the next.The end of Holy Week is one of the biggest weekends for churches, rivaled only by Christmas, as casual worshippers, or those looking for a church home, check out their options and join in the festivities.As the Lenten season comes to a close, many Grand Forks residents will be celebrating Easter just as they've done for generations. But options are growing for those looking for a more relaxed, family-friendly service, and perhaps a box of doughnuts at the door.In a region largely dominated by Catholic and Lutheran traditions, church-goers of all kinds are being offered new ways to worship, even in between downtown bars and at the shopping mall.Blending traditionsThe deep bass from Sara Bloom's organ could be heard all throughout Calvary Lutheran Church in Grand Forks, even though it was only Tuesday afternoon, not even halfway through Holy Week.Purple banners hung from the pillars at the front of the sanctuary, affixed to the brick with a nail and a crown of thorns. The color of royalty, combined with the crown given to Jesus by the Romans during his crucifixion, could be seen all over the sanctuary and throughout the church during Lent.Even Pastor Kristen Larsen-Schmidt, unaware that she'd even done it, arrived to the church in a long-sleeve purple shirt and matching scarf."We take (the color) purple very seriously," Larsen-Schmidt said, only half-joking.Calvary Lutheran Church, a member of the ELCA, certainly takes its imagery and traditions very seriously, and for good reason.With a deep Norwegian heritage, rivaled by an equally impressive German ancestry, traditional sects of Christianity such as Catholicism and Lutheranism have reigned in the Grand Forks area. Of the nearly 50,000 people in Grand Forks and Polk counties who identified with a religion in the 2010 census, more than 24,000 identified as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America while a little more than 18,000 checked the box on the Catholic Church, according to U.S. Census data collected on city-data.com.By and large, this is a region steeped in religious tradition.
There are seven candles on either side of Calvary's sanctuary, to accompany the seven candles up front, adorned with purple backstops, intended to signify the last words of Jesus on the cross. The Christ Candle stands front and center, ready for its moment to shine.Later Tuesday evening electrician Brian Harris, also a member of the congregation, would arrive to hang large black drapes over the sanctuary's massive windows in preparation for Friday's Tenebrae service.Tenebrae is ripe with tradition, Larsen-Schmidt said."As the service carries on, the candles will be put out one by one, so it will get gradually darker and darker in here until it is eventually pitch black," she said. Throughout the service, all of the purple materials will be removed from the sanctuary until all is bare.When the congregation returns Easter morning, the sanctuary will have been transformed by flowing white banners and paraments on the altar, etched with golden thread, and dozens of Easter lilies."It's sort of like the flower, in the shape of a trumpet, is actually recounting the Lord's promise," Larsen-Schmidt said of the traditional flowers.The service will be traditional in every sense, with proclamations (Alleluia! Christ is risen!) and hymns ("Jesus Christ is Risen Today") and scripture readings (I Corinthians 15 recounting the resurrection of Christ).Despite the Lutheran church's tradition of, well, being traditional, Larsen-Schmidt said it became apparent the congregation was looking for more options. About a year ago the Fellowship Hall was opened. In it, contemporary services, complete with a full band on guitars and a drum kit, are delivered."(The contemporary service) is intended to be more family-friendly," Larsen-Schmidt said. "Not quite as serious and dark (as the traditional service)."The contemporary service is full every Sunday, Larsen-Schmidt said, and has been a great tool to bridge the gap between tradition and the younger generation.Calvary Lutheran will hold five services, including two traditional, two contemporary and one blended service.Starting new traditions"This is the biggest Sunday of the year," said Paul Knight, pastor of Hope Evangelical Covenant Church.Hands down. Even more than Christmas, although it's a close second, Knight said. So for the second year in a row, they'll leave their location at the Grand Cities Mall and head to the Chester Fritz Auditorium on the UND campus for two services."Last year we had about 2,100 people at our Easter service," Knight said. "There's a group of people that for whatever reason go to church on Christmas and on Easter Sunday, and I love that. I love that they would spend that time with us."So Hope uses that time to send a message, to deliver a different kind of service for those in search of a home church, Knight said."We'll have a combination of that great, traditional music and a contemporary band," Knight said, a shift from tradition they made nearly 25 years ago when Knight first started at Hope. "It'll be great music. We have an incredible band."It's a change from singing straight out of the hymnal intended to bring in those who might not otherwise attend church.Knight said their whole goal, especially this Easter weekend, is to deliver a service that "speaks to people," even if that bucks against tradition.That's the message Nathan Johnson, pastor at Freedom Church in downtown Grand Forks, wants to convey, as well."For us, it's just about 'what are the basics?' We're passionate about our love for Jesus and being there for each other," Johnson said earlier this week.Everything else is superfluous.Freedom Church, located at the corner of Third Street and DeMers Avenue, bucks tradition with its very location. On the first floor is the sanctuary and a newly renovated entryway lounge, complete with coffee machines and sofas. The third floor is home to the church's children's ministries.The second floor of the building, however, is The Loft Bar and Grill, an establishment not typically connected to a church."We don't use this space Saturday nights and they don't use it Sunday mornings," Johnson said with a smile. "It seems to work for everyone."It's that openness that brought in Nate Espinoza, then hungover and looking for answers as he struggled with addiction, now sober and a compassion coordinator for the church."The casual atmosphere let me know-I belong here," Espinoza said, and they plan to have that same casual attitude on Easter morning. "Being a Christian doesn't have to be boring."Johnson said while there won't be vast amounts of decorations around the sanctuary, there will be doughnuts."We're here to provide hope and encouragement," Johnson said. "When people come to church, they don't need to be beat up."

What To Read Next
Artificial intelligence can now act as an artist or a writer. Does that mean AI is ready to play doctor? Many institutions, including Mayo Clinic, believe that AI is ready to become a useful tool.
Josh Sipes was watching an in-flight movie when he became aware the flight crew were asking for help assisting a woman who was experiencing a medical problem.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Crisis pregnancy centers received almost $3 million in taxpayer funds in 2022. Soon, sharing only medically accurate information could be a prerequisite for funding.