In the earliest days of the church, new converts were baptised on Easter Day – the high point of the Christian year. In preparation for Baptism they were taught the story of God’s love for his world through the key Old Testament stories of Creation, Abraham and Isaac, the Exodus and Ezekiel’s account of the valley of dry bones, placing the Christian story within the context of God’s dealings with his people. These became known as the Vigil Readings
At St Mary’s these readings take place in the darkened church, symbolising the darkness of the tomb in which Jesus lay. After the Vigil Readings, we go out into the churchyard through the South doors for the ‘Service of Light’ where a “new fire” is lit amid the darkness. From this new fire the Paschal or Easter Candle is set alight, symbolising the presence of the risen Christ. We then process into church through the West doors proclaiming ‘The Light of Christ’. After the shout ‘Christ is risen’ the church lights are turned on and the a fanfare is played on the organ. We share the first Eucharist of Easter together.
After the service there is breakfast for all who wish to stay.