3 March 2022
Anglicans are preparing to enjoy their first “normal” Easter services in three years following COVID-driven service cancellations 2020 and attendance caps, masks and check-in procedures in 2021.
Dean of Melbourne the Very Reverend Andreas Loewe said St Paul’s Cathedral would have a full complement of Holy Week services.
“It’s back to a very full program like in the days before COVID,” Dr Loewe said.
“People can just come and participate in the services. They don’t need to pre-book, they don’t need to QR-code in. It will just be like an ordinary Easter used to be before COVID.”
Dr Loewe said the Good Friday Stations of the Cross procession, held by Melbourne City Churches in Action, would happen this year for the first time since 2019.
The procession begins at St Francis Church on Lonsdale Street at 10am and passes a number of city churches before ending at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Other churches in the diocese are also relishing the return to pre-COVID style Easter services.
St James Old Cathedral vicar the Reverend Canon Matt Williams said his congregation was enjoying the return to normal services. Mr Williams said he hoped that the wider group of people who often visited during Easter would also return, with more confidence this year.
He said that unlike Easter last year, there would be no masks, which made a big difference.
“People really enjoy it. Singing in a mask is unpleasant and hard to get enough air and a lot of people find it uncomfortable,” Mr Williams said.
“The way that St James’ is set out, we block off every second pew and that means people have already socially distanced. They’ve got a fair bit of confidence to just enjoy themselves.”
Mr Williams said that St James’ 10am Good Friday service would be a passion reading interspersed with meditations from the choir or soloists.
“We just hear the passion story, meditate on it and leave it at that. We don’t do the full-on Holy Week thing that a lot of other churches do,” he said.
Instead, he said, the church incorporated days during the rest of Holy Week into online prayers on Zoom.
“People are more able to attend them. It’s a thing that we’ve kept from COVID. The Monday to Thursday evenings all have a Holy Week journey on Zoom,” Mr Williams said.
On Easter Sunday, St James’ will run Holy Communion with a choir and Easter hymns.
St Paul’s Cathedral will run at least 11 services during Holy Week, starting with an 11am Eucharist on Holy Tuesday, through to a 6pm Eucharist on Maundy Thursday, a 9am Good Friday service and a 6.30am Easter vigil on Sunday morning, followed by a 10am choral Eucharist.