Holy/Maundy Thursday 2018 — Planning Notes



Reading Notes

NRSV texts, artwork and Revised Common Lectionary Prayers for this service are available at the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.
Leccionario en Español, Leccionario Común Revisado: Consulta Sobre Textos Comunes.
Lectionnaire en français, Le Lectionnaire Œcuménique Révisé

Calendar Notes

Red continues to be used through the end of this service, when all paraments, altarware, and  other adornments are removed.

March 29      Maundy/Holy Thursday
March 30      Good Friday
March 31      Holy Saturday (until Sundown)
                      Easter Eve/Easter Vigil (after Sundown)

April 1           
Easter Day
                      Easter Series Begins
April 15        
Native American Ministries Sunday
April 22         Festival of God’s Creation
April 25         World Malaria Day

All Month       Christian Home Month (2018 Theme: Families Called to Peace, forthcoming)
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
May 3              National Day of Prayer
May 4              May Friendship Day (UMW/CWU)
May 7-13        
Christian Family Week (2018 resources forthcoming)
May 10            
Ascension Day
May 13            Ascension Sunday
                        Festival of the Christian Home/Mother’s Day (USA)
May 19-20      
Change the World Weekend
May 20           Day of Pentecost
                       Heritage Sunday (forthcoming)
May 24           
Aldersgate Day
May 27           Trinity Sunday
                       Peace with Justice Sunday
May 28           Memorial Day (USA)

Pray for annual conferences convening throughout the month, for all receiving new appointments or assignments, for those leaving existing appointments or assignments, and for congregations and other ministries receiving new leadership. 

For Your Planning Team — Holy/Maundy Thursday

In This Series

This is the second major service in Holy Week.

This is the most intense week in the Christian year. It confronts us with the violence we inflict upon each other and our faithlessness toward God, juxtaposed dramatically against the love of God and the hope God's kingdom offers our world.


On Palm/Passion Sunday we glimpsed the processions that marked the beginning and the end of the events of this week in the life of Jesus. Today we find ourselves in the midst of these events. Sunday was about movement, getting to a destination, or the hope of getting there. It was about our feet in motion. Today is about presence, community, our feet or hands held and  lovingly washed by another. We wash our feet (or hands) because we have been on the move, and now are ready to sit down and be together, united with Christ and one another.

We have structured this service differently from a traditional service in the worship space. If you want a more traditional service for use in your worship space, we highly commend the version in the Book of Worship, 351-354.

We have built this service around a shared meal. It is a service of word, washing, and watching, modeled on the actions of Jesus with his disciples before his betrayal as recorded in the gospel of John. It does not include Eucharist. If you wish to include the Eucharist, do so after the Washing and before the first dismissal. The Book of Worship provides a Great Thanksgiving for Holy Thursday. You may also use the Great Thanksgiving for Maundy Thursday in an Alternative/ Emergent Mode.

Logistics: In the Dining/Washing Space

This service is about love, mutual care, and unity in Christ. Be sure to express that love in tangible ways. Have greeters posted at the doors, just as you would in your regular worship space. Take time during the meal to thank your kitchen staff and table staff for their role in helping the meal and the service flow smoothly.

Be sure to consult with your kitchen/catering volunteers about the best way for them to enable persons to get their meals and clear the tables efficiently in the space you have available. And rehearse your table staff (those who will bring out the second pitchers of water, the basins, and the towels to each table) so this operation can happen quickly and smoothly. If your space and crowd are small enough, it may be possible for each table to send someone to a central location to pick up these items. For larger gatherings, it may be essential to have dedicated table server teams for this to be handled efficiently.

There is one more team that will be essential for this service to conclude well: the altar guild or an extended altar guild who will "strip the sanctuary." If they desire to remove items in a certain order, it will be important for them to organize how they will do so, and rehearse these actions (even if in mime) before the service so this action proceeds with the intended solemnity.

Additional Resources 2015 Planning Helps

2015 Planning Helps for Holy/Maundy Thursday

Ecumenical Prayer Cycle