Holy Week services in Pell City represent a time for the whole Body of Christ, across denominational lines, to gather and be reminded that we belong to each other and belong to God.

“Time seems to speed up as Christians and churches move towards Holy Week and Easter,” said the Rev. Arthur Harrison, associate pastor of Pell City First United Methodist Church. “Gospel stories begin to gain momentum and speed as Jesus enters Jerusalem to the waving of palm branches and cheers from the crowd at the beginning of the week, then is carried out and laid in a tomb at the end of the week.”

Harrison said Pell City FUMC has the tradition of hosting a week-long series of community Holy Week services.

The multi-denominational Holy Week services are at 12:05 p.m. April 14-18 at Pell City FUMC sanctuary.

“Each year, we invite local clergy to come and share their message and their readings of the Holy Week journey, which leads Jesus to the cross and sets the stage for our worship and joy Easter morning,” he said.

Harrison said Holy Week represents many different emotions and situations.

“As we move through the gospel stories, we retell and relive the growing sense of fear, confusion, anger, humiliation and defeat that Jesus and his disciples felt and experienced,” he said. “There continues to be a strong emotional pull because we still feel the fear and hopelessness that can surround us when it appears that evil is at last overtaking goodness in our world.”

Harrison said the world is filled with tragic headlines, wars and mysteries, and it would be easy to be buried in grief, anger and hopelessness if it weren’t for the small enduring hope and assurance that God has not forgotten us.

“If there is a message of Holy Week and Easter that rings straight to my heart and spirit, it is that in one final effort, everything that was desperate, evil and malicious tried to extinguish and suffocate the Light and the Life that came into the world and after the dust settled, after the pageantry and the drama, evil had nothing else to look upon but an empty tomb and a pile of grave clothes that were no longer necessary,” he said. “The darkness could not overcome the Light of Christ and even today the message reminds us that we are not abandoned. The Light of God will never be suffocated, despite all that is piled against it.”

Harrison said as the community worships together, shares a meal together and shares the message with neighbors and strangers alike, it is a time like no other.

“Also, Pastor Sam (Huffstutler) is retiring and this is his last Holy Week in ministry here at Pell City First United Methodist Church,” he said. “He will close out the week on Good Friday, and I know there are many members of this congregation and this community who want to share that moment with him.”

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.