Tenebrae Service

Tenebrae at Incarnation

Incarnation experienced incredible Holy Week services this year! For years, Incarnation has held a Tenebrae service in Fr. Josh and Rachel’s living room in Holy Week preceding Easter. Tenebrae is latin for “Shadows” or “Darkness”. The service is comprised of a series of readings followed by the extinguishing of a candle after each reading. The service ends in darkness and silence. Fr. Josh & Rachel removed everything of beauty from their living room and set up a bare altar and candles to utilize throughout the emotional service.

In the past, attendance has usually been 10 to 14 people. This year, however, as the service began, people kept arriving; one after another. Eventually, 30 people squeezed in to their living room for this emotional service, remembering Christ’s final moments. Most returned for Easter Sunday, by which time the beauty had returned to the living room, including all the normal art that adorns their residence, as well as the normal Easter paraments, flowers, and decorations. In total, 35 attended the Easter service, many of whom stayed for a community luncheon afterward.

Why the sudden increase in attendance? Fr. Josh attributes it to the influx of newer attendees, many of whom identify as “former evangelicals,” who have fallen in love with the Anglican liturgy and connection to the early church. Their excitement manifested this year by insisting their friends and family members come to experience a more tactile approach to worship alongside them. This was the first Tenebrae service most of the visitors ever attended, and the majority were so moved by it, they returned to worship with Incarnation on Easter Sunday. Lord willing, this exciting trend will continue as more and more people in the greater Roseville area discover the beauty of a worship service with such strong roots in the early church.

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