Tag Archives: Easter

Easter Sunrise Service and Holy Week: The Complete Guide

NOTICE: The Church Without Walls is meeting online during the COVID-19 outbreak until further notice. Click here for details

The Easter Sunrise Service at the Church Without Walls in Atlanta’s Candler Park at 7:10am on Sunday, April 12th caps the 2020 Holy Week and Lenten observance for Gentle Spirit Christian Church, which includes:

Thursday April 9th 7pm: Maundy Thursday service with First Christian Church of Decatur
Friday April 10th at 7pm: Good Friday service with FCCD at the foot of the Cross
Sat. April 11th, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm: A day of prayer together
Sunday April 12th Sunrise 7:10am: Easter Morning service in Candler Park
Sunday April 12th after service 8:30am: Breakfast Cookout
Sunday April 12th 10:30am: Easter Celebration 11am with FCCD

Click here for this year’s Lenten readings.

Lent 2020 Readings, Worship Schedule and Worship Topics

NOTICE: The Church Without Walls is meeting online during the COVID-19 outbreak until further notice. Click here for details

• Wednesday, February 26, 2020: Ash Wednesday Service with FCCD for distribution of ashes 7pm
• Thursday, February 27, 2020: Psalm 51; Jonah 3:1-10; Romans 1:1-7
• Friday, February 28, 2020: Psalm 51; Jonah 4:1-11; Romans 1:8-17
• Saturday, February 29, 2020: Psalm 51; Isaiah 58:1-12; Matthew 18:1-7
• Sunday, March 1, 2020: First Sunday in Lent Matthew 6:1-4 “Step Aside”
• Monday, March 2, 2020: Psalm 32; 1 Kings 19:1-8; Hebrews 2:10-18
• Tuesday, March 3, 2020: Psalm 32; Genesis 4:1-16; Hebrews 4:14-5:10
• Wednesday, March 4, 2020: Psalm 32; Exodus 34:1-9, 27-28; Matthew 18:10-14
• Thursday, March 5, 2020: Psalm 121; Isaiah 51:1-3; 2 Timothy 1:3-7
• Friday, March 6, 2020: Psalm 121; Micah 7:18-20; Romans 3:21-31
• Saturday, March 7, 2020: Psalm 121; Isaiah 51:4-8; Luke 7:1-10
• Sunday, March 8, 2020: Second Sunday in Lent “Pray Like This” Matthew 6:5-18
• Monday, March 9, 2020: Psalm 128; Numbers 21:4-9; Hebrews 3:1-6
• Tuesday, March 10, 2020: Psalm 128; Isaiah 65:17-25; Romans 4:6-13
• Wednesday, March 11, 2020: Psalm 128; Ezekiel 36:22-32; John 7:53-8:11
• Thursday, March 12, 2020: Psalm 95; Exodus 16:1-8; Colossians 1:15-23
• Friday, March 13, 2020: Psalm 95; Exodus 16:9-21; Ephesians 2:11-22
• Saturday, March 14, 2020: Psalm 95; Exodus 16:27-35; John 4:1-6
• Sunday, March 15, 2020: Third Sunday in Lent “Our Pre-Occupation” Matthew 6:19-34
• Monday, March 16, 2020: Psalm 81; Genesis 24:1-27; 2 John 1:1-13
• Tuesday, March 17, 2020: Psalm 81; Genesis 29:1-14; 1 Corinthians 10:1-4
• Wednesday, March 18, 2020: Psalm 81; Jeremiah 2:4-13; John 7:14-31, 37-39
• Thursday, March 19, 2020: Psalm 23; 1 Samuel 15:10-21; Ephesians 4:25-32
• Friday, March 20, 2020: Psalm 23; 1 Samuel 15:22-31; Ephesians 5:1-9
• Saturday, March 21, 2020: Psalm 23; 1 Samuel 15:32-34; John 1:1-9
• Sunday, March 22, 2020: Fourth Sunday in Lent “Priorities” Matthew 7:1-12
• Monday, March 23, 2020: Psalm 146; Isaiah 59:9-19; Acts 9:1-20
• Tuesday, March 24, 2020: Psalm 146; Isaiah 42:14-21; Colossians 1:9-14
• Wednesday, March 25, 2020: Psalm 146; Isaiah 60:17-22; Matthew 9:27-34
• Thursday, March 26, 2020: Psalm 130; Ezekiel 1:1-3, 2:8-3:3; Revelation 10:1-11
• Friday, March 27, 2020: Psalm 130; Ezekiel 33:10-16; Revelation 11:15-19
• Saturday, March 28, 2020: Psalm 130; Ezekiel 36:8-15; Luke 24:44-53
• Sunday, March 29, 2020: Fifth Sunday in Lent “More than Words” Matthew 7:13-29
• Monday, March 30, 2020: Psalm 143; 1 Kings 17:17-24; Acts 20:7-12
• Tuesday, March 31, 2020: Psalm 143; 2 Kings 4:18-37; Ephesians 2:1-10
• Wednesday, April 1, 2020: Psalm 143; Jeremiah 32:1-9, 36-41; Matthew 22:23-33
• Thursday, April 2, 2020: Psalm 31:9-16; 1 Samuel 16:11-13; Philippians 1:1-11
• Friday, April 3, 2020: Psalm 31:9-16; Job 13:13-19; Philippians 1:21-30
• Saturday, April 4, 2020: Psalm 31:9-16; Lamentations 3:55-66; Mark 10:32-34
• Sunday, April 5, 2020: Blessing of the Palms
• Thursday, April 9, 2020: Maundy Thursday 7pm with FCCD
• Friday, April 10, 2020: Good Friday 7pm at the foot of the Cross with FCCD

Vicar Alyce Keener

About Vicar Alyce Keener

Born in Columbus, Ohio, Alyce has been called in two directions from an early age: Teaching and God. She has been active in churches all her life, prays every day and studied at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. She has lived in Georgia since 1995.

Lent 2020 Pastoral Call to Repent, Reflect and Resolve to Act

Our Lenten Journey

Lent is the period of 40 days which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days.

We have taught to use this time to repent (turn back to God), reflect about our individual relationship with God and resolve to act on the discoveries made in that time of repentance and reflection.

In past years I have tried to give a specific theme or topic for us to concentrate on during those 40 days. However, this year the discernment is to simply encourage you during the 40 days of Lent in your own way and time each day to set aside 20 minutes each day to read scripture, pray, repent (turn back to God), and reflect on your relationship with God.

Here are instructions for fasting, and here are the daily readings, worship schedule and worship topics for the season.

Lent culminates on Good Friday, as we are called to fast from Friday sundown til Easter Sunrise.

You may be asking – why do we encourage an annual fast at our church? The first time we did it was 13 years ago. We were experiencing many challenges and wondered what direction our ministry/church should take. We were in debt and we knew we were not welcome anymore at the church we were at. We prayed and were led to several answers over the last 13 years:

1. Go into the park and have morning services
2. Look for another place to have our church office and successfully accomplishing that.
3. Trust God for the finances to keep going.
4. Be open to what God would send to us
5. Began the effort to meet the “needs” of the community rather than try and “fix” the community.
6. We began preparing and distributing Hygiene Kits (more than 9,000 completed Kits in 6 years).
7. Reformatted our worship time to be more inclusive and welcoming.
8. Developed an incredible network in the Community that allows us to meet the needs of those who connect with us.
9. Working on becoming a Community Fellowship rather than an institutional Church.
10. Stepped forward  with fear and trepidation but rock solid faith and re-launch “Whosover Webzine.”

All these things have happened by God’s grace. So we spend the day on personal prayer and fasting encouraging all to seek God’s direction in their lives.

God has answered clearly and has been by our side in a journey which caused us to become the “Church without Walls”. We have become a group of faith people which stresses a relationship and love for God and each other (as opposed to stressing doctrine and rules).

Throughout these past 13 years we have continued to pray for our church and its direction…how to better do the work God has laid out for us.

We have had significant growth in outreach to the community and to our folks. The miracle stories seem to happen at a dizzying pace. We will celebrate our 22nd anniversary on March 15th and as we celebrate our past and present, we will look to our future.

As, God’s Spirit once again calls for us to spend a day of “Fasting and Prayer”. I encourage all of you consider joining with Alyce and myself at the park on April 11th to pray and fast. It is only with your support that we have become a church that is affirming, inclusive and progressive in our ministry and it is only with your help and prayer that it can continue. Please consider joining us (either in person at a location of your choosing or with us at the park).

Here are the details of our time of prayer and fasting: If you have small children don’t let that stop you from participating, let us know you intend to be there and we will get child care for the main part of the fast and prayer on Saturday. If you have a signed “Covenant” with the church I appeal to you to participate in this sacred and holy time of reflection and seeking God’s direction for this fellowship.

Church Fast

Individually we will be encouraging you all to focus on:
1) What can each of us do to continue the work of this church?
2) What can each of us do to support the vision and mission of GSCC?
3) What do we did to do as individuals to proclaim and act on our core beliefs.
4) Am I a doers or follower?

Collectively we will be praying and seeking God’s guidance in the following areas:
1) Our expanding ministry on the Internet – how much should we take advantage of?
2) How can we continue our Hygiene Kit ministry?
3) Grant research – as we seek to minister to the homeless and others, we are in pursuit of grants to help us continue serving those in need. We seek prayer here for guidance from God as to the direction and which grants to go for.
4) What does the “Church Without Walls” look like? Feel like? Act like?

In times of searching we have examples in the Bible of others calling for prayer and fasting to set themselves aside for God and to determine God’s leading. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert fasting and praying. Jesus set himself aside to better/more clearly hear God speak and direct Jesus in all that he needed to do. We are no different in this church. We too seek God’s direction and wisdom to clearly speak to us.

Easter weekend we put ourselves aside and concentrate on God, to allow God to speak with each of us and to all of us as a church.

Saturday events:
9:00 – 9:45 am: Praising God in Song – Centering ourselves and focusing on God
9:45 – 10:00 am: Direction for individual prayer time
10:00 – 11:00 am: Individual prayer/meditation – concentrating on your needs
11:00 – 11:30 am: Time of sharing over juice/water – a type of break
11:30 – noon: Presentation of prayer items about church – details so that we all can pray about our church issues
Noon – 12:30 pm: Individual Prayer for the church
12:30 – 1:00 pm: Brainstorm on the church questions– sharing how God spoke to you
1:00 – 1:15 pm: Time of sharing over juice/ water – a type of break
1:15pm – 1:30 pm: Group Prayer time
1:30 – 2:00 pm: Sharing

God Bless,
Pastor Paul

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at https://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.

Holy Week 2019 Pastoral Call to Fast and Pray

As we travel in our Lenten journey this year, our church once again encourages and will engage in an annual period of fasting and prayer from Good Friday to Easter Sunday. We started this practice 15 years ago, and for the past seven years we have emphasized making this special time be about becoming more attuned than ever to the work God would have us do as individuals and as a church.

In that time, we have focused our prayers on our church and its direction — on how to better do the work God has laid out for us. We have had significant growth in outreach to the community and to God’s people. The miracle stories seem to happen at a dizzying pace. With more than 20 years of history as a congregation, we celebrate our past and present — and we prayerfully look to our future.

It is only with your support that we have become a church that is affirming, inclusive and progressive in our ministry, and it is only with your help and prayer that it can continue.

The pastoral staff and I have been moved by God’s spirit to again call for this time of fasting and prayer. I hope that you will consider joining us in this spiritual practice — and in particular, to join me in Candler Park, near picnic pavilion 2, on Holy Saturday, April 20th between 10am and 2pm, to pray together and also to pray for those who are joining us in person or in spirit.

Here are the details of our time of fasting and prayer:

  • Our fast begins on Good Friday at the conclusion of the 7pm service at the foot of the Cross on the lawn of First Christian Church of Decatur.
  • Our theme this year is “Taking Our Inventory“.
  • On Holy Saturday in Candler Park, I will lead us through a day of prayer. If you have a signed covenant with our church, I appeal to you especially to participate in this sacred and holy time of reflection and of seeking God’s direction for this fellowship. (If you have small children, don’t let that stop you from participating; let us know you intend to be there and we can discuss arrangements for child care.)

For this year’s meditation, here are some questions I encourage you to focus on:

  • How does this year’s meditation translate for you in the life of Gentle Spirit Christian Church? What kinds of spiritual inventory have you pursued?
  • What can each of us do to witness a spiritual inventory through our vision and mission?
  • What do we need to do as individuals to continue to take a spiritual inventory?
  • Indeed, what does a spiritual inventory actually look like?

Easter is a special opportunity for us to set ourselves aside and focus on God, to allow God to speak to each of us individually and to all of us as a church. I hope you’ll join us in this spiritual practice beginning at with our Good Friday service and concluding with our Easter (Resurrection Sunday) Sunrise Service in Candler Park, picnic Pavilion 2.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll find this year’s Lenten readings useful in your spiritual practice.

God bless,
Pastor Paul

Lent 2019 Readings

The 2019 Lenten season commences on Ash Wednesday, March 6th, and ends on Maundy Thursday, April 18th.

Our theme this year is Taking Our Inventory. We all have our own ways of doing personal inventory — but how do you take a biblical survey based off the readings we have?

Three questions to consider:

  • In the readings, which verse stood out from the others?
  • Why did this verse ring a chord with me?
  • How does or should this influence my life today?

When I mentioned these three, Pastor Paul added a challenge: Sit in front of a mirror and look at yourself with your bible in hand. Consider that you were uniquely created in the image of God — who loves that image in the mirror, unconditionally. So can you say that you do too?

Take these steps in hand and read your bible day, taking time to inventory yourself in front of that mirror.

Readings and Sermon Titles:

  • Thursday, March 7: Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16; Exodus 5:10-23; Acts 7:30-34
  • Friday, March 8: Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16; Exodus 6:1-13; Acts 7:35-42
  • Saturday, March 9: Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16; Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; John 12:27-36

Sunday, March 10 (Lent 1): Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16; Romans 10:8b-13; Luke 4:1-13. Sermon: “Jesus’ Test is Our Test” (Vicar Alyce)

  • Monday, March 11: Psalm 17; 1 Chronicles 21:1-17; 1 John 2:1-6
  • Tuesday, March 12: Psalm 17; Zechariah 3:1-10; 2 Peter 2:4-21
  • Wednesday, March 13: Psalm 17; Job 1:1-22; Luke 21:34-22:6
  • Thursday, March 14: Psalm 27; Genesis 13:1-7, 14-18; Philippians 3:2-12
  • Friday, March 15: Psalm 27; Genesis 14:17-24; Philippians 3:17-20
  • Saturday, March 16: Psalm 27; Psalm 118:26-29; Matthew 23:37-39

Sunday, March 17 (Lent 2): Psalm 27; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 9:28-36, (37-43a). Sermon: “Time’s Up” (Pastor Paul)

  • Monday, March 18: Psalm 105:1-42; Exodus 33:1-6; Romans 4:1-12
  • Tuesday, March 19: Psalm 105:1-42; Numbers 14:10b-24; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
  • Wednesday, March 20: Psalm 105:1-42; 2 Chronicles 20:1-22; Luke 13:22-31
  • Thursday, March 21: Psalm 63:1-8; Daniel 3:19-30; Revelation 2:8-11
  • Friday, March 22: Psalm 63:1-8; Daniel 12:1-4; Revelation 3:1-6
  • Saturday, March 23: Psalm 63:1-8; Isaiah 5:1-7; Luke 6:43-45

Sunday, March 24 (Lent 3): Psalm 63:1-8; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9. Sermon: “One More Year” (Pastor Paul)

  • Monday, March 25: Psalm 39; Jeremiah 11:1-17; Romans 2:1-11
  • Tuesday, March 26: Psalm 39; Ezekiel 17:1-10; Romans 2:12-16
  • Wednesday, March 27: Psalm 39; Numbers 13:17-27; Luke 13:18-21
  • Thursday, March 28: Psalm 32; Joshua 4:1-13; 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:5
  • Friday, March 29: Psalm 32; Joshua 4:14-24; 2 Corinthians 5:6-15
  • Saturday, March 30: Psalm 32; Exodus 32:7-14; Luke 15:1-10

Sunday, March 31 (Lent 4): Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32. Sermon: “Is this Plain Enough?” (Pastor Paul)

  • Monday, April 1: Psalm 53; Leviticus 23:26-41; Revelation 19:1-8
  • Tuesday, April 2: Psalm 53; Leviticus 25:1-19; Revelation 19:9-10
  • Wednesday, April 3: Psalm 53; 2 Kings 4:1-7; Luke 9:10-17
  • Thursday, April 4: Psalm 126; Isaiah 43:1-7; Philippians 2:19-24
  • Friday, April 5: Psalm 126; Isaiah 43:8-15; Philippians 2:25-3:1
  • Saturday, April 6: Psalm 126; Exodus 12:21-27; John 11:45-57

Sunday, April 7 (Lent 5): Psalm 126; Philippians 3:4b-14; John 12:1-8. Sermon: “Priorities!” (Pastor Paul)

  • Monday, April 8: Psalm 20; Exodus 40:1-15; Hebrews 10:19-25
  • Tuesday, April 9: Psalm 20; Judges 9:7-15; 1 John 2:18-28
  • Wednesday, April 10: Psalm 20; Habakkuk 3:2-15; Luke 18:31-34
  • Thursday, April 11: Psalm 31:9-16; Isaiah 53:10-12; Hebrews 2:1-9
  • Friday, April 12: Psalm 31:9-16; Isaiah 54:9-10; Hebrews 2:10-18
  • Saturday, April 13: Psalm 31:9-16; Leviticus 23:1-8; Luke 22:1-13

Palm Sunday, April 14 (Lent 6): Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Luke 19:28-40. Sermon: “I Love a Parade” (Pastor Paul)

Holy Week:

  • Monday, April 15: Isaiah 42:1-9; Psalm 36:5-11; Hebrews 9:11-15; John 12:1-11
  • Tuesday, April 16: Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 71:1-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; John 12:20-36
  • Wednesday, April 17: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 70; Hebrews 12:1-3; John 13:21-32
  • Holy Saturday, April 20: Job 14:1-14; Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16; 1 Peter 4:1-8; Matthew 27:57-66 or John 19:38-42

Easter Sunday, April 21: Acts 10:34-43 or Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Acts 10:34-43; Luke 24:1-12. Sermon: “The Empty Tomb” (Pastor Paul)

Vicar Alyce Keener

About Vicar Alyce Keener

Born in Columbus, Ohio, Alyce has been called in two directions from an early age: Teaching and God. She has been active in churches all her life, prays every day and studied at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. She has lived in Georgia since 1995.