The phrases “Good Friday” and “Seder” are not usually spoken in the same breath, seeing as how the first belongs to a Christian holiday and the second is a Jewish celebration that marks the first night of Passover.
Pinewoods Chapel, an evangelical Christian community church in Angus, Ontario, sought to bring some understanding of the Jewish tradition to the public by hosting a Seder for their congregation.
“The meal was sponsored by Pinewoods Chapel for the congregation, community, friends and family,” contributor Megan Elford states. “Our goal was to introduce the congregation and community to the rich symbolism and tradition inherent in the Seder Meal, and to understand more fully the implications of the Last Supper.”
There are 14 parts to the Seder and it’s not unusual for the whole service to take four to five hours to complete. During the ceremony the Passover story is read from a book known as the Haggadah, which also includes the rituals, blessings, songs, and meanings of the specific foods and drinks consumed during the evening.
All food placed on the Seder plate for the meal is symbolic. Traditionally, there are six items which represent everything from the circle of life to the bitter existence of the Israelite slaves.
Pinewoods Chapel invited a guest host, Hebrew scholar Dr. David Brewer, to lead the service. Elford believes “he brought a wealth of knowledge that allowed us to understand much more about the Seder than we might otherwise have.”
The church promoted the Seder through their website, word of mouth and Facebook to let people know about the event. According to Elford, “word of mouth worked the best, as it usually does!”
The church covered the cost of the free event, and Elford thinks having professionally printed tickets helped them get a good turnout.
“Ordering tickets for the event was mainly a logistical decision,” she says. “We needed a numbers count to ensure that there would be enough seating. However, having them professionally printed brought an element of anticipation and formality to the event. It also made inviting friends and family easier.”