The Celebrations of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, at Christ Church Cathedral (CCC) were truly memorable. They would be the last Easter Sunday liturgies celebrated at CCC, Vancouver by current Dean of the Diocese and Rector of the Cathedral, the Very Reverend Peter Elliott, DD as he will retire September 30, 2019. Dean Elliott’s husband, Thomas Roach, ODNW who is largely responsible for liturgical art and liturgical production at the Cathedral will also be bidding farewell to the congregation. The liturgies were a feast for the eyes, ears and spirit.
Following the 2 hour and 20 minute Great Vigil of Easter liturgy that began at 5:30am, Archbishop Skelton who presided at all three Easter morning liturgies greeted the family who would be presenting Grace for baptism during the 8am Holy Communion with Holy Baptism and Renewal of Baptismal Vows. Baby Grace was incredibly cheerful and well-behaved and there was a lot of joy in the Cathedral nave as the Holy Spirit was present “who teaches us and leads us into all truth.”
The preacher for the 8am service was the Venerable Philippa Segrave-Pride, Assistant to the Rector at Christ Church Cathedral. She preached about baptism and shared some novel ideas about approaches to baptism that could be considered. Archdeacon Segrave-Pride's sermon is available by following this link.
The principle Sung Eucharist celebrated at 10:30am on Easter Sunday is always a full house. This year the nave was full by 9:45, the chancel and narthex at capacity by about 10:10. Although there was a huge crowd most of whom arrived early the Cathedral greeting teams did an exemplary job of helping people find seats and more importantly making everyone feel welcome.
The liturgy began with the Touch of Brass Quintet located with Cathedral Choir in the south end organ loft playing an Easter Fanfare, this was followed by a gorgeous acapella version of This Joyful Eastertide the well-known Dutch Carol sung by Cathedral Choir under the direction of Organist and Director of Music, Rupert Lang. Following the introit Archbishop Skelton presided over a Celebration of Baptism and as choir and congregation sang Christ the Lord is Risen Today, all four priests sprinkled the worshippers in the sanctuary with Holy Water as a reminder of their baptism.
The preacher for the liturgy was Dean Peter Elliott. This would be his last Easter homily at CCC as dean and rector, a fact that was known to many of the worshippers present that morning. However, Dean Elliott did not dwell in the past or enter into retrospection instead he celebrated the present at CCC, giving a number of examples of the parish’s growth in mission, ministry and service to the community. He is optimistic about the future of CCC and believes the parish will go from strength to strength. Dean Peter’s homily is available by following this link.
The music in liturgy was wonderful, and the entire service was a joyful celebration of new life, the new life that is offered to us all in the risen Christ.