Passover it s not just for Jews anymore. More and more Christian congregations are including at least a few Passover elements as part of a church-wide celebration or at least for a Sunday school lesson during the week before Easter.
In Huntsville, two community celebrations, one Christian and one Jewish, are planned for the beginning of Passover in the Jewish year 5775.
The Tuesday, April 15, 2014, will gather about 800 Christians from many denominations for an evening meal at which Pastor Bob Somerville, founder-director of Awareness Ministry, will give the Christian interpretation of many of the elements of the Jewish Passover Seder. Fair warning for Christians who have attended Seders led by Jews: Pastor Somerville, who has been helping to educate Christians about their connection to Jewish history and rituals for nearly 30 years, has distilled the traditional four glasses of Passover wine to one cup of Protestant Communion grape juice.
Disappointment over the non-traditional libations aside, the evening, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Von Braun Center s North Hall, will be a joyous celebration of Christian unity and service to others, and reminder of some religious rituals that most Christians believe that Jesus himself would have been familiar with. Many Christians interpret the Last Supper Jesus had with his disciples as taking place during Passover. The offering from Christ Our Passover this year will be given to , the local food pantry that feeds hundreds of people each week and is supported by dozens of congregations and individuals.
Deadline for signing up for the event, which is per person, is Friday, April 11. Sign up by clicking on or by calling 256-776-2732 to reserve a place. The Christ Our Passover event in Huntsville is one of the nation s oldest community Christian celebrations of aspects of the Jewish Seder.The Passover Seder plate, is a special plate containing symbolic foods used by Jews during the Passover Seder to symbolize various elements of the Exodus story, which is re-told during the evening. The items include, from top center: horseradish; a shank bone; a mixture of fruit, wine and nuts called haroset; lettuce, parsley and a roasted egg. Passover Seders also include a feast for those gathered at the table. (AP Photo / Dan Goodman)
A modern observance of the Jewish Seder, set for the congregation of -- with a few places available for guests from the community -- will also be held on Tuesday, April 15, 2014.
Led by Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar, the evening will begin at 5 p.m. with a walk through a prayer labyrinth as a way to meditatively consider one s personal journey and how to refresh the spirit at the beginning of Passover. The Alpha Men s Choral Group will be singing. The labyrinth will be laid out in the Temple s social hall.
The Seder itself will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. in The Cooper House of Central Presbyterian Church, just behind the Temple on Randolph Avenue. Tickets for the Seder are , with children 12 and younger free. Reserve a place by contacting the office at Temple B nai Sholom at or weekday mornings by telephone at 256-536-4771.
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