Ecumenical Good Friday Service April 7 to to be tenebrae-style

Pastor Daniel Kane, of First Baptist Church, recites a monologue as Simon during a Good Friday service presented by the Ecumenical Assembly of Bartholomew County Churches at The Commons in Columbus on April 15, 2022.

It could be considered among history’s most epic fade-to-dark moments: the crucifixion and death of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in three of the four gospels in Scripture.

Ancient writers penned that darkness covered the land in Judea for three hours during the daytime.

And that darkness will be part of the focus of a tenebrae — Latin for darkness — ecumenical Good Friday Service at noon April 7 at the Gray Box Theater in Central Middle School, 725 Seventh St. in downtown Columbus.

The Ecumenical assembly of Bartholomew County Churches, also known by its outreach of Love Chapel Ministries, organizes the open-to-all gathering that has attracted about 150 to 200 people annually in recent years at The Commons.

In the past, it has included members of more than 25 churches visibly involved or present in the gathering that sets the stage for the holiest day on the Christian calendar: Easter Sunday, marking Jesus’ resurrection. The event will be live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube.

Kelly Daugherty, Love Chapel’s executive director, mentioned that the 45-minute worship service, which will feature musician David Mauryl, remains important locally for several reasons.

“First of all, there are still a lot of churches not quite large enough to present their own separate Good Friday service,” Daugherty said. “So this allows those churches unable to do that and others to come together for this somber occasion because it is so very important for Christians to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made.

“This is a reminder that the recognition of his sacrifice is so important.”

At some past services, a few attendees have shed tears amid sights and sounds that have included distant and persistent hammering to hint at Jesus being nailed to a cross. Others have sat in eerie silence as a final candle has been extinguished at the end of the service.

This service will include one candle after another extinguished after each reading until the intimate venue is in total darkness for a moment.

“We can do more with the lighting there (at Central) than at The Commons since there are no windows (in the theater),” Daugherty said.

The Rev. Aelred Dean, priest-in-charge since December at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Columbus, will extend a welcome to visitors.

“This will be totally different than last year’s service,” Daugherty said. “That’s not either good or bad — just basically different. We’re always trying to change it around a little each year.”