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Pa. church celebrates Passover with Jewish Christian seder

March 24, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Jeanne Fulk of Frederick, Md., helps Sue McMorris of Chambersburg, Pa., wash her hands during a Jewish-Christian seder held Sunday at Church of the Apostles in Waynesboro, Pa.
Photo by Jennifer Fitch

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Religions blended Sunday when a United Church of Christ congregation hosted a Jewish-Christian seder to mark Passover.

Pastor Michael Cromer from Church of the Apostles told the 30 people gathered to pay attention to the instructions about when and how to eat, drink and pray.

“That’s one of the important messages of the Exodus story — following God’s orders,” he said, telling the crowd that “seder” means “order.”

Cromer said he tried to retain much from the traditional Jewish observance, but a section at the end of the seder talked about Jesus. Sunday marked the start of Holy Week for Christians.

“Sometimes I think Christians forget about Passover because they think it’s a Jewish thing, but I think it’s an important part of the whole story of Holy Week. ... Also, I think Christians forget about their Jewish heritage,” Cromer said.

The Church of the Apostles on Barnett Avenue in Wayne Heights, Pa., east of Waynesboro, also held Jewish-Christian seders in 2011 and 2012, he said.

“I would recommend anyone who wants to experience the seder and get a better understanding of both the Jewish (observance) as it applies to Christianity to come, observe and participate,” said Jeanne Fulk of Frederick, Md.

Fulk, who is Jewish, did the Hebrew readings for the seder. She has attended the Church of the Apostles’ event all three years it has been held.

Fulk said she has always appreciated the Passover time for its sense of community and family.

When the event started, two boys searched for leavened bread in the room to remove it. Jews’ ancestors in Egypt had to leave in such haste that they could not wait for their bread to rise, and they had to bake it while it was still flat.

The group ate sweet and bitter herbs as a reminder that life is a mixture of joy and sorrow, as well as of bitter endings and sweet, new beginnings. Attendees shared matzah because sharing bread is supposed to form a bond of fellowship and community. They dipped their fingers in juice for each plague, including locusts, darkness and cattle disease.

Waynesboro resident Carolyn Carson was invited to the seder by her friend, Nancy Dinterman.

“I wanted to experience it,” Carson said.

Carson said she had never been to a seder, but would encourage others to attend the Church of the Apostles’ event in the future. She enjoyed the symbolism.

“It was a meaningful experience,” Carson said.

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