Easter 2023: A message from the UCL Chaplain and Interfaith Adviser

31 March 2023

With the end of term, enjoy the well-earned break before the final push towards exam season and enjoy the Easter. Reverend Reid offers a few options for celebrating Easter.

Image showing macarons, a bouquet, a roll of string, a marker, and a card that reds happy easter

Now that Spring is finally here and term has ended, I’m sure that you are looking forward to a well-earned break before the final push towards exam season. As we enjoy the lengthening of days with the extra sunshine and the blossoming of wildlife around us, we are also approaching Holy Week and Easter – the most sacred and important time for Christians of all denominations.

Wherever you are celebrating, churches will be ready to warmly welcome you into their celebrations. Some continue to stream them online as well. For a few options of some of the churches offering a variety of services and support in London you can look at the list below.

Holy Week: Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday

Holy Week and Easter provides a whole sequence of services, observed in different ways and to varying degrees by differing denominations, in which Christians share in Christ’s own journey, from triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (2 April) to the empty tomb on Easter morning (9 April). Palm Sunday anticipates the whole story of the week which is then played out in what can feel like real time for those who attend each service. Maundy Thursday contains a rich complex of themes: humble Christian service expressed through Christ’s washing of his disciple’s feet, the institution of the Eucharist, and the perfection of Christ’s loving obedience through the agony of Gethsemane.

Good Friday and Easter Vigil

After keeping vigil, often until midnight, Thursday passes into Good Friday. On this day Christians commemorate Jesus’s death believing that in this act he took the sin of humanity upon himself so that we might be set free from it. This is the one day in the entire year that many churches will not celebrate the Eucharist in recognition of the day’s solemnity. It is also why hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on this day. Churches remain stripped of all decoration and Saturday is a day with no liturgy. Is there a better way of recalling that the Son of God is dead, other than silence and desolation? Within the silence people find a growing sense of peace and completion, and then the building of excitement as the Easter Vigil draws near.

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday celebrates the good news that Jesus rose from the dead. However, it doesn’t recall the resurrection per se, as none of the biblical accounts speak to this. Instead, they all tell of encounters with the resurrected Jesus. So, Christians celebrate that the power of God raised Jesus from the tomb, and we celebrate the fact that Jesus is alive. One implication is that because death is not the end for Jesus it is not the end for those who trust in what God has done as well. Christians trust that in relationship with Jesus they also will enjoy eternal life in God’s presence.

Easter Sunday is not the end, but the beginning of the celebration. It begins the Great Fifty Days of Eastertide that form a single festival period that is sustained through the following seven weeks.

Local Churches

If you are wanting to observe Holy Week and celebrate Easter with other Christians, there are a diversity of churches in Bloomsbury and the surrounding area that are willing to offer you a warm welcome and support you, whatever you need.

If the following list does not have what you are looking for, or you will be in another area, please contact me. I’m very happy to discuss what you are looking for and try to find a good fit for you. My email is chaplaincy@ucl.ac.uk.

Wishing you all a very happy Easter and a restful break!


Reverend Reid Humble, UCL Chaplain and Interfaith Adviser