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Our Journey Towards Easter

Holy WeekEaster is the most important time in the Christian Year. The death and resurrection of Jesus stands at the centre of our faith. As you read this we are in the season of Lent – the 40 days of preparation leading up to these events. This year I invite you to share in a special journey as we move towards these events.

It all begins on Palm Sunday at 10.00am (Sunday 25th March). This marks the beginning of Holy Week as we celebrate Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. We gather outside St Matthew’s church and process inside waving palm branches and singing “Hosanna!”, much like the crowd that gathered that day so long ago.

On Maundy Thursday at 7.00pm (Thursday 29th March) we remember and celebrate the final supper Jesus shared with his disciples. The name Maundy Thursday comes from the Latin mandatum, and refers to the new commandment we hear from Jesus, “to love one another.” As we celebrate the Last Supper we do as Jesus did: we share in the washing of feet – a sign of servanthood – and then the institution of the Eucharist. At the end of the service the altar and sanctuary are stripped bare as we prepare for Good Friday.

Good Friday (Friday 30th March) takes us to the cross. We recall Jesus’ betrayal, trial, and crucifixion. On this day we have two opportunities to worship. At 10.00am we gather at St Andrew’s Presbyterian church for a shared processional service through the streets. At 2.00pm at St Matthew’s we celebrate the Liturgy of the Passion. At this solemn service we hear again the story of Jesus’ Passion, then a large wooden cross is carried into the church. Before the cross we kneel and, in the words of the old hymn, we acknowledge that a ‘love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.’

Easter Day (Sunday 1st April) brings Holy Week to an end as we celebrate the most joyous day in the Christian Year. Jesus stands among us, risen from the dead. Two Eucharists are celebrated: 8.00am and 10.00am at which we give thanks for Christ’s resurrection from the dead. At these services, as we celebrate the new life that Christ shares with us, we light the new Easter Candle and renew our baptismal promises.

But it doesn't end there. The celebration of Easter continues for another 50 days!


Situated close to the CBD of Hastings, St Matthew’s has been involved in the life of Hastings city for over 100 years. 

One of Hastings’ oldest buildings, St Matthew’s Church holds a Category One designation from the NZ Historic Places Trust.StMs-exterior-Aug2011

At the heart of the parish’s witness and activity is the historic church whose wooden nave was built in 1886 with the reinforced concrete additions added in 1915.  Damage was sustained in the 1931 earthquake but restoration was undertaken, and the tower rebuilt to a reduced height.  More recent modifications provide an effective setting for liturgy and a frequently used venue for concerts and recitals.  

Within such a beautiful building, regular worship services are held on Sundays and weekdays.  Our style has a dignity appropriate to the setting but is, we trust, warm and welcoming to both visitors and regulars.

The historic St Matthew’s Church shares its central city site with several other buildings used by the Parish and others.  St Matthew’s Primary School, established in 1995, is a co-educational integrated school of over 130 pupils, from new entrant to Year 8.  Waiapu Kids St Matthew's provides preschool education in the nearby Canon Drake Hall.  In the large Parish Hall are located the Parish Office and venues for art and craft groups, and many other activities run by various organisations.

St Matthew’s welcomes visitors and sightseers.  The church is open many weekday mornings, for Sunday Services and at other times by arrangement.

Location: Cnr King Street South & Lyndon Road West, Hastings (see map


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