Lent at Pender

DURING THE FORTY DAYS OF LENT Christians have a special opportunity to engage in “acts of piety” and “deeds of mercy”. These acts do not help us earn God’s favor, but do cause us to focus on our faith in Christ. Thereby, we grow spiritually.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:16-17

2024 Lent and Easter Events at Pender
Shrove Tuesday

Get ready for a really good time at the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner extravaganza! Hosted by Pender's spirited United Methodist Men, this isn't just any dinner—it's an evening packed with laughter, games, and, of course, stacks of delicious pancakes!

Imagine the sweet aroma of freshly made pancakes wafting through the air as you step into a space buzzing with excitement and joy. The United Methodist Men have outdone themselves, preparing a feast of fluffy, golden pancakes that are just begging to be drenched in syrup and enjoyed.

But wait, there's more! After you've had your fill of these delightful pancakes, the real fun begins. Test your aim and agility in a thrilling game of Cornhole, or line up for the pancake races, where the challenge is to flip your way to victory without letting your pancake hit the floor. Feel the rush of competition and the laughter of friends and family cheering you on.

For those who fancy a bit of unconventional soccer, Balloon Soccer promises a hilarious twist on the traditional game, where balloons serve as the "soccer balls" in a match filled with unexpected turns and bursts of laughter. And let's not forget the Marshmallow Toss, where your aim and catching skills will be put to the test in the sweetest way possible.

This Shrove Tuesday, the Pancake Dinner is more than just a meal; it's a celebration of community, joy, and the simple pleasures that bring us together. The United Methodist Men are ready to welcome you to an evening where every pancake flipped and every game played adds to the recipe for an unforgettable night. Don't miss out on the fun—come hungry for pancakes and leave with a heart full of happy memories!

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday, Wednesday, February 14, 7:30PM

Join us for a service blending contemporary visual and musical elements with traditional and familiar ones. Receiving the ashes is an ancient practice that began to occur just a few hundred years after Christ’s death and resurrection. You’ll have the opportunity to receive the sign of the cross on your forehead with ashes from the burnt palm fronds from last Palm Sunday. Come participate in the mystery of our faith.

Ash Wednesday is an inside-out act of worship. We come and confess and are reminded of both our sinfulness and our mortality. And yet we are given a visible mark in the imposition of ashes, a way of letting the world know that we are people of faith.

Lent is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection, and ultimately celebration. The season of Lent is essential for those who truly seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Because a part of what we learn in this time of self-examination is that we are what might be most in need of transformation. We might find that what might need to grow in faith and discipleship is the church and that the transformation of the world begins with building bridges and gathering up rather than with condemnation. We hope you’ll join in with churches around the world as we seek to be gathered up in Jesus.

Time with God

Each Wednesday of Lent from 5:00-6:15, the sanctuary will be open for you to drop by for a few minutes or an hour for silent prayer and guided meditation on the Scriptures, followed by Holy Communion.

Pastor Bruce will be present throughout the time to serve communion as people become ready. In this way, we set aside time each week to “seek the face of God” on our journey of faith in this sacred season, and with other pilgrims.

You may also want to consider fasting (in whatever way is suitable for you) on Wednesdays to enhance your prayerful devotion.

But fasting or not, Pastor Bruce encourages you to consider setting aside extra Time with God as a part of your discipline for living a holy Lent this year.

Help Fill Easter Eggs

Get ready for a whirlwind of color and fun — we're having an Easter egg stuffing party on March 17th at 10:00 am!

Join us in prepping a treasure trove of plastic eggs, which will be brimming with surprises for the kids' epic Easter Egg Hunt on March 30th.

This is your chance to be part of the magic that makes the Holy Saturday Easter Egg Hunt a day of joy and discovery for our little ones. We'll be filling each egg with all sorts of goodies, ensuring a bounty of delights for the children to uncover.

So hop on over, lend a hand, and let's kick off the Easter festivities with laughter, community spirit, and a dash of friendly competition to see who can stuff eggs the fastest. Bring your friends, bring your enthusiasm, and let's make this Easter egg hunt one for the books!

Palm/Passion Sunday

Sunday Palm/Passion Sunday. One combined service at 10:00 am March 24, 2024

This is the day that the Lord has made. For us. Because of us. It could be argued that out of all these high and holy days, this one is the most … human. “Well, of course,” you might think. This week is a divine and human encounter; in fact, we might argue it is THE divine and human encounter. This is true; but hear me out. This day, this slash day, this Palm/Passion Day is the most human day of this whole event.

"This is the Day" is the first sermon in the Holy Week series titled "In Awe of Grace". Every day is a holy day if you live into the truth of the ever-present God. Every moment is a moment rich with possibility and hope; every relationship is a potential insight into the activity of the Spirit; every conversation is a living word of grace and peace. “Best of all,” John Wesley supposedly said as his last words, “God is with us.” Amen. Yet there are times and seasons that seem even more holy. There are moments that reverberate with the living presence of the living God, and our only proper response is to fall to our knees in awe of grace. These eight days are one of those times. Some argue they are the preeminent days when history, our history, and our understanding of self and God and life itself all changed. From Palm Sunday through Easter, the world is remade, a new creation, and we are blessed to be a part of it, blessed to receive a gift beyond words, which is nothing less than eternity itself.

We look forward to seeing you!

All of Pender's services are streamed live and in person. Masks are currently optional.

Join us live at Pender UMC
12401 Alder Woods Drive, Fairfax, VA US 22033

The days leading up to Easter often have an understandably somber feel to them, particularly as we contemplate Jesus’ arrest, trial, and execution. It’s easy to forget that the week begins with a joyful event: the Triumphal Entry!

Sunday, March 24, 2024, is Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week. On Palm Sunday, we commemorate Jesus’ celebrated entry into Jerusalem just a few days before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion.

The “palm” in Palm Sunday refers to the palm branches waved by the adoring Jerusalem crowds who welcomed Jesus and proclaimed him King. The event is commonly referred to as the Triumphal Entry. Here’s the account from Matthew 21:1-11:

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

From Chuck Knows Church — Palm Sunday. Have you ever waved a palm branch in a worship service? If so, do you know why? Chuckle along and learn about Palm Sunday with Chuck

Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday, Communion and foot-washing at 7:30 pm on March 28

Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday, commemorates the events that occurred in the Upper Room. Communion and foot-washing at 7:30 pm

Good Friday Prayer Walk

A contemporary expression of the traditional Stations of the Cross Prayer Walk to enhance your experience of the meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice on Good Friday.

Please enter in silence, walk and pray in silence, and depart in silence. Our prayer walk recalls Jesus’ passion. Visit each of the four “Stations of the Cross” in order (left to right). You may pause to pray at anytime using the kneeling rail or seats in our sanctuary. Stations of the Cross is a devotional practice which originated in the early centuries of Christianity.

Join us in person at Pender UMC
12401 Alder Woods Drive, Fairfax, VA US 22033

Good Friday, March 29, 2024 from noon untiil 4 pm

Good Friday Service

Good Friday, March 29, The Passion of Jesus in word, song and drama at 7:30 pm.

Pender UMC's Good Friday service on March 29, 2024 was a profound experience that commenced with attendees entering a darkened sanctuary, enveloped in silence, setting the tone for a night of reflective worship. Heidi Jacobs initiated this prayerful meditative Tenebrae service with "Be Glorified," performed soulfully on piano.

The evening continued with the ethereal beauty of "Quia resplicit," a mesmerizing soprano aria from J.S. Bach's Magnificat in D major, BWV 243. This piece, expressing Mary's joy and humility, was brought to life by the exquisite vocal talents of soprano Andrea Quinones, with Heidi Jacobs providing the instrumental accompaniment. This performance was a highlight of the evening, showcasing a segment of Bach's Magnificat, a pivotal work in Baroque choral tradition. The audience was invited to immerse themselves in the nuanced interplay of voice and music, reflecting Bach's skill in melding scriptural narrative with harmonious sound.

Jane McKee’s rendition of "Were You There" on the flute followed, leading the congregation in singing this timeless African-American spiritual, further deepening the evening's contemplative mood.

Patrick King, Pender Director of Music Ministries, sang his own composition, “Lord of Sorrow”.

The Tenebrae service, an ancient tradition steeped in deep reflection, featured the stirring "Tenebrae service for three voices" by Renae Meredith.

In the hushed ambiance of the sanctuary, three distinct voices wove together the poignant narrative of Christ's Passion, with each voice adding depth to the story of sacrifice and salvation. As the lights dimmed, attendees experienced the powerful symbolism of the Tenebrae—a gradual extinguishing of candles—mirroring the fading light of the world as Christ journeyed to the cross.

Trilogy, A Tenebrae service for three voices by Renae Meredith
Direction: Jane McKee
Narrator: Thomas Parker
Assistant: Megan Parker
Mary Magdalene: Julia Jamison
Peter: David Kinard
Centurian: Bruce Johnson

The service culminated in a poignant moment, mirroring its beginning, as darkness filled the room while "Beneath the Cross of Jesus" was sung by the congregation, bringing the night to a reflective close.

Join us in person at Pender UMC
12401 Alder Woods Drive, Fairfax, VA US 22033

Do you need Closed Captioning/Subtitles?
You do not need to be a Facebook member to watch the Combined Service here.

Good Friday, March 29, 2024 at 7:30 pm

Holy Saturday/Easter Egg Hunt

Easter Egg Hunt, Saturday, March 30, 10:30am-Noon

Pender is getting ready for the big Easter Egg Hunt

Eggstravaganza Alert for 150 Little Explorers!

Get ready for a spectacular Outdoor Easter Egg Hunt, where adventure awaits and excitement is just a hop away! This event is a dream-come-true for every bunny in the family - from the tiniest of tots to the coolest of kids.

Here’s what’s in store:

  • Egg-citing Easter Egg Hunt: Dash and dart through the great outdoors on a quest to find the most eggs!
  • Nature’s Palette of Eggs: Dive into a world where vibrant eggs are nestled among spring’s finest backdrops.
  • Snack-a-thon Station: Refuel with scrumptious snacks, popcorn that pops with flavor, and lemonade as sweet as spring.
  • Sunshine and Smiles: Bask in the glow of the sun and the joy of the day with friends and family.
  • Goodie Bags & Raffle Fun: Every explorer gets a goodie bag and a raffle ticket for a chance to win egg-cellent prizes.
  • Bunny Bingo & Bunny Hop: Get your game face on for Bunny Bingo and show off your best moves in the Bunny Hop.
  • Safe for All: We’ve got allergy-friendly options, so every child can join the thrill of the hunt.

Gather Your Baskets!

  • Date: March 30, 2024
  • Time: 10:30 AM - 12 PM
  • Check-In: Pender. Be on time to grab your goodie bag and raffle ticket!

Three Age Divisions: Ensuring fair play and fun for all, with little ones, middles, and big kids each having their own egg-ventures.

Don’t miss out on this springtime fiesta! Bring your baskets, wear your sunniest smiles, and let’s hop into a day of joy and jolly-good fun!

See you at the starting line, egg-hunters!


10:30-11:00 Preschool age egg hunt

11:00-11:30 Kindergarten- second grade egg hunt

11:30-12:00 2rd-6th grade egg hunt

Inside while the hunts are happening:

Cottontail Cafe - popcorn and lemonade

Brief film

Bunny Bingo and prizes for EVERY child.

Bunny Hop Dance

Raffle for 2 local merchant gift cards every half hour!

At noon - final raffle for large, loaded Easter basket!!

It’s free, but we can only accommodate 150 children plus their parents.  Sign up here.

Resurrection Celebration, Easter Sunday, March 31. Sunrise service at 6:45 am. One combined service at 10:00 am

6:45AM Sunrise Service
Breakfast will follow the Sunrise Service

Resurrection Worship on Easter Sunday, March 31

10:00AM, Combined Service This resurrection celebration features music from our Sanctuary Choir and the Pender Praise Team directed by Patrick King.

Celebrate the pinnacle of the Christian faith with us on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2024, at Pender UMC, during our special combined service. Experience the power of resurrection and redemption as Pastor Bruce delivers a compelling message titled “God’s Best Sermon,” drawing from the heart of the Gospel in Acts 10:34-43, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, and Mark 16:1-8.

This extraordinary service will not only explore the profound depths of Christ's resurrection but will also invite you to partake in the sacred act of Holy Communion, connecting us all in a moment of divine unity and grace. As we reflect on the scripture's revelations, we'll journey together through the awe-inspiring narrative of Jesus' victory over death, illuminating the path of faith, hope, and eternal life.

The crescendo of our Easter celebration will be the triumphant strains of the Hallelujah Chorus, filling the air with joyous praise and worship, symbolizing our collective rejoicing in the resurrection of Christ. This is not just a service; it’s a spiritual journey that promises to uplift, inspire, and renew your faith.

Be part of this glorious Easter celebration at Pender UMC.  Let's come together to honor the resurrection of Jesus, embracing the message of hope and salvation that defines this holy day.

Read the Bulletin for more information.

All of Pender's services are streamed live and in person.

Join us live at Pender UMC
12401 Alder Woods Drive, Fairfax, VA US 22033

Jesus' Journey to Bethlehem

Palm Sunday

Learn More


Holy Monday

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Holy Tuesday

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Holy Wednesday

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Holy/Maundy Thursday

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Good Friday

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Holy Saturday


Lenten Devotions

Brian Stevenson, Pender UMC Director of Handbells and Ensembles, presents a series of hymn-based devotions on Wednesdays during Lent.

Lenten Hymn and Devotion, Week 1

The first is Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross by Fanny Crosby, The United Methodist Hymnal Number 301

Jesus, keep me near the cross;
there a precious fountain,
free to all, a healing stream,
flows from Calvary's mountain.
In the cross, in the cross,
be my glory ever,
till my raptured soul shall find
rest beyond the river.

Text: Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915
Music: William H. Doane, 1832-1915
Tune: NEAR THE CROSS, Meter: 76.76 with Refrain

Brian conducts the handbells as well as plays a variety of instruments many Sundays at 9:00 amonline and in person at Pender UMC, 12401 Alder Woods Drive, Fairfax, VA US 22033

Lenten Hymn and Devotion, Week 2

The Second is Ah, Holy Jesus

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast Thou offended,
That man to judge Thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty- Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone Thee.'
Twas I, Lord, Jesus, I it was denied Thee!
I crucified Thee.

For me, kind Jesus, was Thine incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life's oblation;
Thy death of anguish and Thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
For our atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity and Thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.

The United Methodist Hymnal Number 289
Text: Johann Heermann
Music: Johann Crüger (1640)

Lenten Hymn and Devotion, Week 3

The hymn-based devotion is When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

1. When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died;
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ, my God;
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

3. See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown.

4. Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.

The United Methodist Hymnal Number 298
Text: Isaac Watts, 1674-1748
Music: Lowell Mason, 1792-1872
Tune: HAMBURG, Meter: LM

The United Methodist Hymnal Number 299
Text: Isaac Watts, 1674-1748
Music: Anonymous; arr. by Edward Miller

Lenten Hymn and Devotion, Week 4

The Fourth is Beneath the Cross of Jesus

1. Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,
the shadow of a mighty rock
within a weary land;
a home within the wilderness,
a rest upon the way,
from the burning of the noontide heat,
and the burden of the day.


2. Upon that cross of Jesus
mine eye at times can see
the very dying form of One
who suffered there for me;
and from my stricken heart with tears
two wonders I confess:
the wonders of redeeming love
and my unworthiness.

3. I take, O cross, thy shadow
for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than
the sunshine of his face;
content to let the world go by,
to know no gain nor loss,
my sinful self my only shame,
my glory all the cross.

The United Methodist Hymnal Number 297

Lenten Hymn and Devotion, Week 5

“Go to Dark Gethsemane” is a Lenten hymn that spotlights scenes from the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ’s life.

It takes us on a journey from the Garden of Gethsemane where we are charged to stand and watch, to the judgment hall and our denial of him, to the cross where we witness his death and his grace, and finally to his glorious resurrection and our redemption. We become part of the drama of Christ’s passion and resurrection.

The poet repeats the phrase “learn of” at the end of each stanza, charging us to apply each scene to our lives. James Montgomery uses repetition to draw attention to what he considers important about each scene and each stanza.

“Learn of Jesus Christ to pray” encourages us to remember the scene of the garden and to go to God in fervent prayer. “Learn of Christ to bear the cross” is a charge to lay down our lives, take up the cross and follow Christ. “Learn of Jesus Christ to die” is a reminder of what Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

Montgomery, considered one of the most important hymn writers of the English language, wrote this beautiful hymn in 1820. He was born on Nov. 4, 1771, in Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, the son of Moravian missionary John Montgomery, and died April 30, 1854, in Sheffield, England.

When Montgomery was 5 years old, his parents moved him to a Moravian settlement at Bracehill, Ireland, near Ballymena in Antrim County. Soon after, his parents accepted a call to the mission field and left him behind in Bracehill. He never saw his parents again. They both died while in the Barbados Islands.

At age 7, Montgomery was enrolled at Fulneck Seminary in Yorkshire, where he would remain for the next nine years. Struggling to meet the expectations of his instructors, he left the school at age 16 and became an apprentice at a chandler’s shop in Mirfield.

After five years, he tired of the work and took an apprenticeship with Joseph Gales, the owner and publisher of the Sheffield Register. For two years he learned about the publishing business, and in 1794, when Gales was forced to flee the country to avoid imprisonment, Montgomery took over the Register and changed its name to the Sheffield Iris.

Montgomery published and managed the Sheffield Iris for 32 years. He used the Iris as a tool to distribute the 360 hymns written throughout his life. His most well-known hymns are “Angels, From the Realms of Glory,” “Go to Dark Gethsemane,” “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed,” “Songs of Praise the Angels Sang” and “Stand Up and Bless the Lord.”

Montgomery’s “Go to Dark Gethsemane” is still one of his most widely used hymns, most often sung during Lent or during Holy Week. The first three stanzas are most commonly available in hymnals. The fourth stanza, though often omitted today, has been preserved in The United Methodist Hymnal.

Even though the text is now over 185 years old, it has rarely been altered. Many hymns from this era use language that is no longer common in today’s hymns or speech. Hymnal editors typically remove antiquated language and replace it with modern equivalents, but this hymn has remained essentially intact.

This beautiful somber hymn has stood the test of time. We benefit from the art and poetry of Montgomery still today.

Above essay from https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-go-to-dark-gethsemane-1

Lenten Hymn and Devotion, Holy Week

The Holy Week selection is Lamb of God by Twila Paris from The Faith We Sing, #2113

Text and music: Twila Paris.

Tune: SWEET LAMB OF GOD, Meter: Irr. with Refrain