Pentecost in Prague

With Rev'd Dr Karen Moritz on Pentecost Sunday © Ricky Yates

The Feast of Pentecost, (historically known in the UK as ‘Whit Sunday’), marking the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first disciples as described in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, is the third most important festival of the Christian Year. Only Easter and Christmas are seen as being more significant.

Yet in my experience of Christian ministry, most people tend to regard it as being little more than an ordinary Sunday. Therefore this year at St Clement’s, at the helpful suggestion of a few members of the regular congregation, we decided to do a number of different things to try to stress the significance of the festival and make it both memorable and enjoyable at the same time.

Pentecost Sunday is always fifty days after Easter Day and is the last Sunday of the Easter season. Therefore in 2012, it was last Sunday, 27th May. As my Church Book & Desk Diary reminds me, the next day, ‘Ordinary Time resumes’. Thus in previous years on Pentecost Sunday, we have always used our Orders of Service for the Easter Season for the last time, before changing over to the ones we use during Ordinary Time.

However, within Common Worship: Times and Seasons, there is a wealth of liturgical material for an appropriate and different way of celebrating the Eucharist on Pentecost Sunday. So this year, I created a new Order of Service, utilising much of this material, giving it a cover in the correct liturgical colour of the season – red.

Then, taking the theme of the liturgical colour for Pentecost being red, by announcements on the two previous Sundays and by email messages, I encouraged everyone to come to Church on Pentecost Sunday, wearing something red. As can be seen in the accompanying photographs, many people took up the idea with various shades of red being seen across the congregation.

Daniel who spoke in both Telegu & Hindi © Celieta Leifeste

David signing, 'The Lord is here. His Spirit is with us' © Celieta Leifeste

The Order of Service provided for the Biblical reading describing the events of the first day of Pentecost, to take place very near the beginning of our worship, with the reader saying at the end, “The Lord is here” and the congregation responding, “His Spirit is with us”. Then as the reading told of the first disciples speaking in a variety of different languages, various members of the congregation gathered around the lectern to say those self-same words, “The Lord is here. His Spirit is with us” in a whole variety of different languages.

Besides English, we had eleven other languages. For the record they were, Catalan, Telagu, German, Czech, Greek, Russian, Hindi, Spanish, French and Welsh. The eleventh language was unspoken as David, who has a totally deaf half-sister, signed the words instead.

One of the main instigators of these various ideas for our Pentecost Sunday celebration, was my good friend and ministerial colleague, Rev’d Dr Karen Moritz of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Karen works in the ecumenical department of our host denomination, the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren and worships with our host congregation in Czech and then stays on to worship with us in English. As I explained in an earlier post, Karen is able to be licensed under the ecumenical canons of the Church of England, to do a variety of things with us. Thus it was a great pleasure to have her preach for us on Pentecost Sunday.

The photograph at the beginning of this post shows us both wearing our respective red stoles each with ‘tongues of flame’ symbolising the Holy Spirit. However, it has also been suggested that this picture gives new meaning to the concept of ‘the white sheep and the black sheep’ 🙂

Y mae’r Arglwydd yma.

Pentecost Sunday Order of Service

Y mae ei Ysbryd gyda ni

11 comments to Pentecost in Prague

  • What a splendid idea, Ricky. The multinational and multilingual nature of your congregation provided the perfect illustration for the Pentecost message. I wish I could have been there!

    • Ricky

      It was a splendid idea and also great fun. There was a real buzz about the congregation that morning. As you no doubt have guessed, I dug out my liturgical Welsh 🙂

  • Miguel


    I loved reading the description of your celebration.
    However, I was a bit sad that among so many languages you didn’t have mine…
    So here it is. Late, but from the heart:

    “O senhor esteja connosco. O seu espirito está entre nós”


  • Katka

    Looks wonderful and must have been a delight to take part in. How good that you have the courage to connect aspects of the ancient with the present, thus making our faith part of our lives today. 🙂

    • Ricky

      Thanks Katka! Your last sentence sums up exactly what we were trying to do – relate the events described in Acts 2 to living out our Christian faith in today’s world.

  • Hi, Rev. Yates!

    Pentecost is a very special day for Christianity in general. It’s the birthday of the Church, and should not be considered to be just an “ordinary” Sunday, even though Sundays themselves are not exactly “ordinary.” I have a friend in Scotland who always cues me in when they have an open air Pentecost service in the ruins of an old Medieval church in her town. I would love to be able to visit someday!

    BTW, I watched “Wesley” the movie. I’m sorry to say it was a let down. It was a budget-cut special, advertised to be some sort of epic! The acting was so-so, bordering on less than so-so, and the special effects were absolutely awful! I never thought I’d say this, but I actually favor the hoaky 1950’s John Wesley film to the new one! At least in that one, the actors had real British accents, rather than a mix of English/Irish/and SouthWestern, mashed together for flavor!

    • Ricky

      Hi Pearl – I concur entirely with your sentiments about the importance of the Feast of Pentecost. And thanks for the advice about the film.

  • Sean

    Hi Rev Yates,

    I’ve been a follower of your blog for about 1 year now but never felt moved to contact you before. I would like to add Gaeilge (Irish Gaelic) to your list of languages used in your Pentecost Prayer.

    Ta an Thiarna anseo.
    Ta a Spriod linn.

    Thank you for all the enjoyment and information I’ve derived from your blog.

    Slan agus beannacht Dé ort,

    • Ricky

      Hi Sean & welcome to the blog. I did have high hopes of having Irish Gaelic as one of our languages as a fluent speaker is a member of the congregation. However, the said gentleman absented himself by being in Switzerland that weekend. Thank you for filling in the language gap that he left. And please feel free to comment again here in the future.

  • Jack

    Beannachtai agus bronntonasi an Spriodh oraibh go leir le linn Feile an Spirod naofa ( The blessings and gifts of the Spirit be on you all during the Feast of the Holy Spirit )….. Taim tagatha ar ais.. ( I am returned)….. from Switzerland ; )

    • Ricky

      Hi Jack – We did miss you at Pentecost but thank you for your belated greetings in your native language and good to know that you are safely returned.