The Great Vigil of Easter is the primary liturgy of the Church. It is the liturgy toward which all other feasts point and it is the liturgy from which all other feasts derive.
In this liturgy we gather around the Word, tell the stories of God’s saving acts of grace toward his people, and celebrate with newly baptized Christians the first proclamation of the resurrection.
While some would say that the time for planning the service begins even in the fall –by talking about it in sermons, forums, etc., getting your ducks in a row right now is vital.
Some questions to ask:
Who is building and tending to the fire? This can be a fire outdoors or a fire pit close to the church. You enough hand candles for everyone in the congregation.
Who is singing the Exsultet? This is the deacon’s prerogative is you have one. Otherwise the priest or a cantor can take this role. It’s one of the most important hymns sung during the year so it’s important that it be done well. Music, Liturgy, and the Arts is offering a workshop/master class on singing the Exsultet on Saturday, April 6. The workshop is free but we would appreciate your registering. https://singing-exsultet.eventbrite.com
Which scripture readings will be read? The Book of Common Prayer requires three, including the Deliverance at the Red Sea. You might want all nine!
What responses are sung after each reading? There are appointed psalms or canticles in the Book of Common Prayer and you must decide how those are to be sung. Alternately, a hymn or a Taize chant could be sung.
Will there be baptisms? If there is no baptism, the Renewal of Baptismal Vows must follow.
There are many considerations for an effective Easter Vigil. Music, Liturgy, and the Arts has resources to help you in planning this great feast of the Church (https://www.liturgyandmusic.com/1481-2/). Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let us know what has worked well in your parish.