Stripping the altar

Top: Claudia Dominguez and the Rev. Yvonne Fancher strip the altar after the communion service at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Dunkirk. The Rev. Helen Sam explained that this custom represents removing the old so that Easter can start clean and fresh. Before Easter, there was hope for salvation; after Easter there is the assurance of salvation. While church members moved the items, Psalm 22 was recited. Right: The Rev. Helen Sam washes the altar at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Dunkirk. The practice is part of stripping the altar which represents removing the old and getting ready for the new life signified by the Easter celebration.