Religions and Spirituality

The Egg and the Odyssey: Lenten Season Story Unfolds in Somerville and on Facebook

Day 33: The Pysanka Egg at the Somerset County Courthouse Credits: Courtesy United Reformed Church
Day 20: The Pysanka Egg was at the 50-yard line at the Somerville High School football field. Credits: Courtesy United Reformed Church
Day 13: The Pysanka Egg hitches a ride on the roof of a Somerville police cruiser. Credits: Courtesy United Reformed Church
The “Day 1” photo of the Pysanka Egg was taken at the New Cemetery on South Bridge Street and was posted to Facebook on Ash Wednesday. Credits: Courtesy United Reformed Church
Day 7: The Pysanka Egg was placed on the steps of the Somerville Post Office. Credits: Courtesy United Reformed Church

SOMERVILLE, NJ - “The Egg and the Odyssey” - a modern-day Lenten season story that features a local minister nudging a colorful Pysanka egg through the borough - is drawing to a close.

The marketing committee and Rev. Paul Jannsen of the United Reformed Church, 100 W. Main St., carefully scripted the egg's stops and photo ops around the 4-mile square borough.

Each day during the 40 days of Lent, Sundays excluded, the egg's daily location has been posted on the church Facebook page, along with two clues: a passage from scripture and a suggestion of prayer for the day. People are asked to guess the location of the egg each day. 

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Janssen and his marketing committee reasoned what better way to attract new worshippers, or to show off the new logo adopted by the church.

The colorful Pysanka egg decorated with the church logo was made by Rev. John Norton, a friend of Rev. Janssen. Hand-painted with folk designs, Pysanky eggs are a Ukrainian tradition.

Lori Herpen, administrative assistant at the church, explains the inspiration for the church logo which adorns the egg:

“Just below the Whitenack Memorial Window, situated on the west side of the church sanctuary is a decorative section which includes two colorful crosses on either side of the dedication,” she said.

“This style of cross happens to be a symbol that is repeated throughout our church. The symbol itself, combined with the array of many colors, was the inspiration of our new logo, launched in January 2015.”  

The Lenten Virtual Easter Egg Hunt is also intended to acknowledge community leaders, volunteers and businesses with blessings and prayers throughout the Lenten season, according to Herpen.

The “Day 1” photo was taken at the New Cemetery on South Bridge Street and was posted to Facebook on Ash Wednesday. The scripture clue was “You are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19); the suggestion of prayer was: "Lent begins with a sobering truth. Pray for those who are grieving."

The next day the egg appeared at Torpey Park; other stops included the Somerville Post Office on Day 7; hitching a ride on the roof of a Somerville Police car, Day 13; the 50-yard line at the Somerville High School football field on Day 20; the Somerville Library on Day 26 and the Somerville Rescue Squad building on Day 31.

The journey will continue this week, leading up to Easter Sunday on April 16.

All are invited to worship at the church during Holy Week, beginning on Palm Sunday, April 9 at 10 a.m.; April 13th, Maundy Thursday, 6 p.m. dinner/celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Worshippers will gather to gather to share a meal together in Fellowship Hall and re-enact the Last Supper, then leave the Upper Room to the garden to pray.

Good Friday, April 14th, 7:30 p.m. Tenebrae Service. The congregation comes together for a solemn service at the foot of the cross, reading the Passion story from the Gospel of John, interspersed with songs and anthems.

Easter Sunday, April 16th: 8:30 a.m. gathering, 10 a.m. service. The congregation will gather with Christians from other area congregations to celebrate Christ’s resurrection at the Lord Fountain, on the corner of Grove and Main Street in downtown Somerville.

Further information is available by calling (908) 725-4545 or on the church Facebook page -

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