Note we mark the various seasons with the western Christian calendar (e.g., commonprayer.org ) What Time is It? A Defense of Using the Church Calendar
All Saints Practices Related to the Calendar
We recognize the historic Church calendar, interpreting and commemorating seasons and days in the light of the Scriptures. The basic redemptive cycle of the Calendar is Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, the then "ordinary time" of Trinity season (about 24 weeks). We also recognize a few Saint days in the calendar, such as Reformation Sunday, St Patrick's, and St. George's.
Each Sunday morning worship bulletin is marked by the Redemptive Calendar (e.g., First Sunday of Advent, Second Sunday of Epiphany, 22nd Sunday after Pentecost). We also pray the written Collect [Collection of the Prayers of the People] for the day (from the Book of Common Prayer) and seek to use hymns which relate to the season.
Why Use the Book of Common Prayer for Some of our Prayers? The Book of Common Prayer was "one of the instruments of the Protestant Reformation in England, and was also adapted and revised for use in other churches...and replaced the various Latin rites that had been used in different parts of the country with a single compact volume in English..." [WP] In other words, this is the historic English form, words, and expression of worship in the English speaking Church. While we are not bound to it, and are in no way enslaved by it, we appreciate our historical English Protestant past. We would probably read from Luther's Bible in German, Methodius in Slavic, and the Gallic Confession in French - but alas, we speak English.
Advent includes the four Sundays prior to Christmas. Our Sunday service begins with the Advent Candle ceremony which anticipates (memorializes) the coming of Christ in the calendar. We have three special events during this season:
* An Advent breakfast on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (we eat, then go to a Christmas tree farm and ride horse drawn wagons to cut trees).
* A Lessons and Carols Service on the second Sunday of Advent (in the afternoon) which is rich in music [write for CD of this year's music] firstname.lastname@example.org].
* A Christmas Eve communion service in preparation for the commemoration of the Incarnation.
Epiphany means a manifestation of the Incarnation. In Epiphany manifestations of Christ's glory and Divinity were celebrated in this feast quite early in history, especially the Nativity, the visit of the Magi, as well as the Baptism of Jesus and the miracle at Cana. Epiphany celebrates the light that has come into the world (January 6). It is marked most notably by the Star of Bethlehem and visitation of the Magi. It is an opportunity to focus upon themes of revelation and knowledge. We began in 2006, doing an informal (in a home) party with rich Epiphany cakes and an opportunity for children to dramatize the visitation of the Magi.
Lent is the 40 days (not counting Sundays) of preparation for Easter. Lent commemorates Jesus's 40 days in the wilderness, which recapitulates Israel's 40 years in the wilderness. It is an opportunity to focus upon themes of repentance, self-denial, and fasting. (But not on Sundays, which are always a celebration of the resurrection.)
Easter - Along with an early morning Easter service, we have done a Maundy Thursday communion service which commemorates Jesus command to "love one another" and which repeats the Last Supper
Ascension and Pentecost are highly significant. Pentecost commemorates the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ, on the ancient Jewish festival called the "feast of weeks" or Pentecost (Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10).
Since we are Protestants, we remember the Reformation on the last Sunday of October, because of Luther's posting the 95 Theses on October 31, 1517. We have had a special joint service with other Reformed churches in our area, and an Oktoberfest party.