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Annual worship cycle: using the lectionary

RCLAs a denomination, GCI embraces the historic, orthodox, (western) Christian worship calendar. As a guide for teaching/preaching in accordance with this annual cycle of worship, we recommend that our congregations follow the pattern set out in The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). The annual cycle followed there begins with Advent in November and proceeds as follows (dates shown are for the new worship year that begins in November 2015):

  • Advent: November 29-December 20, 2015
  • Christmas: December 25, 2015 (followed by the Christmas season that extends to Epiphany)
  • Epiphany: January 6, 2016 through February 7, which is Transfiguration Sunday
  • Lent: February 10 through March 13
  • Holy Week: March 20 through March 26 (including Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday)
  • Easter Sunday: March 27 (followed by the season of Easter that extends through May 8)
  • Pentecost Sunday: May 15 (followed by the season of Pentecost that ends with Advent 2016, which begins the next annual worship cycle)

For help in planning worship and writing sermons in accordance with The Revised Common Lectionary, we recommend the following resources (note: our recommendation is not an endorsement of all content):

3 thoughts on “Annual worship cycle: using the lectionary”

  1. Hi Ted,

    I hate to add to something as rich and historic as the worship calendar, but we have been observing Ascension Sunday as well for the last few years. Gerrit Dawson’s book “Jesus Ascended” provides great insight into Jesus’ continuing priesthood.

  2. Hi George,

    Thanks for your helpful comment. Adding Ascension Sunday to the standard annual worship calendar is, in my view, an excellent practice! Ascension Day in 2016 will be on Thursday May 5. It would then be celebrated in worship services on Sunday, May 8, which in 2016 is also Mother’s Day (a double celebration!). Like you, I greatly appreciate what Gerrit Dawson has written about the importance of Jesus’ ascension, including his emphasis on the fact that the incarnation of the Son of Man, in the (now glorified) person of Jesus, continues forever.

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