When I think back on my childhood, some of my fondest memories come from holidays. I remember sitting around the dining room table eating turkey on Thanksgiving, going to the annual Holy Week ecumenical breakfasts at the local Methodist Church, and waiting excitedly for my parents to wake up on Christmas morning. While most days seemed to blend into each other in the midsts of everyday life, these holiday celebrations stood out. They were special. Often times we would have family come to visit or we would go and visit extended family somewhere else. These days were markers along the road, giving shape and focus to all of the days in between.
Feasts and festivals are important for us. They break up the monotony of day to day life, they give us opportunities to come together as families and communities to remember the things that are most important in our lives. Life in ancient Israel was structured around the weekly celebration of the Sabbath and seven other key festivals throughout the year which included the Feasts of Passover, Unleaven Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. These festivals helped them to remember their past (e.g. Passover and Tabernacles), celebrate God’s provision in their lives (e.g. First Fruits and Pentecost), and rejoice in God’s work among them (e.g. Atonement and Trumpets). They also provided Israel with an opportunity to come together as a community for worship and fellowship which helped to define them as a community and as the people of God.
Those same needs exist for the Church today. As human beings, we have an innate desire to be part of a community, to feel like we belong to something greater than ourselves, but in our hyper individualistic digital world we have no idea how to do it. As the Church, we ought to be a bastion of authentic community, but it is not always easy. Sunday morning worship is wonderful, but there is more to living a Christian life than worshipping one day a week. Thankfully, the Christian year provides us with a wonderful tool to help us more fully understand who God is, who we are as Christians, and how we are to live out our Christian lives with one another.
This coming year we are being very intentional about emphasizing the major feasts of the Christian year with special services and events. I encourage everyone to make it a priority to attend these celebrations throughout the coming year. Not only will they help give you a sense of the rhythm of the church year, they are a great way to get to know the All Saints family, build relationships, and feel connected to our community.
We will, of course, provide you with more detailed information on many of these special events in the weeks and months to come, but be sure to mark your calendars now so that you don’t miss out.
Sunday, September 2nd, 4:00 p.m. - Labor Day Carnival
Saturday, September 8th, 10:45 a.m. - Women’s Luncheon
Saturday, October 6th, 4:30 p.m. - Blessing of the Animals and Barktoberfest Dinner
Sunday, November 4th - All Saints Sunday and Continental Breakfast
Sunday, November 18th - Instructed Holy Eucharist
Thursday, November 22nd, 9:00 a.m. - Thanksgiving Day Morning Prayer
Sunday December 2nd, 4:30 p.m. - Advent Lessons and Carols and Advent Pot Luck
Sunday, December 23rd, 3:00 p.m. - Greening of the Church
Sunday, December 23rd, 4:30 p.m. - Children’s Christmas Pageant and Parish Christmas party
Monday, December 24th at 4:30 p.m., 9:00 p.m., and 11:00 p.m. - Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist (incense at 11:00)
Sunday, December 30th at 8:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. - Christmas Lessons and Carols
Sunday, January 6th, 4:30 p.m. - Epiphany Evensong and church de-greening
Sunday, January 27th, 12:30 p.m. - Annual parish meeting and chili lunch
Tuesday, March 5th, 5:00 p.m. - Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
Thursday, April 11th, 6:00 p.m. - Passover Teaching Meal
Thursday, April 18th, 7:00 p.m. - Maundy Thursday Holy Eucharist and Tenebrae
Friday, April 19th at noon and 2:00 p.m. - Stations of the Cross
Friday, April 19th, 7:00 p.m. - Good Friday Liturgy
Saturday, April 20th, 7:00 p.m. - The Great Vigil of Easter
Sunday, April 21st at 8:30 and 10:45 - Easter Day Holy Eucharist
Thursday, May 30th, 7:00 p.m. - Ascension Day Holy Eucharist and Dessert Pot Luck
Sunday, June 9th - Pentecost Sunday and Continental Breakfast
Father Eric is a 3rd generation Anglican and the Rector of All Saints Anglican Church in Springfield, MO.