The Episcopal Church Seasons

The Episcopal Church has many Holy Days & Feasts throughout the year, which, when added together, create several seasons of interest and wonder. Each season has its own unique traditions and elements that weave through a tapestry of worship, reflection and celebration. Below you will find specific information about each of these seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost, and the season after Pentecost.

 

ADVENT season

The season of Advent is one of preparation and anticipation. Together, we look ahead to the birth of Jesus Christ which occurs at Christmas. The name is derived from the Latin word for "coming." Advent is the beginning of the new Church Year and encompasses the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day.  Advent 2017 starts on Sunday, December 3rd and continues until the day before Christmas.

During Advent, we offer .…

ADVENT festival of LESSONS AND CAROLS - Friday, December 1, 2017, 7 pm

This service has become an annual tradition throughout the world-wide communion of Anglican Churches (churches, like the Episcopal Church, that derive from the Church of England). It first began as a Christmas Eve service of lessons and carols at King's College in Cambridge, England in 1941. Later, it was adapted for the season of Advent.  Hearing both the Scriptures and music that herald Jesus’ coming is a wonderful way to prepare for the celebration of Christmas. This festive service features the Good Shepherd Choir and other musicians, and will be part of our Music with a Mission Concert Series.

 

CHRISTMAS Season

The Christmas season lasts 12 days, from Christmas Day until January 5, the day before the Epiphany.  

During the Christmas season, we offer…

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES – DECEMBER 24, 4 PM, 8 PM, 10:00 PM

 

4 PM CHRISTMAS EVE CHILDREN’S PAGEANT & WORSHIP 

This service includes Holy Communion and is designed to appeal to families and young children since it incorporates our annual Children's Christmas Pageant. All children are invited to participate in the Children’s Pageant service. There is a rehearsal for children who would like to participate right after our 10 am service on the 3 Sundays prior to Christmas Eve, during which we provide lunch, try on costumes, and rehearse the Pageant itself. 

Hints:

1) The 4 pm service is our most well-attended service. Be sure to arrive early for seating.

2) Childcare is available at the 4 pm service, but not at the 8 pm or 10:00 pm service.

8 PM CHRISTMAS EVE WORSHIP

This service includes Holy Communion, traditional carols, and music led by our acoustic worship team, EveningSong. Service ends with a candlelight singing of "Silent Night."

10:00 PM CHRISTMAS EVE WORSHIP

This service includes Holy Communion, traditional carols, and an anthem sung by the Good Shepherd Choir, and ends with a candlelight singing of "Silent Night."

CHRISTMAS DAY – DECEMBER 25, 10 AM

Our Christmas Day service includes Holy Communion and hymns accompanied by the organ.

 

EPIPHANYSEASON

The day after the twelfth day of Christmas is the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, which begins the season of Epiphany. The day itself is when we celebrate the arrival of the Wise Men from the East who saw a star and followed it to Jesus’ home to pay him homage. 

The season (lasting anywhere from 4-7 weeks based on when Easter falls and Lent begins) is filled with stories of the spreading of the light, which came into the world in the person of Jesus when he was born on Christmas. You will hear how Jesus was baptized, how he was transfigured in front of his friends, how he performed his first miracle, and more. These stories help us get in touch with the beginnings of Jesus’ public ministry.

 

LENTen season

ASH WEDNESDAY – 7 AM, 12 PM, 7 PM

The season of Lent begins with the annual celebration of Ash Wednesday, when we come into close awareness of our mortality. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” is what you will hear as the clergy make the sign of the cross with ashes on your forehead. The invitation is to be thoughtful and aware about how finite our lives are. How can we make the most of them by serving the God who so lovingly created us?

The rest of Lent continues in the somewhat subdued and solemn tones that Ash Wednesday began for us. We pack away the word “Alleluia” during this season, (meaning we avoid saying it), and keep it buried until Easter. Many take on a Lenten discipline by either giving up something or taking on something else in an effort to be more prayerful or more conscious of the things that distract us from God. Though it’s a somber season, we continue to celebrate the Eucharist (Holy Communion) every week in church. 

The final week of Lent is called…

 

HOLY WEEK

In this special “season within a season”, we observe the 3 holy days of:

MAUNDY THURSDAY – 5:45 PM

This is the day Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples. He also washed their feet as a symbol of his servant leadership of them. We observe this special day with a service of Holy Communion that ends in the Stripping of the Altar. All the symbols of our worship and of Christ are either removed or draped with cloth. The only symbols of Christ left in the world are us. We start the evening with a simple soup and bread dinner (to symbolize the last supper), which is followed by readings and the sermon for the evening. The service continues in our Sanctuary with a foot washing ceremony (for those who wish to participate).

After the service we offer an all-night prayer vigil in our Chapel. You can sign up to be part of this as the season draws closer, and can stay after the service, or can come back at any time during the night. This recalls Jesus’ time in the Garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested, when he asked his disciples to “stay awake and watch with me” while he prayed. 

GOOD FRIDAY – 12 PM & 7 PM

The services of Good Friday are some of the most majestic but also most somber of the church year. This is when we recall Jesus’ arrest, beating, and execution at the hands of the Roman empire.  The Good Friday service includes a veneration of the cross where worshippers are invited to place lighted candles (as a token of respect to Jesus' suffering) at the foot of a large wooden cross, which is placed against the altar during the service. The Good Shepherd Choir sings at the 7 pm service this day.

THE GREAT VIGIL OF EASTER – 8 PM

One of the less well-known, but, for many, most glorious celebrations of Easter takes place on Saturday night before Easter Day. The Great Vigil of Easter was the original 1st century Easter liturgy. There are four parts: the lighting of the new fire, which is Jesus’ spark of life rekindled in the tomb, the reading of five to seven Old Testament scriptures, in which we hear stories of how God has been saving God's people throughout history, the service of Holy Baptism, and, lastly, the first Eucharist service of Easter, when we celebrate Christ's resurrection and the fact that we have been raised to new life with him. Music is led by our acoustic worship team, EveningSong.

 

EASTER SEASON

EASTER DAY – 7:30 AM, 9:30 AM, 11:30 AM

This joyous season of Easter starts with Easter Day, the day of Resurrection. Music for the first two services is provided by the Good Shepherd Choir and brass ensemble, and music for the last service is led by our acoustic worship team, MorningSong.

The season then continues for 50 days. Throughout this time, we hear the stories of how Jesus appeared to his followers in many ways after his resurrection; we also hear what he taught them about how to live, and how to carry on without him. 

good shepherd sunday

There are many Holy Days in the calendar year which celebrate and honor our most beloved Saints. Since Good Shepherd does not have a Saint associated with its name, we choose to celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday, which is usually the third or fourth Sunday of the Easter Season.  The name derives from the gospel reading for the day, which is taken from the tenth chapter of John's Gospel. In this reading Christ is described as the "Good Shepherd" who lays down his life for his sheep.

Later in the season we celebrate the arrival of the Holy Spirit, which we celebrate on…

pentecost sunday

Based on the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, Good Shepherd's Pentecost Sunday is the celebration of all peoples hearing the stories of God’s mighty acts in their own languages. Tongues of fire touched each of them and empowered them to hear. We celebrate this day with a boisterous reading of the Acts lesson where several different people read the Gospel simultaneously in different languages. 

 

the season after pentecost

The Season of Pentecost runs from the first Sunday after the Day of Pentecost, all the way up to the first Sunday in Advent, when we begin another year. We celebrate two Major Feasts during this time: Trinity Sunday and All Saints Sunday.

trinity sunday

Trinity Sunday falls on the first Sunday of the Pentecost Season where we celebrate our Holy Trinity, three in one - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

all saints sunday - first sunday after november 1st

All Saints Sunday is the time we celebrate the Holy Ones, known and unknown, from the Saints who have made history, to the "saints" in our lives, living and departed.