Seasons and Scriptures

THE WORK OF THE PEOPLE

Liturgy is a "churchy" word, but it comes from a simple Greek word which means "work of the people." Worship services are organized by liturgy, the work of the people. We believe that each participant plays a vital part of bringing the words we sing, say, and pray to life. 

Our worship uses the liturgical calendar to shape and center our worship each season so that we can follow the primary narratives of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Beginning with Advent--the season of preparation for Christmas--each season is represented by a color that will adorn the Sanctuary and be worn by the clergy. 

We also recognize that there are days and seasons during the year that we need to celebrate and mark in significant ways, as citizens and people of faith. We integrate those days and seasons with the liturgical calendar to curate a rhythm of life that is meaningful and engaged in our world. 

Our Rhythm for

Life Together

Advent - The four sundays before Christmas

Advent comes from the Latin word, adventus, meaning "coming" or "arrival." The season of Advent is made up of the four Sundays prior to Christmas that we prepare for its celebration. Among the most treasured services during Advent is the Service of Lessons and Carols, in which we tell the story of anticipation for Jesus' birth along with musical selections for the seasons. 

Color: Purple

Christmas 

We begin our Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve, December 24th, but the Christmas Season continues for 12 days, giving us "The 12 Days of Christmas." We celebrate the Christmas season through various methods of storytelling to commemorate the birth of Christ. 

Color: White

Epiphany - january 6th

We observe Epiphany on the Sunday closest to January 6th as we hear the story of the arrival of the Magi who journeyed from far away to find young Jesus. An epiphany is an experience of sudden and striking realization. The celebration of Epiphany is a commemoration of the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles, a revelation that opens the door for our movement to go beyond any human barriers or boundaries we erect.  

Color: White

Founders' Day - A Sunday in January 

Each year, we commemorate the founding of our church in January of 1943 by recalling the stories and people who have shaped our community and committing to building upon their legacies into the future. For more on our history, click here. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day - Third Sunday in January

On the third Sunday in January, we celebrate the life and witness of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in conjunction with the national weekend of remembrance and service. 

Black history month - February

Each February, we observe Black History Month in a variety of ways. In worship, we highlight the music of Black musicians and listen to sermons from Black proclaimers. In all we do year round, we seek to understand the words of Jesus through the lens of Black people's experiences as we amplify their voices. 

Ash Wednesday - Wednesday prior to first sunday in Lent; typically mid-February/Early March

Ash Wednesday is the official beginning of the 40-day season of Lent. On Ash Wednesday, we place ashes in the shape of a cross on each person to symbolize our mortality and finitude. We also baptize those who are seeking to unite with the church in baptism. Through the communal rituals of imposing ashes, communion, and baptism, we commit to observing the 40 days of Lent together. 

Color: Purple

Lent - 40 Days before Easter

The Season of Lent represents the 40 days that Jesus fasted and wandered through the wilderness while being tempted. Our worship services during Lent typically take on a theme for the entire season, enhanced by opportunities for communal and personal study throughout the 40 days. 

Color: Purple 

Women's History Month - March

In the midst of Lent, we also observe Women's History Month in which we honor the Divine Witness in people who identify as women. Our WHM celebrations are holistic and broad-reaching, but grounded in worship led by women. 

Palm/Passion Sunday - Sunday Prior to easter

This Sunday begins our observance of Holy Week, the final week of Jesus' life. We begin by commemorating Jesus' final procession into Jerusalem with the ceremonial waving of palms and ends with a cross being processed out of the church. Additional prayers are prayed outside, and those who wish to do so may lay their palms at the feet of the cross while a lone violin plays, "O Sacred Head Now Wounded." 

Color: Purple

Good Friday - Friday Prior to easter

Good Friday is the day we commemorate Jesus' betrayal and unjust execution. The name, Good Friday, can be traced back to a mispronunciation of "God's Friday." The service is an opportunity to sit with Jesus' disciples as they experience grief and despair after his execution. It also serves as an opportunity to honor the beautiful darkness from which God created the universe. 

Easter 

Easter is both a day and a season lasting 50 days. During this time, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Though we all hold various beliefs about the resurrection, it is the center of the Christian year and narrative. During the Season of Easter, we celebrate that hate, injustice, and even death cannot triumph over God's message of liberation and love. 

Color: White

AAPI Heritage Month - May

During May, we honor the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to both our country and our community. 

Pentecost - 50 days after Easter Sunday 

On Pentecost Sunday, we celebrate the birth and diversity of the global church movement. A central part of the celebration is a reading and retelling of the Acts 2 story, in which the Holy Spirit throws open closed doors. We celebrate Pentecost, in part, because we believe the work of the Spirit in throwing open closed doors is not complete and that we are invited to participate in that radical act as well.

Color: Red

Pride Sunday - Sunday in August corresponding to charlotte pride

We celebrate Pride Sunday in August by joining together in worship then marching together in the Charlotte Pride Parade. During the worship service itself, we mark the sacred nature of those who identify as Queer and gender non-conforming through song, proclamation, and prayer. For more on our unconditional love and acceptance of persons who identify as LGBTQ+, see Our Statements

Welcome Week/Homecoming - Sunday after Labor Day 

During Welcome Week, we kick off the new year of church activities. Our Welcome Week begins with a celebratory worship service that serves as an opportunity to recommit to the dream of our founders and cast a vision for the coming year. Welcome Week was create to reorient individuals and recalibrate the church, so we could all continue the journey together in true community.

National Hispanic Heritage Month - September 15th-October 15th

From September 15th to October 15th, we honor Hispanic people for their countless contributions to our country and spirituality. 

World Communion Sunday - First Sunday in October

The first Sunday in October has been designated as World Communion Sunday and is celebrated in churches across racial, socio-economic, and global boundaries. We celebrate World Communion Sunday as a part of our commitment to working to honor Christianity as a multi-ethnic, global community. World Communion Sunday was created as a response to the devastating violence of WWI and as a protest to the nationalist fervor growing in post-WWI Europe. 

Indigenous Peoples' Sunday - Second Sunday in October

On the second Sunday in October, we honor the lives of indigenous peoples who hallowed the ground we now live upon, and we call society into action to find tangible ways to take care of their descendants. 

Land AcknowledgementLong before before Columbus got lost at sea and white settler colonists arrived to displace indigenous nations, the Catawba people created a beautiful civilization on this land that they tended to carefully and sustainably. The Catawba call themselves “the people of the river” because they have always lived along this particular watershed. It is their longest and most cherished relationship. The Catawba called Charlotte the “land of the persimmons,” a plant which once heavily populated our city. We acknowledge the Catawba people are still here and we offer our deep gratitude to the Catawba people for being the host people of this land that we worship on and for their stewardship of this place we now call our home and our church. 

All Saints Sunday - First Sunday in November

On the first Sunday in November, we reflect upon the lives of those in our community who have died in the past year. We also honor those throughout time who have proceeded us as spiritual ancestors who invite us to carry on their good works into the future. 

Where do we get our stories?

REVISED COMMON LECTIONARY

Generally, we use the Revised Common Lectionary to shape our worship services. From the songs we use to the texts we preach from, they typically are derived from that week's assigned readings, developed over the last 30 years and used in churches all over the world.

Revised Common Lectionary

OTHER LECTIONARIES

We also use diverse lectionaries, including but not limited to Wil Gafney's A Woman's Lectionary for the Whole Church. 

A Woman's Lectionary