The Church Year
The beginning of the church year occurs in late November with Advent. Advent is a penitential season, which encourages us to prepare for Christmas. We celebrate the Christmas season from Christmas Eve until January 6th, which is the Epiphany of our Lord. Between the Christmas and Easter season are the Sundays after Epiphany. This continues until the Easter season begins its preparation with Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and, like Advent, it is a time of preparation. Lent continues for 40 days, not including Sundays. Holy Week is marked by celebrating Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. The highest festival of the year is then celebrated, Easter, the Resurrection of Our Lord. The Easter season is marked by 50 days of celebration and concludes on the Day of Pentecost. The Sundays after the day of Pentecost are simply called time after Pentecost.
Practices at Reformation
There are several changes that occur throughout the church year at Reformation, which demonstrate the church year has changed. Our baptismal font, which is located at the entrance to the sanctuary, contains water for people to dip their fingers into upon entering and exiting the church as a reminder of their baptism. The water level changes during the course of the church year, as well as the taste of the wine and bread. When in the Christmas and Easter seasons, the font is almost overflowing with water. During these seasons, the wine and bread are both sweet. During Advent and Lent, the font is almost empty. During this time, pita bread and dry wine are used to help emphasize these more penitential seasons. During the Sundays after Epiphany and Pentecost, more ordinary bread and wine are used.
The visual appearance of our worship space changes throughout the church year. During Christmas and Easter Seasons, there are numerous banners, and the space is adorned with flowers and an abundance of light. During Lent, the space is without flowers and left simple and plain. There are fabric hangings, called paraments, which adorn our pulpit and altar. These also change throughout the church year. Each of these paraments contains a central color which represents the primary theme of each season. More information on what these colors signify can be found on the resource page on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s website. ELCA Resources
Worship and the Arts
The Arts bring richness to our worship experiences as God’s message reaches us through all our senses. You are invited to become a part of any of these growing programs. The Arts are abundant, and expanding, at Reformation.
• Visual Arts – Banners, sculptural pieces, plants, lighting effects, and more are used to create seasonal environments appropriate to the church year.
• Music – Vocal choirs, a handbell choir, brass ensemble, a variety of instrumentalists, ensembles, and fine organ and piano music accompany the rich liturgy of the Lutheran Church.
• Drama – Story-telling, monologues, and scripted plays, involving one person or a full cast, are used to present Biblical stories or contemporary pieces for all ages to ponder and enjoy.