Bleg: how does the lectionary or church calendar work in once-a-month churches?

This is a blog-beg for preachers and ministers of any denomination who preach or have preached in churches that meet less than weekly, and who use a lectionary or observe a traditional church calendar. I appreciate your sharing this with anyone who has experience.

In short, how do you make it work? Do you use the lessons or propers of the day however it may fall? Do you pick from one of the Sunday lessons since the last worship service? Or before the next? And what about major holidays?

For a church that meets once a month or so, do you transfer Easter and Christmas (and Pentecost, today) to the nearest service, or rely on members worshipping with another congregation at the proper time? And if you do transfer the holiday, is it a kind of Lent-Easter/Advent-Christmas service? And how does that work?

Churches that meet infrequently probably aren’t high on anyone’s list, so it would be a great help to share ideas and resources. I’d appreciate details in the comments.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

1 comment

  1. This is actually a very fascinating and pragmatic issue, and the answer will be dictated by the tradition involved. As a “free church” type I have little problem with transferring festival dates. In some cases I might also ask the community to move its customary meeting date. For example, Church X meets every 2nd Sunday. But in December, how about making our once per month meeting on Christmas Eve, or on the Sunday evening before Christmas?

    That said, in some traditions there is a distinction between moveable and immoveable festivals. When I worked for an Episcopal church, the tradition had strict rubrics about which holy days could be transferred, and which days were imoveable. All Saints Day could be transferred to a later Sunday (holy days always move later in a calendar, not earlier); but Easter or Pentecost can not be transferred.

    This issue is an interesting one. Not only for mission churches, but for the array of seasonal chapels that exist in the world (a fascinating topic on its own).

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