SPECIAL DAYS AND SEASONS
There are a number of special days throughout the year where we as United Methodists celebrate significant moments in the history of our faith or recognize different ministries of our denomination churchwide. These special days celebrate the variety present in God's people, focus on the needs of the world, and celebrate the holy holidays.
Special Sundays in The United Methodist church are...
Human Relations Day
January, Sunday before
Martin L. King, Jr's birthday
Peace with Justice Sunday
First Sunday after Pentecost
Fourth Sunday in Lent
World Communion Sunday
First Sunday in October
Native American Ministries Sunday
Third Sunday of Easter Season
United Methodist Student Sunday
Last Sunday in November
Festival days or seasons celebrated through the Christian year are...
Season of Advent
This season marks the start of the Christian year and begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. It is a season of expectancy, looking toward the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Christmas Day and Season
Christmas begins on December 25 in family and faith celebrations of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth (Matt. 1:18-25) with the giving and receiving of gifts. It then continues for 12 days ending on January 6th, or Twelfth Night.
Epiphany of the Lord
Epiphany is the commemoration of the the Magi (or three wise men or three kings) seeking out the child Jesus, finding him in Bethlehem of Judea, and presenting him with gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh. (Matt. 2:1-12)
Baptism of the Lord
Jesus himself was baptized by John the Baptist. On this day, in the full witness of all those around, the Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove, and God's voice was heard saying, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:13-17).
A celebration of the mountaintop experience where Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John. He became transfigured before their eyes, shining with the brightest of light, as Moses and Elijah, prophets of old, ministered to him. (Matt. 17:1-13)
Season of Lent
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) of penitence and prayer. It is a time to spend in study, meditation, and fasting. It is also a season of remembrance, looking to the 40 days and 40 nights Jesus was tempted in the desert. (Matt. 4:1-11)
Holy week is the last week of Lent beginning on Palm Sunday with the story of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem with the crowd cheering. By the end of the week the crowd is crying out for Jesus' crucifixion. Holy week ends on Holy Saturday with Jesus dead in the tomb, the day after his crucifixion and burial. (Matt. 21:1-27:61)
Resurrection Sunday and Easter Season
Easter is the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus! It is the defining celebration of the Christian faith where the power of sin and death are forever defeated by Christ. It is also a 50-day season recounting that Jesus remained for a time, teaching and healing the people. (Luke 24:1-49, Acts 1:1-5)
Ascension of the Lord
Celebrated 40 days after Easter Sunday, Ascension is the remembrance of Jesus being lifted into the clouds as he ascended in return to God the Creator. (Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11)
Before Jesus ascended, he promised he would send the Holy Spirit to guide his followers. Pentecost is the day the Spirit descended on the disciples as tongues of flame. The disciples began speaking in different languages so all present could hear and understand the good news of Jesus Christ. (Acts 1:6-8, 2:1-47)
Christians understand God's nature to be three-in-one. God is the Creator (or the Father), Jesus is the Redeemer (or the Son), and the Holy Spirit is the Sustainer. Together they are One, a Triune God, distinct from one another, yet wholly unified without separation.
All Saints Day/All Souls Day
At the beginning of November we remember those faithful who have passed on. Homage is paid to both the venerated saints of the Church, and those faithful persons who played a critical role in our own lives and journeys of faith.
Reign of Christ
This is the last Sunday in the Christian year. It is a celebration of the completion of God's redemptive work through Jesus Christ and a recognition that, for Christians, Jesus Christ is our Sovereign Lord. We are to live our lives in service to God in ways that bring healing, mercy, grace, and restoration to humanity and creation.
Other Special United Methodist Sundays
Heritage Sunday or Aldersgate Day
May 24 or nearest Sunday
Celebrates United Methodist heritage going back to John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement.
Third Sunday in October
Celebrates our congregation members and constituents and the work they do to show the love of Christ in the world.
Organ and Tissue Donor Sunday
Second Sunday in November
A Sunday of thanksgiving for life... and the gift of life we can give to others by being organ and tissue donors.
Christian Education Sunday
No specified date
A day to recognize the gifts and graces of our Christian educators and to support the teaching work they do for all ages of believers.
Golden Cross Sunday
No specified date
Health and welfare ministries to older adults, children and families, and pastoral care in hospitals are highlighted and supported on this Sunday.
Rural Life Sunday
No specified date
Brings recognition and awareness to the crises rural communities face on an ongoing basis and offers support to churches ministering in rural areas.
Disability Awareness Sunday
No specified date
Calls United Methodists to celebrate the gifts and graces of people with disabilities and fully include them in the life of the church.
Last Sunday in October
Celebrates Martin Luther and the birth of the protestant church in 1517 Germany. Every protestant church has its roots in the reformation sparked by this Augustinian monk.