Credit: Marianne Stokes, Madonna & Child

Credit: Marianne Stokes, Madonna & Child

Sacred Seasons of Worship

In order to establish special times of reflection throughout the year the Christian Church has long followed an annual cadence of worship which follows the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven."  Ecclesiastes 3:1

Each season in the liturgical year is focused on key periods in Jesus's life. The annual liturgical year is made up of: AdventChristmasEpiphany, LentHoly Week & Easter, and finally Pentecost. The time between seasons is know as Ordinary Time. Each of the Church Seasons has their own traditions, special days and unique ways to prepare for worship and experience a deeper understanding of the Christian journey.

seasons of the 2017/18 Church year:

  • Advent : Sunday Dec 3rd, 2017 - Sunday Dec 24th, 2017
  • Christmas : Monday Dec 25th, 2017 - Friday Jan 5th, 2018
  • Epiphany : Saturday Jan 6th 2018 - Tuesday Feb 13th 2018
  • Lent : Wednesday Feb 14th, 2018 - Thursday Mar 29th, 2018
  • Holy Week : Sunday March 25th - Saturday March 31st, 2018
  • Easter : Sunday April 1st, 2018 - Saturday May 19th, 2018
  • Pentecost : Sunday May 20th

Please join us and experience the annual Christian rhythm, incorporating meaningful aspects of the Church seasons into your personal and family traditions. The seasons of the Church year are also a wonderful way to help children become aware of their faith traditions.

Explore all the Church Seasons

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Advent

The season of Advent marks the start of the Christian year, and is a season of expectation and preparation as the Church looks forward to celebrating the birth of Christ.

Advent is a special season of expectation and excitement. It begins approximately at the end of November each year and lasts until Christmas, some four weeks later.

The word "Advent" comes from the Latin and means "coming." Christ Jesus is coming, and Advent is a time to prepare for His arrival. The Church services, ancient traditions and preparations through the season of Advent is a powerful reminder of the real meaning of the season.

Advent falls at the darkest time of the year, and the natural symbols of darkness and light are powerfully at work through the seasons of Advent and Christmas. The progressive lighting of candles on the Advent wreath, acts as a liturgical Advent calendar, and is a valuable way of involving children in the liturgy.

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Christmas

Christmas, the celebration of Christ's coming among us, the incarnation, is one of the two poles of the Christian year, along with the narrative of his death and resurrection.

The season of Christmas begins on December 25th each year and last for twelve days.

Christmas is much more than simply the celebration of Jesus' birth: it reminds us of the central truth of 'the word becoming flesh and dwelling among us' (John 1.14), fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 7.14 that the virgin will conceive and bear a Son, who will be called Emmanuel, 'God is with us'.

One of the challenges for the Church is to continue to celebrate the season of Christmas after the secular world has turned its thoughts elsewhere. As Christians we have an opportunity to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas.

Christmas at Christ Church is a happy time, focused on God, families, hope for the future and our Christmas faith. Christ Church has been a part of Stouffville's Christmas traditions for over 140 years.

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epiphany

The Twelfth night of Christmas marks a visit to the infant Jesus by the three Magi, or Wise men, this is the start of Epiphany.

The word 'Epiphany' comes from Greek and means "to show", referring to Jesus being revealed or manifest to the world. 

Epiphany explores other ways in which Christ reveals himself to be the Son of God: the celebration of the baptism of Christ by John, when the voice from heaven declared Jesus to be God's beloved Son; and Jesus first miracle, when he turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana.

Epiphany is also marked by the Feast of the Presentation in early February. This traditional service makes use of a procession of candles as part of the liturgy, and so the Feast is often known as Candlemas.

The season of Epiphany runs until Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. The last Sunday of Epiphany is celebrated as Transfiguration Sunday.

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lent & holy week

The season of Lent is traditionally marked by self-examination, fasting and preparation for Easter. It is a time when Christians reflect on the biblical account of Jesus in the wilderness.

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, the most solemn time of the Christian Year. Ashes are an ancient sign of penitence: from the Middle Ages it became the custom to begin Lent by marking Christians with the sign of the cross in ash on their foreheads.

Lent is a time for prayer and self-sacrifice. It is a season of spiritual preparation in which we remember Christ’s temptation, suffering, and death.

As Holy Week approaches, the atmosphere of the season darkens. Bible readings begin to anticipate the story of Christ's suffering and death. This is the beginning of a journey of the imagination which takes us to the Upper Room for the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, through Jesus' betrayal, trial and crucifixion on Good Friday.

Easter Eve, or Holy Saturday, is a day of desolation. Through the Easter Vigil, the Church gathers to call to mind the mighty works of God through reading of scripture, in preparation for the proclamation of the resurrection, which marks the beginning of the celebration of Easter.

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easter

Easter is the single most important festival in the Christian calendar. Easter joyfully celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, three days after he was executed. During Easter we travel to the very core of Christianity.

As the Church transitions from the somber period of Lent to Easter we pivot from a season of solemn reflection to one of great celebration.  Easter bears witness to God's enduring promise of eternal life and redemption. The season of Easter is a time of hope and assurance. It is humanity's turning point from destruction to glory and salvation.

Easter Sunday services remember the resurrection of Christ with special Easter services, which includes special prayers, litanies, psalms and hymns. Easter is a real experience of new life for Christians, a passing from darkness to light which offers hope to all the faithful. 

The season of Easter lasts for fifty days, from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.

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pentecost

Pentecost is the festival when Christians commemorate the gifts of the Holy Spirit, when it descended upon the Apostles and other followers fifty days after Jesus Ascension to heaven.

Pentecost is regarded as the birth of the Christian church by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the start of the church's mission to the world.

Pentecost is celebrated on the Sunday exactly fifty days after Easter Sunday. The season after Pentecost, according to the calendar of the church year, begins on the Monday following Pentecost, and continues through most of the summer and autumn. It may include as many as twenty-eight Sundays, depending on the date of Easter. This includes Trinity Sunday which is the First Sunday after Pentecost.