Weekend inspiration #1: Church of South India church calendar

Ever since I bought a copy of the 1963 Church of South India Book of Common Worship on a trip to London in 1997, I’ve been impressed by its liturgical quality and how it negotiated various forms of churchmanship. (It has since been succeeded for use in the CSI, but the English versions of parts of the new book leave me cold.)

I’ve praised the old book before, so check here, here and here for details and links, including liturgy portions and a spreadsheet I made for what I’m calling tier one below.

But it also proves helpful for the sanctoral cycle project I’ve embarked on.

  1. It takes the church year and breaks it into three tiers: Sundays and main holidays; saints days and other commemorations; and a way to commemorate others who are specifically named.  This is helpful, because it implies an increasing level of optionality, making the whole scheme more useful for different kinds of churchmanship. (A “low” evangelical can stop with the first tier, but an extensive devotion of the saints can be locally preserved by reaching out to the third.)
  2. The second tier is relatively modest and reformed. The sometimes-inflaming word saint isn’t used, for one. I could be quite happy with if if the national pieces were removed, the lone CSI observance substituted for something Universalist, and if All Souls were added. (That also being a Universalist distinctive.) A provision for additional persons, including Old Testament figures, could be added using the third tier.
  3. There’s relatively limited jargon, once you know what a “proper” is — and its an efficient and meaningful term worth learning, if you’re planning worship.
  4. The third tier uses what the Episcopal Church (USA) and others call “the common of the saints.” Helpful if you’re starting from scratch and don’t know if a particular person or group have quite become observance-worthy. And with a small tweak, can be helpful for funerals, especially for spiritually weighty people.
  5. It’s worth remarking that I intend the sanctoral cycle I propose to be used with Second Universalist, Washington, and isn’t offered as a general resource for Universalist Christians. But it may be so adopted and the rubrics below suggest a way that other churches may modify a calendar for their own reception.

So here are the headings and categories for the three tiers, or tables (their term). No further content, since it’s in copyright, but once you have the categories (and dates), it makes hunting for resources easier. The bracketed dates in Table III suggest alternatives; note particularly the suggestion that Stephen’s commemoration be moved, to not get lost within Christmastide.

The Propers

Bible Readings, Collects, and Prefaces, Proper for Sundays and Special Days, Seasons, and Occasions

Table I

Sundays and Other Special Days of the Christian Year

Table II

Special Days on Fixed Dates (Other than Christmas Day)
Nov. 30     Andrew
[Dec. 26    Stephen]
Jan. 1      Covenant
– 25       Paul
– 26       Republic Day
[Feb. 2     The Presentation]
Feb. 15     Stephen
Mar. 25     The Annunciation
Apr. 25     Mark
May 6       John the Apostle
June 11     Barnabas
– 24       John the Baptist
– 29       Peter
July 22     Mary Magdalene
[Aug. 6     The Transfiguration]
Aug. 15     Independence Day
Sept. 21    Matthew
– 27       Inauguration of CSI
– 29       Michael
Oct. 6      Thomas
– 18       Luke
Nov. 1      All Saints
—         Harvest Festival
—         Meetings of a Synod
—         Dedication of a Church

Table III

Common Forms for Commemorations
Unless the Synod shall authorise a list of persons who may be commemorated in the public worship of the Church, each diocese may make its own rules.
  1. Apostles
  2. Martyrs
  3. Faithful Women
  4. Preachers of the Gospel
  5. Pastors
  6. Teachers
  7. Doctors of the Church
  8. Healers of the Sick
  9. Prophets and Reformers
  10. Pioneers and Builders
  11. Servants of the Church

About Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 44, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

One thought on “Weekend inspiration #1: Church of South India church calendar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>