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Thursday, January 17, 2008

The First Rock: Feasting, Fasting, and other church year observances: part 2

The following is a from a series of posts about my new year's resolutions or my "Big Rocks". These posts can be found here, or by selecting the "Rhythm, Reverence and Time" label.

Did you enjoy visiting with my friend, Deb? I hope you'll go by and visit her blog! She's got lots to say about life, homeschooling, books, and Orthodoxy, and I've learned a great deal.

My friend, Nissa, has had some craziness in her life this week and we just haven't been able to get together on a post. But hopefully we will in the near future! Go by and visit her blogs - they are truly wonderful. She has two blogs: Simple Gifts (which is more than just a blog, it also is a whole website dedicated to simple, faithful living - podcasts, eloops, a magazine, a conference and a shop!) and a specifically Lenten blog, which is just a fabulous resource.

As these ladies would tell you, there is more to observing the church year than just fasting, so, I'll share what I plan to do as an Anglican.

But before I do, perhaps you are curious about WHY someone would observe the Church Year. You might find these links helpful: Maybe you need a good overview of the Church Year, it's history, and modern usage. Wondering why some churches don't observe Lent or other holy days? But is is scriptural?

Each year, it seems, our family broadens our observance of the Church Year. We started, as many people do, with taking Lent more seriously and then grew into a more faithful Advent. Having found these celebrations very enriching to our own faith and that of our children, we've made the decision to learn more about the whole Church Year. Lately, we've begun, slowly, incorporating feast days of saints that are special to our family. One area in particular I'm focusing on this year, for myself, is Ember Days.

So, here is what our calendar will look like this year:

Epiphany season

5- Shrove Tuesday Feast
6 - Ash Wednesday Fast, Imposition of Ashes, "Quiet Day"
8 - Friday Abstain (from meat)
13 - Ember Day Fast, Wendesday "Quiet Day"
15 - Ember Day Fast
16 - Ember Day Fast
20 - Wednesday "Quiet Day"
22 - Friday Abstain from meat
27 - Wednesday "Quiet Day"
29 - Friday Abstain from meat

5 - Wednesday "Quiet Day"
7 - Friday Abstain from meat
12 - Wednesday "Quiet Day"
14 - Friday Abstain from meat
16 - Palm Sunday
16-22 - Holy Week
19 - St. Joseph's Feast
20 - Maundy Thursday
21 - Good Friday Fast
22 - Holy Saturday, Vigil
23 - Easter Feast and season observances

23 - St. George's Feast

11 - Pentecost Feast and season observances
14 - Ember Day Fast
16 - Ember Day Fast
17 - Ember Day Fast
21 - St. Constantine's and St. Helena's Feast
26 - St. Augustine of Canterbury's Feast

10 - Martyrs of China Feast
24 - Nativity of St. John the Baptist Feast

15 – Dormition of the Theotokos

14 - Holy Cross Feast
17 - Ember Day Fast
19 - Ember Day Fast
20 - Ember Day Fast
29 - St. Michael and All Angels Feast

4 - St. Francis of Assisi Feast
31 - All Saint's Eve

1 - All Saints' Feast
2 - All Souls' Feast
30 - St. Andrew's Feast, Advent observations begin (Advent 1)

6 - St. Nicholas' Feast
7 - Advent 2
13 - St. Lucy's Feast
14 - Advent 3
17 - Ember Day Fast
19 - Ember Day Fast
20 - Ember Day Fast
21 - St. Thomas' Feast, Advent 4
24 - Christmas Eve
25 - Christmas
25- Jan 5 Twelve Days of Christmas Feast

I'm not totally sure how I'll observe the Ember days, yet. I'm still just learning about them, but I suspect there will be fasting or abstaining from certain foods or activities in order to focus more on prayer.

When I get to sharing the "daily rocks", I'll include more details about this, but until then I'll just mention that I'm in the middle of setting up a family worship area for Morning and Evening Prayer (one or the other at this point - eventually we'll get to both). I've heard about doing this in numerous places, but just recently was loaned a book by my Dear Neighbor (DN for short - not to be confused with DH!) that gave me a good grasp of what this might look like. The book, Living in God's Time: A Parent's Guide to Nurturing Children Throughout the Christian Year, is a great resource to learn about and share the Church Year with your family.

As the dates get closer, I'll flesh out the celebration plans for our family, which I will share here. Generally, for saints' feast days, we'll learn a bit about the history of the saint (how they served God) and perhaps a little a history, geography, and/or cultural lesson to go along with that. We may have a special snack or meal, too. And we'll give thanks to God for the example of that person's life. Another book my DN has that I'm dying to dig through is A Continual Feast: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Joys of Family and Faith Throughout the Christian Year.

(FYI, if you decide to purchase any books I recommend, click through this site to Amazon and I'll get a small credit. Thanks!)

If you are interested in following along as I incorporate these celebrations into our family, subscribe to my RSS (see the orange button under the photo). Then you'll be notified when I update! Or check back and select the "Holidays and Holy Days" label.


DebD said...

I have oft heard of, but never knew what an Ember day was.

Oh, one of my favorites is the Martyrs of China. I have a very tiny icon of them and I love it.

Kerry - A Ten O'Clock Scholar said...

Deb, where do you get your icons? Do you know of an online resource? I've loved the ones you shared with me. Especially the "Jesus with the Children of Asia".

Amy said...

Kerry - your blog is such a wealth of information! Thanks for all you do!