Sundays before Lent

The very idea of “Sundays before Lent” is an abomination before the Lord.

Lent is plenty long enough.

The C of E has multiple Sundays before Lent in its most recent Calendar. Today, we were caught out in the office by it. The trouble is, people who prepare “worship resources” devise their offerings according to how many they think they can sell and to whom. Might is right when it comes to publishers. Thus, hymn choices for next Sunday had been made some time ago, according to the suggestions of the Royal School of Church Music which follows England’s local use. Today when it came to checking the hymns against the Collect and the Readings, they seemed to bear no resemblance. It is not the first time I’ve been caught out because the C of E in its wisdom departs from the internationally agreed readings of the Revised Common Lectionary.


Time we marched south and reconverted England, I say. Any suggestions as to which dioceses we should take first?


  1. I mourn the loss of Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima. I do acknowledge that the Prayerbook has been revised, but it would have been nice to have recieved an explanation in a homily at the time to explain why this is better for our souls.

    As for Sundays before Lent – Ugh!! Neither one thing nor the other.

    Does anyone remember Quadragesima and what is was four week before?

  2. Wait, wait. Before heading south to convert the liturgists, spare a thought for the overseas congregations in Argyll. The congregation in Tighnabruaich has recently grown by 25% (i.e. — we have two new members). The very dedicated, attentive newcomer said to me after the service, ‘What lectionary are you using? I tried to look up the readings in advance, but you never seem to use the lectionary.’ Slightly bewildered, I said ‘I use the lectionary. The Revised Common Lectionary. Was it, perhaps, that you prepared the readings for Epiphany 5, while we kept Candlemas?’ ‘No,’ said he. ‘They didn’t fit last time either.’ It turns out he was using the lectionary readings as printed in the Oban Times — from the 1929 prayer book. I don’t think I managed to convince him at all that Oban needs to catch up a bit.

  3. Andrew says

    Dioceses to reconquer: Carlisle (BPC was there in 1745)
    Sodor and Man (nice boat ride-take your own motorbike)
    Does any other local paper publish the 1929 lectionary? Perhaps the Dundee Courier has the 1637 readings (do not commemorate Charles the Martyr – not yet dead)

  4. I’d second Carlisle. Let’s get them before they get us.

  5. I can already hear the hymn you lot are going to sing next Sunday; it goes like this:
    ‘Hey, Johnny Cope, are you a waking yet,
    Or are your drums a beatin’ yet?
    If you were waking I would wait,
    To gang to the coals in the morning’!

    Rest of it here. All Scottish propoganda of course.

  6. Come on dwon to Durham. The see isn’t vacant, but the bishop is.

  7. kelvin says

    Well, it did not take long before Jacobite songs started to be heard, even if they are being sung in Canada.

    Stewart, Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima were effectively just posh Sundays before Lent. We must rejoice that they are gone.

  8. Possibly Sundays before Lent have been put in for those organising the flower rotas. Penitential seasons are quite a relief for flower rota organisers.

  9. Winchester is a long way to go, but its condition is similar to that of Durham.

  10. That particular Jacobite song is an audience favourite for me – even if I have only recorded an anglicized
    version of the lyrics.

  11. Had a look at Wikipedia for Septuagesima. It indicates that this and the other sundays where taken out by Second Vactican Council. From what Kelvin has said – posh Sundays before Lent – just renaming them as Third, Second, etc before Lent seems odd.

  12. kelvin says

    I think that the wikipedia article is unusually poor. It is not written from a neutral point of view and presumes that Septuagesima was abandoned by every Anglican on the same day at a stroke. Anglicans don’t do things like that.

    Well, they don’t yet, though may do after next week or next year.

  13. Dennis says

    I’d suggest a couple of dioceses here in the US: Pittsburgh and San Joaquin. Perhaps South Carolina, too, while you are at it.

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