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Lectionary muddle is in the eye of the beholder

04 January 2013


From the Secretary of the Liturgical Commission and National Worship Adviser
Sir, - There is, in fact, no trouble ahead - at least on this occasion. In response to Mr Culverwell's letter ( 21 December): there is no mistake in the lectionary for Epiphany 2013.

In 2005, the General Synod made some amendments to the Common Worship Lectionary for Sundays, Principal Feasts and Festivals, and these were laid out in GS1520A. These amendments affect the provision for the Sundays of Epiphany when the Feast of the Epiphany itself falls on a Sunday, as in 2013. (Detailed notes can be found by visiting www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship, and finding the link "Note on Lectionary (Epiphany 2013)".)

When the Feast of the Epiphany falls on a Sunday, this means it is logically the First Sunday of Epiphany. The Feast of the Baptism of Christ (this year, 13 January) falls on the Second Sunday of Epiphany, but the readings of the Baptism of Christ are used. Therefore, on the Third Sunday of Epiphany (this year, 20 January), the readings of the Second Sunday of Epiphany are used. Similarly, on the Fourth Sunday of Epiphany (27 January), the readings of the Third Sunday of Epiphany are used. The readings for the Fourth Sunday of Epiphany are not used this year.

On Sunday 3 February, either the readings for Candlemas (if Candlemas is not celebrated on Saturday 2 February) or the readings for the Second Sunday before Lent are used.

The reasons for these changes relate largely to the importance of reading 1 Corinthians 12, which is appropriate to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18-25 January). The changes also ensure that John 2 is read during the Epiphany season.

The annual booklet Common Worship: Lectionary Advent 2012 to the eve of Advent 2013 is, therefore, correct, and can be followed without any need for adjustment or alteration.

Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3AZ

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