Grace Communion International offers an inclusive worship calendar that provides opportunities to celebrate many aspects of salvation in Christ. We recommend you contact your local congregation for specific information.
Come and join our annual Festival celebration of our salvation in Jesus Christ as we focus on how we live out the grace of God.
Grace Communion International does not require any particular day for weekly worship, nor for annual worship celebrations. Each congregation, led by its pastoral team, advisory council and worship leaders, with divine guidance, may decide which days are most appropriate for the culture and local circumstances.
Worship is the divinely created response to the glory of God. It is motivated by divine love and springs from God’s revelation of himself in communion with his creation. In worship, believers commune with God the Father through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. Worship involves humbly and joyfully giving God priority in all things and is expressed in such actions and attitudes as prayer, praise, celebration, generosity, acts of mercy, and repentance.
The seven annual festivals of ancient Israel, which were based on the local Levantine agricultural year, were commemorations of the great acts of God on behalf of Israel—their triumphant deliverance from Egypt and their formation as the people of God, from whom the Savior of the whole world would come (Luke 24:25, 45-48). Israel’s festivals were part of the temporary schoolmaster that pointed to Jesus, but which has now been replaced by faith (Galatians 3:24-25). As a shadow of things to come, Israel’s festivals were neither designed for, nor given to, the church (Colossians 2:16-17).
Christian worship, therefore, is not bound to particular days, but rather centers on the salvation of the whole world in the gracious miracle of the incarnation of the Son of God—the fulfillment of all things promised in the Old Testament—through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:32-39; Hebrews 8:13; Mark 2:27). As a result, most Christian churches hold their weekly worship service on Sunday, not by command, but by tradition, because Sunday is the day on which Christ arose and appeared to his disciples. Many Christians also commemorate other key events in the life of Christ, such as his birth, baptism, transfiguration, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension into heaven, and his gift of the Holy Spirit to the church.
In Grace Communion International, we commemorate: 1) the birth of Jesus during the weekly worship service before Christmas, or by holding a service on Christmas day or Christmas eve; 2) the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday or during the weekly worship service before Easter; and 3) the Lord’s Supper during Holy Week, either on the evening of Maundy Thursday or on some other occasion during the week.
In the church and in Western culture, two events are the most commonly celebrated: the birth of Jesus, and the resurrection of Jesus. We encourage congregations to commemorate the birth of Jesus on Christmas day, Christmas eve, or in the weekly worship before Christmas. We also encourage congregations to observe the resurrection on Easter Sunday, or during the weekly worship before Easter. Third, congregations should commemorate the Lord’s Supper during Holy Week, either on the evening of Maundy Thursday or on some other occasion during the week.
Worship is expressed in a variety of ways, in both words and actions. Songs are a form of worship; attentive listening to the word of God is also a form of worship. Communion is a form of worship that involves listening, tasting, and symbolic actions. Most churches worship in song and sermon every week; some churches likewise worship with Communion every week. The local leadership must decide the calendar for Communion, just as for other commemorative celebrations.
Churches vary on which days in the calendar they choose to have worship services. Following are some events on some of the calendars. Each GCI congregation can decide which of these events to include in their worship calendar.
The Four Sundays of Advent
Christmas eve (Dec. 24)
Christmas day (Dec. 25)
The Season of Christmas (From Christmas Day through Jan. 5)
Epiphany Sunday (The Sunday after Jan. 6, the Day of Epiphany)
Transfiguration Sunday (The Sunday after the Day of Transfiguration)
The Season of Lent (From Ash Wednesday through Palm Sunday)
Holy (Maundy) Thursday
Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil)
The Season of Easter (From Easter Sunday through Ascension Sunday)