The Lectionary on Singing the Faith Plus

If you think you can make a contribution to the Singing the Faith Plus lectionary team, please get in touch by emailing us.

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What is the lectionary?

A lectionary is a cycle of biblical readings that takes us through the Church Year, beginning in Advent each year.

The Methodist Church in Britain uses the Revised Common Lectionary, which was developed in the 1980s and is now used throughout the world by many Christian denominations. For the lectionary readings used on Singing the Faith Plus, follow the list of Principal Services for 2017 and 2018 .

What is the three-year cycle?

The lectionary for Sundays is arranged in a three-year cycle that is planned around the four gospels in the New Testament.

  • Year A is the year of Matthew
  • Year B is the year of Mark
  • Year C is the year of Luke

The Gospel of John is read each year, especially around Christmas, Lent and Easter, and also in the year of Mark (Year B) whose Gospel is shorter than the others. The sequence of Gospel readings (which are grouped around the birth, baptism, ministry, death, and resurrection, of Jesus) is meant to lead God’s people to a deeper understanding of Christ and a stronger faith in him.

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Each year of the lectionary cycles beings on the First Sunday of Advent. Year A begins in years evenly divisible by three:

  • Year A begins on the first Sunday of Advent in 2013, 2016, 2019…
  • Year B begins on the first Sunday of Advent in 2014, 2017, 2020…
  • Year C begins on the first Sunday of Advent in 2012, 2015, 2018…

What about the Old Testament (Hebrew scriptures)?

One aspect of the Revised Common Lectionary is that, following the Feast of the Epiphany in early January, there are two separate tracks as options for selecting readings from the Old Testament.

  • the “sequential” or “semi-continuous” track of readings
  • the “thematic” or “related” readings

The thematic / related Old Testament readings are designed to complement the Gospel reading. These are the readings currently listed on Singing the Faith Plus.

If the sequential / semi-continuous track is used, then Genesis through Judges is read in Year A, the story of the kings of Israel in Year B, and the prophets in Year C. (The Roots resources use the sequential / semi-continuous readings.)

Short introductions to Lectionary readings

The texts below are designed to be read immediately before the text reference is announced. They have been produced by the Rev Ian Robins, a retired Anglican priest.

Introductions to Year A readings (Word doc)

Introductions to Year B readings (Word doc)

Introductions to Year C readings (Word doc)

Lectionary suggestions on Singing the Faith Plus

“I do find these suggestions so helpful. It reduces the time to choose hymns by half.”

On Singing the Faith Plus, our team provides hymn suggestions to accompany each of the Sunday readings in the lectionary (including hymns that echo the theme of the psalmist). We also invite users to feed back to us more suggestions – perhaps ones they included themselves when planning a worship service.

In the future, we hope to begin adding suggestions for the sequential / semi-continuous track of Old Testament readings.

© 2013 Photos.com, a division of Getty Images

Not just for Sundays

The lectionary offers a cycle of readings for use on weekdays as well as on Sundays. These readings are each listed in the Methodist Prayer Handbook, together with the suggestion of a hymn to read and an appropriate passage from the Psalms.

The same list of readings form the basis for daily online Bible studies, to be found at A Word in Time Bible Study.

The Methodist Prayer Handbook is available from Methodist Publishing.

If you think you can make a contribution to the Singing the Faith Plus lectionary team, please get in touch by emailing us.

19 Responses to The Lectionary on Singing the Faith Plus

  1. Edwin Hird says:

    I get what I need regarding readings from my Methodist Church Filofax insert, but I am increasingly using my smart phone for appointments etc. Why isn’t there a downloadable lectionary? Come on, Methodist Church, at least come into the 20th century even if the 21st is a bit too much!

    • Editor says:

      Hi Edwin – there IS a lectionary available for your smart phone, I’m glad to say. Simply download the Methodist Church app and you’ll find one of its key features is the week-by-week lectionary (with – even better! – our weekly suggestions of lectionary-related hymns as well). Hope that helps.

  2. Ken Hooton says:

    i find the publication Roots extremely useful for choosing hymns, as I have been receiving it for over four years I have a good choice for years A B & C, this combined with using the bible references in the tune books of Hymns & psalms, Singing the faith, Songs of Fellowship, Mission Praise, Hymns old and new & Church hymnary 4 gives me more than enough hymns to choose from.

  3. Stephen Holliday says:

    Hi

    As a local preacher I need to look up lectionary readings and am surprised how difficult and convoluted a process this is on the Methodist website ( in fact I still haven’t found a full listing!). Surely there ought to be a simple list of Sunday readings for Methodist people to find quickly?

    Best wishes

    Stephen

    • Editor says:

      Hi Stephen – sorry to hear you’re having problems. Are you referring to Singing the Faith Plus or to the main Methodist website? If to StF+, you’re on the right page. For all the Principal Service readings, both related and continuous, simply click on the link “list of Principal Services” at the end of the first section headed “What is the Lectionary?” The main Methodist site links to our website from http://www.methodist.org.uk/prayer-and-worship/lectionary-and-other-resources (within the Prayer and worship menu listing).

      • Penny Manson says:

        I’m with you Stephen. I cannot find the lectionary for the day. I’ve clicked on the site suggested by the Ed but the date starts on Monday31st August. So what is the lectionary for this Sunday?

        • Editor says:

          Hi Penny – the link near the top of this page is the one you want – “list of principal services”. But, to be honest, the easiest way of checking readings for a particular day is simply to use the calendar on the right hand side of every page on this website. Click on the day you want and that will bring up not only the readings for the day but suggested hymns as well. I hope this helps.

    • Maudine Morris says:

      Is Bolton the only circuit that has the readings on the plan?

  4. Jason clark says:

    Hi please can you help. I am a bit confused with what year we are in. You mentioned in reply to Brenda that we are in year A but that would put us into 2013? The site says that 2015 which i am needing to know is right say satrts in year c?is this correct?
    please can you confirm.

    Many thanks
    Jason

    • Editor says:

      Hmmm….! I think I was confused myself, Jason. Thanks for pointing out the error. The lectionary year starts at the beginning of Advent each year, and Year B began again on the first Sunday of Advent in 2014. We remain in Year B until the beginning of Advent this, when Year C will recommence. Apologies for my mistake.

  5. John Bradley says:

    HymnQuest, published by Stainer & Bell for the Pratt Green Trust, is an excellent resource with all the words of nearly all the hymn books in current use. You can search by Lectionary Sunday or Bible passage and specify which books you want to search from.

  6. Phil Hewett says:

    Sorry to say that I have only just seen this correspondence. Have you seen the book SING HIS GLORY by Alan Luff and others, published Canterbury Press 1997, which has suggestions from nine hymn books including Hymns and Psalms. Most useful.

  7. Peter Ellis says:

    July 15, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Hi, thankyou for the invaluable effort that goes into this site.
    I have just been planning for my service for 27-7-14.
    On the choice of hymns, I notice that you bible readings differ from the lectionary reading I have been given. they are Gen 29…ps105…Rom 8… and Matt 12.
    have I missed something?

  8. I a fairly new to local preaching in the Methodist church. From the lectionary in the Methodist Worship Book I take it that 2014 is Year B. However in the suggested hymns in StF site it uses the readings for Year A as the lectionary readings for this coming Sunday (Lent 2) please – can I have some clarification please. Also, is there a similar site with of suggestions from Hymns & Psalms as some of the smaller chapels only have this hymn book

    • Editor says:

      Hi Brenda – yes (as you’re later email says) – the lectionary year re-starts at the beginning of Advent so we are currently in Year A. The system can be confusing – we’ve made our attempt at an explanation on the site: http://www.singingthefaithplus.org.uk/?page_id=9520. Regarding your second question, there is not – to my knowledge – a website that offers lectionary suggestions for Hymns & Psalms, I’m afraid, though there I’ve certainly printed materials at different times. Sorry not to be of much use. Can anyone else help this?

      • Lyn Cookson says:

        Although there are no lectionary suggestions for Hymns and Psalms, as long as you know the scriptures for the day/date, you will find that there is a scriptural index in the back of the words and music version, which is very helpful.

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