Wednesday, 2 February 2011


The Revd Professor Jean Twaddle was recently elected as Chair of the Liturgical Calendar Revision Committee. In her first interview she told our reporter that her first task would be to change the date on which the Church celebrated the birth of Jesus. There were, she said, many changes, in the future but the first and one of the most important was Christmas. She pointed out that for many years scholars had concluded that December could not be the right date and that October was probably more accurate. She was in favour of renaming the 25th December as Winterfest rather than keeping it by its present name: Christmas. It would become a totally secular holiday which is what it is already for the greater part of the community.

The Church would celebrate Christmas on the 3rd Sunday in October although she favoured dropping that name and, instead, calling it The Nativity. It would be up to the Liturgical Committee to decide how this should be kept but she envisaged the usual Midnight Celebration (she did not approve of the word “Mass” she said) and Sunday Services. There would be no need to have a holiday.

Another controversial change she proposed would be the abolition of Advent and Lent. It would no longer be practical to keep a period of Advent with the transfer of Christmas to October as this would mean starting in September which would cause no end of difficulties, mess up Harvest Festival, one of the very important festivals of the year, and, in any case, she didn’t see the need for it in a modern society. With regard to Lent she thought this was no longer appropriate as people these days didn’t need to fast and most ignored it anyway. Penitence was a thing of the past and psychologically it did more harm than good. She thought that, by enlarge, Confession was a thing of the past too, and it should stay that way. By abolishing Lent it would just be adjusting the Calendar to be in step with modern practice.

She thought “Back to Church” Sunday should become a permanent fixture in the Church’s Calendar to be kept on the Second Sunday in September. She wanted to revamp the occasion and thought that every church should offer a bag of goodies for those who came. What that should contain was not part of her remit but she thought it could include things like some shopping vouchers from a local supermarket, a copy of the magazine if the church produced one, a bar of chocolate, a couple of cans of lager, a copy of the hugely popular Celebrity Gossip for the ladies, a copy of a “boys” magazine for the guys and a bag of jelly tots or smarties for the kids. The final details would be down to the Liturgical Committee.

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