Christians are people who believe in Jesus Christ and his teachings.
Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth and became a preacher and teacher. After being betrayed by Judas Iscariot, one of his followers, he was put to death on a cross. When his tomb was visited on the third day, it was empty. Jesus appeared to his friends after his death and was taken up into heaven and disappeared into a cloud.
His teachings are recorded in the Bible, in a series of short books, in the New Testament. These books were written by his friends, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, known as disciples. Christians of the early church wrote other books contained in the New Testament. These often took the form of letters to newly formed churches.
Gregorian calendar years are measured from Jesus birth. B.C. being Before Christ. A.D. Anno Domini, (Latin) meaning in the year of our Lord.
The church has a calendar of celebrations for its year. Click here for details of the changing colours in the church season. Here are some of the main dates .
Epiphany: Celebrated on 6th January.
Commemorates the showing of the Infant Christ to the wise men. In the Christmas story the wise men came from the east bringing the baby gifts of Gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Ash Wednesday: First day of Lent.
In olden days people would mark their foreheads with ash, making the sign of the cross. The ash was obtained by burning the previous years palm crosses from Palm Sunday celebrations.
Lent: 40 days before Easter (excluding Sundays).
Lent is a time of prayer and fasting, showing penitence, observed by Christians for about six weeks before Easter.
Holy Week: Week leading up to Easter Sunday.
Palm Sunday: Sunday before Easter
Commemorates Jesus entry into Jerusalem on a donkey.
Maunday Thursday: Thursday before Easter Sunday.
Observed by Christians in commemoration of Christ's last Supper. This was a Passover supper Christ celebrated with his disciples the night before he was crucified. Eucharist or Communion services are held throughout the year and remember this supper in "breaking of the bread and drinking the wine".
It is custom in England for the sovereign (Queen) to distribute specially minted silver coins, called Maundy money to poor pensioners. The number of coins distributed depends upon the age of the sovereign. This custom dates back to 13th century.
Good Friday: Friday before Easter Sunday.
This is the day when Christians remember that Christ was put to death on a cross (crucified).
Easter: March or April (date moves each year to coincide with the Jewish Passover, or Sunday after it)
This is the day when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ. When Mary and Mary Magdalene went to visit Jesus tomb (grave) an angel appeared to them telling them Jesus was alive.
St Georges Day: 23rd April
St George is the patron saint of England. On the Sunday nearest to 23rd April uniformed organisations hold a parade ending in church for a service in honour of St. George.
Ascension Day: 40th day after Easter
Christians remember Jesus being taken up to heaven and being hid from their sight by a cloud.
Whitsun: 7th Sunday after Easter. (50th day after Easter)
Whit Sunday, also known as Pentecost, connected with the sending of the Holy Spirit to the disciples (Jesus special friends). This enabled the disciples to go and preach about Jesus. Pentecost means ìfiftiethî in Greek. It was the name given to the Jewish Harvest Festival that fell 50 days after Passover.
This is called Whit Sunday as people used to be baptised on that day and they wore white clothes.
Harvest: September or October (Individual church choice of date).
Harvest is the time when farmers gather in the corn fruit or vegetables that they have grown. Fruit and vegetables are brought to church as a way of saying thank you to God for the food he provides.
All Saints: November 1st.
Halloween is the eve of Hallowmas, better known to modern Christians as All Saints Day. Hallowmas celebrates Gods harvesting into heaven saints of every age, culture and walk of life. Saints are people who by their joyful service have extended the love of God to others.
Remembrance Sunday: Sunday nearest to 11th November.
On this Sunday people attending church remember the people who served in the world wars, especially those who gave their lives in the conflicts.
There is a minutes silence at 11.00 oclock, if this coincides with service times.
The period before Christmas, when Christians celebrate the coming of Christ. Advent comes from Latin ad (to) ventum (arrive).
Christmas: 25 December
This is the day when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The word Christmas comes from Christs Mass.