Thinking Anglicans

Easter date to be fixed?

At yesterday’s press conference following the meeting of Anglican primates the Archbishop of Canterbury said that the primates had voted to join discussions with the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches to set a common, fixed date for Easter.

John Bingham The Telegraph Easter date to be fixed ‘within next five to 10 years’

Ben Quinn The Guardian Christian leaders attempt to fix global date for Easter

BBC News Archbishop Justin Welby hopes for fixed Easter date

Andrew Griffin Independent Easter to be fixed to one date all the time, Archbishop Justin Welby says

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Anglican Primates agree to set fixed, common date for Easter

Wikipedia has a number of articles on the date of Easter.

Reform of the date of Easter
Computus
Easter controversy

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ExRevd
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ExRevd

So “Primates” wasn’t a gathering. And it wasn’t meeting. It was an Ecumenical Council!

Daniel Berry, NYC
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Daniel Berry, NYC

If this happens, I’ll be sorry for it: I enjoy the variety that the current system gives us in the flow of the church year. And I believe the pope of the coptic church is misguided if he believes that uniformity of practice is a good marker of unity of the Body. Uniformity isn’t how the church expresses unity and has never been – even in Counter-Reformation Roman catholicism.

Malcome King
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Malcome King

Smoke and mirrors? Diversionary tactics? Massaging a sore ego? Take your pick.

MarkBrunson
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MarkBrunson

The Easter thing serves two purposes for the conservatives: another pointless demand to beat the people into mindless lockstep with a church in their image, and a way to distance themselves from Jewish tradition. They want to keep their Christianity far as possible from Jesus!

Mr David
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Mr David

Having raised the hopes of buisiness and academia, and publicly stated the Anglican church is in favour of a fixed week, what happens now if the Roman Catholics and Orthodox agree on a common but lunar-based date, or fail to agree any change. There will be strong pressure in Parliament etc. for the UK to go it alone so there will be even more disunity. Protestants and Cathholics (in the British Emoire anyway) observed different dates from 1589 to 1751,could we go back to that? People will say why should we be dictated to by the Pope? Also some may… Read more »

Jamie Wood
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Jamie Wood

I would love to see a fixed date for Easter. Every week (or more often) we pray “Hallowed be thy name” or “May your name be kept holy.” And God would be better respected in the world at large, if we agree about something concrete like this, even if we can’t agree about everything.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Easter is strongly associated with Passover. The Last Supper was quite possibly a Passover meal. I think it is important that Easter retains those connections to Passover and that means using a lunar calendar.

It’s a truly bizarre week. TEC is sanctioned because they (supposedly) deviated from Biblical teaching and then ABC announces he wants to abandon the Jewish history of Easter, not for reasons of faith but because in secular terms it would be good to have the Easter holiday in the same week each year.

Philip Hobday
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Philip Hobday

Or perhaps a small but welcome step to promote unity between Christian churches so we can share the joy and hope Resurrection on the same day.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Third Sunday of April for Easter sounds good to me. It means it is far less likely to snow here on Easter Day. Whether there will be many people left in churches in England and Canada in 10 years to celebrate Easter is perhaps the bigger question.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

To me setting a fixed date for Easter isn’t about ecumenical harmony so much as practical usefulness. Here in Canada I always know that Thanksgiving is the second weekend in October. That makes it a lot easier to plan for, and to structure things around. If Easter was (for instance) always the first Sunday in April, that would give us a relatively stable date for Ash Wednesday, a stable number of Sundays after Epiphany, etc. etc. etc. It would make lectionary design a whole lot easier as well. If this got done before my retirement I’d be very grateful.

Swithun
Guest
Swithun

Maybe this was just a piece of business that needed dealing with and it was convenient to do so now. Whatever the logic, maybe church leaders should not be so complacent in thinking that secular leaders and calendars will trot along nicely after the church’s lead. If this happens, and consequently forces calendar reform in countries across the world, surely in some of those places there will be a push to disassociate school and public holiday schedules from religious ones altogether: yes to a fixed ‘Spring holiday’, but not necessarily the date of the church’s bidding, and no public holiday… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

The ABC was doubtless desperate for something “constructive” to emerge from this primates’ gathering / meeting without proper notice. So yes, a diversion, in part. And is there any value to it? A common way of fixing the Easter date would make sense. But to me having Holy Week and Passover coincide is a good reminder of important things. Such as: Jesus was a Jew He was in Jerusalem to celebrate God’s delivery of his people This made the Roman occupiers nervous So the events of Holy Week were deeply political A fixed date for Easter would break an ancient… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

I very seriously doubt the Orthodox will go for a fixed day, in part because they would have to amend the Canons; the date of Easter has been a huge issue in the East, and still is among the “Old Calendrist” schism.

I think what might work from the Eastern position would be for the West to give up on the Gregorian calculation and observe Easter when the East does according to the Julian. That would mean a common date, but not a fixed date. The latter ain’t gonna happen, at least as far as the East is concerned!

MarkBrunson
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MarkBrunson

Ugh! Another reason to quit the AC-to avoid “McEaster!”

Doug Chaplin
Guest

Michael Sadgrove has a really interesting take on it here: http://northernwoolgatherer.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/should-we-fix-date-of-easter.html

F. D. Blanchard
Guest
F. D. Blanchard

I was not aware that this was still a problem that needed to be fixed.

Perer Yeager
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Perer Yeager

From a businessman’s perspective (and ++Welby is businessman), creating a fixed date for Easter throughout the world will enable corporate interests to turn Easter into another retail event, just like Christmas. I experience no lack of Christian unity when I say “Christ is Risen!” to Orthodox friends who have celebrated Easter on a different Sunday. Let us not be diverted from our real problems.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Thanks to the posters who remind about Easter and Passover. Good point. Let’s leave it the way it is. Besides, snow is guaranteed somewhere in Canada even in late April.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Kate’s point bears reinforcing.

TEC has just been “consequented” for permitting something–gay marriage—that Jesus never spoke to and of which Jesus likely knew nothing at all, because in his day it did not exist.

Yet to distract from this “consequenting,” the ABC now proposes to depart from a religious calendar that we know Jesus himself used and observed!

Who here is being unbiblical?

Who is responding to the culture?

JCF
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JCF

Calendar-juggling while gay people burn: Feh!

Sara MacVane
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Sara MacVane

Smoke and mirrors, es it certainlylooks like that. On the date of Easter though I think it would be a ddep sadness to detach Easter from the full moon, Passover, and the connection to our Lord’s own religious practices. I love the “mystery” of a moveable feast connected to both the solar equinox and the lunar cycle. In my own case, my mother was baptised on her first birthday (23 April in 1916, the earliest date I believe looking at dates from 1789 on). If she had lived tobe 85 her birthday would again have been on Easter. My birthday… Read more »

David Keen
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David Keen

As others have said, we would lose something if we disconnected Easter from the ‘live’ link with Passover. Most of our time has already been homogenised to feed the economic machine, and to be ‘convenient’. We should at least have one thing in the calendar that’s based on the rhythms of creation, rather than the rhythms of capitalism.

Fr Paul
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Fr Paul

Why not fix Christmas on a Sunday then? It would be no different to Remembrance Day vs Remembrance Sunday.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

In the UK, there is a serious push from schools to fix the easter holiday, because when it’s particularly early (as it is this year) or particularly late (as it was a couple of years ago) it seriously messes with exam timetabling in the summer. For universities it’s slightly less problematic because the longer holiday pretty much accommodates all the variation (although this year we’re losing a Friday, ie, losing a day’s lectures for some courses, because Easter is so early that the last day of term is actually a bank holiday). Schools would then fix the easter holiday, with… Read more »

Anne
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Anne

Those posting that they want t to keep the link between Holy Week and Passovoer might not realise that they don’t necessarily coincide anyway – last year was a rare year when they fell on the same weekend – as they are calculated in slightly different ways. http://www.infoplease.com/spot/movablefeasts1.html This year Passover falls on April 22. Having a fixed date for Easter would make planning much easier, but I have found that, since school now don’t have to link their holidays to Easter (but Good Friday is still a holiday ) attendances are higher when Easter falls within term time, or… Read more »

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Fiddling while lgbti people burn. Smokescreen, diversionary tactics?

John Roch
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John Roch

Nothing new here.

The Easter Act 1928 has been waiting for an Order for its implementation since it was passed 87½ years ago.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo5/18-19/35

James Byron
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James Byron

You just changed my mind there, Insterested Observer. 🙂

On reflection, I do think it’s hard to separate the merits of fixing Easter from the accompanying homophobia. Irrational as it may be, one’s tainted the other

Kennedy
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Kennedy

“In the UK, there is a serious push from schools to fix the easter holiday” In Scotland many (if not all) local authorities already have a fixed Easter holiday for schools of the first two weeks of April. The schools are also off for Good Friday and Easter Monday if they do not fall in this period (as they will this year). In the church context I actually quite like this as people are able to attend church thoughout the Holy week and Easter. IN the past when the holiday was two weeks either side of the Easter weekend we,… Read more »

MarkBrunson
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MarkBrunson

Interested Observer, I can see that, but, as you noted, it is an increasingly secular society; it would make more sense for universities to fix a date, call it a spring holiday and divorce it from specific religious observance.

Dion
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Dion

What’s the comment — I forget — oh: ‘abandoning the Faith handed down from the Apostles in tradition to accord with the whims of secular society’. Something along those lines? So _fine_ when it can be used to create a convenient scapegoat of a small and frequently isolated minority. But different and not the same AT ALL when used in the service [allegedly] of creating a more visible unity. Yeah right. Like the Orthodox (the REAL Orthodox not Gafcon wannabes) will change how Easter is calculated. Synod of Whitby anyone? Still no doubt I should be pleased [name-saint] as there… Read more »

RosalindR
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RosalindR

Schools have been in effect fixing the school holidays for several years now. Normally the first two weeks in April. The definition of first two weeks is modified slightly by Easter, but the only time it will make much difference is if Easter is very late. Members of other faiths have to manage their festivals in the midst of school terms.

Tobias Haller
Guest

Well, if it comes to the secular world, here in the US Christmastide begins on Halloween! (It used to be Thanksgiving Day, but a Secular Synod moved it… ) 🙂

peterpi - Peter Gross
Guest
peterpi - Peter Gross

Thank you to JCF

Wasn’t calculating the date of Easter one of those factors that contributed to the Great Schism between East and West?
If so, how symbolic of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the context of the primates’ meeting.
Maybe the ABC can send emissaries to the cathedral the presiding bishop of TEC celebrates the Eucharist of Easter at, and in front of the assembled congregation, formally excommunicates him, the assembled congregation, and the rest of TEC.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Hilarious. We’re all liberal on some issues and very, very conservative on others.

Mr David
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Mr David

There is a “Great and Holy Council” of the Eastern Orthodox churches planned to start in Istanbul on Whit Sunday, June 19th. This is regarded as the most important such gathering for over a millennium. Any decisions must be by consensus i.e. not by majority vote.

One of the topics on the agenda is the calendar.

Does anybody know more about this? Does it relate to a fixed and/or common Easter? Are there specific proposals?

david rowett
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david rowett

I just like Easter’s date being as elusive and tricksy as the Risen Christ. I can’t help feeling we’d lose a sense of divine quirkiness if we help the shops stock their Easter bunnies at a convenient time…..

MarkBrunson
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MarkBrunson

Well, then if any fixing needs doing, we need to fix it to coincide with Passover, Jesus being the Paschal Lamb, and all!

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“it would make more sense for universities to fix a date, call it a spring holiday and divorce it from specific religious observance.” For universities, as I say, it only matters at the limit: the problem of there not being 11 weeks between the start of term and Easter only arises occasionally: this year, term started quite early and we’re losing the last Friday. However, unless universities want to open on bank holidays, which has all sorts of implications for contracts of employment, the floating Easter is problematic in years like this when Good Friday strays into March. I’m not… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Agree with Mark Brunson.

Let’s make Easter align more closely with Passover, not less!

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

My word…are universities in the UK so devoid of intelligence that they can’t deal with a floating holiday? Here in the US, spring break occurs whenever a specific school wants it to; if they give time off for Easter, it’s a separate set of dates (and usually is just a long weekend–Friday to Monday at the longest)…and this in a country where the distances to travel home for a holiday are generally far greater than in the UK. I’d note we also deal with a traditional long weekend in the fall as we celebrate Thanksgiving. (Yes, it’s always the fourth… Read more »

Anne
Guest
Anne

If we leave things as they are and everyone outside the church moves to having a fixed break, as they did with the Whitsun/ Spring Break, my guess is that we will also lose the Good Friday holiday, which will make it much more difficult for people to observe it. I am for fixing the date, so that we at least keep it in public view as an event. Whitsun is now almost unknown, even to many churchgoers, it seems to me.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Interested Observer: ‘Can someone point to an English LEA which is doing a “fixed two weeks and pick the bank holidays up as they arise” scheme? Gloucestershire tried it a couple of years ago but has since gone back to the previous scheme and in most authorities this term ends on Thursday March 24.’ I have no idea what English LEAs are doing, but Thinking Anglicans is not just about England. Here in Edmonton, Alberta our schools have taken ‘spring break’ for years; students get Good Friday and Easter Monday as stat holidays, but the rest of spring break is… Read more »

Peter Owen
Guest

Local to me, the five Merseyside councils (Sefton, Liverpool, Wirral, Knowsley and St Helens) have their school spring break in the first two full weeks of April. So this year their spring term ends on 1 April.

The same is true of some (but not all) the Greater Manchester councils.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

‘Local to me, the five Merseyside councils (Sefton, Liverpool, Wirral, Knowsley and St Helens) have their school spring break in the first two full weeks of April. So this year their spring term ends on 1 April.’ Peter Owen.

I am afraid I do not understand this,Peter.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

‘Hilarious. We’re all liberal on some issues and very, very conservative on others.’ Tim Chesterton.

I think the point is not ‘liberalism’ (whatever that may be), but human suffering and injustice on the one hand, and the possibility of human relationship, flourishing and creativity on the other.

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

Perhaps there’s a Good Friday holiday in other places, not here. We work, attend Good Friday, and even fast. I attend an evening service that runs from way before I’d usually get up until near time for me to go to work, and still manage it.

Mr David
Guest
Mr David

Re school holidays in Merseyside the picture is more complex. The councils set dates, but schools may differ. I know Oldershaw School, for example, in Wirral finsh on Maundy Thursday, March 24th and return on April 11th. Not sure how widespread this is in Merseyside, but the website for Cheshire East gives their school holidays as the first two weeks in April and also provides a helpful link to a spreadsheet with the dates for individual schools. Out of 151 schools in Cheshire East only 37 are following the council-appointed dates, the other 114 break up for 2 weeks on… Read more »

Anne
Guest
Anne

It’s to do with the public exams – GCSEs and A levels – which take place early in the summer term,Pat. I’m married to a teacher, and it can be very difficult to plan the final weeks of teaching and revision if Easter is very early or late. Schools can now fix their spring holiday without regard to Easter, but Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays, so if the two to three week holiday isn’t built around Easter it can mean very disrupted timetables at a rather vital time. If we ignore the desire to fix a Spring… Read more »

Peter Owen
Guest

Mr David

Councils can only enforce term dates on the schools that they control. So far as I know academies (such as Oldershaw School) and free schools can do what they like.

Laurence Roberts

What don’t you understand. I was giving examples of councils that ignore when Easter is when setting school term dates.