In 2016, Easter will be observed on Sunday, March 27.* That gives churches less time than usual to get ready for Easter services. As you probably already know, the Council of Nicaea established in 325 A.D. that Easter would be observed on the first Sunday following the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. (Alright, you might not have known that. In fact, I didn’t know it either until I looked it up! If you want the complete story you can find it here).
If you’re thinking this March date is unusual, it is. In fact, Easter will not be observed in March again until the year 2024.
As any music minister or worship pastor knows, an early Easter means less time to prepare. Some of us have barely caught our breath from our Christmas programs in early January when we finally look at the calendar to realize Easter is right around the corner. Now I’m not talking about those of you who have already prepared your calendars five years in advance and already have the pastor’s sermon notes at least a year early – no, I’m talking to the rest of us, you know, the vast majority.
So consider this modest blog as your wake-up call. Easter is indeed early in 2016. Fortunately your friendly church music publishers are aware of this and many of them have created new musicals, collections, suites, anthems and worship sets with this in mind. So open those choral club boxes early, and start browsing web sites for anthems, chord charts, and congregational songs now. Easter will be here before you know it!
*For those of you following the Julian calendar (rather than the Gregorian), Easter will be on May 1, so you still have plenty of time to plan:)
Brian Brown is LifeWay Worship’s Manager of Sales, Marketing, Events & Business Development. With LifeWay for more than 22 years, Brian has a passion for worship, numbers and history. He’s well-read. He’s quick-witted. He’s worth following on Twitter @TheBrianHBrown.