Which Series Should I Follow?

During the time after Trinity Sunday (eight weeks after Easter) and before Advent (four weeks before Christmas), the lectionary has two series, complementary and semi-continuous. There is no right or wrong way to use the readings. Both series use the same New Testament lesson. One way is to follow the series that your denomination or congregation uses. Another way is to use one series in the morning and another series in the evening (if you have time to do both). It is better to read one or the other series consistently than to try to do both and give up because of the time commitment. If you are not sure which to use, follow the complementary series.

The complementary readings are linked more closely with the Sunday readings, and the gospel focus is the main basis for the selection of the other Sunday lessons. The Sunday lectionaries for these denominations use the complementary series: Roman Catholic, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, The Mennonites, and the Church of the Brethern.

The semi-continuous series are chosen around related biblical themes or stories, so aren't in biblical order. They are often selected from the same neighborhood in the Bible, but not always, particularly when dealing with broader topics. The Reformed Church in America and the United Methodist Church use the semi-continuous series.

These denominations using the Sunday lectionary explicitly allow for the use of either series: Presbyterian, Evangelical Lutheran, United Church of Christ, African Methodist Episcopal, and Episcopal. Check with your pastor or church office to find out which series is being used.

These denominations also use the Sunday Revised Common Lectionary, however, we haven't been able to determine whether they use one series or the other or allow for both: American Baptist Churches USA, Christian Fellowship of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and the Christian Reformed Church in North America.