Excerpted from GBOD.org and MinistryMatters.com
What is All Saints Day?
Many churches celebrate All Saints Day with services of remembrance of saints. It is seldom that Protestants are gathered on November 1, so many churches observe All Saints Sunday each year on the Sunday following November 1. This year, we will celebrate All Saints Day on 11/3.
It is a day to remember the saints – “saints” by the New Testament meaning of “all Christian people of every time and place.” It is a day to celebrate the communion of saints as we remember those who have died, both in our local congregations and throughout the Church universal.
For United Methodists, there are many denominational helps for celebrating All Saints Day:
• The United Methodist Hymnal (p. 938)
• The United Methodist Book of Worship (#413–15),
• The Faith We Sing (Worship Planner Edition) (p. 157)
• Zion Still Sings (See “Eternal Life” on page 227 of the Pew Edition)
• 2012-2013 United Methodist Music and Worship Planner (See suggestions for the day)
• The Abingdon Worship Annual 2012 (See suggestions for the day)
What happens on All Saint’s Day?
- While the names of the deceased are read, candles are lit to signify each person remembered
- While the names are read, handbells are rung. One bell might be rung following the reading of each name. Or a number of bells may be used, some high, some low. One bells is rung after each name, but the pitches and tones are different for each, just like the lives being remembered. These same bells might also be used to accompany a sung response following the reading of the names.
Resources to Learn More
Why do we celebrate All Saints’ Day? (Beliefnet.com)
Who Are the Saints?
(American Bible Society)