More On the Revised Common Lectionary

How RCL Worship Resources Help Connect Your Congregation to the Worldwide Faith Community

The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) is a three-year cycle of weekly lections used by the majority of mainline Protestant churches in the United States and other English-speaking countries. The RCL is built around the seasons of the church year, and includes four readings for each Sunday, as well as additional readings for major feast days. During most of the year, the readings include: a reading from the Hebrew Bible, a Psalm, a reading from the Epistles, and a Gospel reading. During the season of Easter, the Hebrew Bible reading is usually replaced with one from the Acts of the Apostles.

The drawbacks for using the RCL comparatively with other resources—such as the Narrative Lectionary or with thematic sermon series—are usually outweighed by its main advantage: namely, that so many congregations use it! Congregational leaders can coordinate their ministry with what other congregations are currently doing, and community text studies become more feasible. Read below for further information about the Revised Common Lectionary and permissions for its use in your congregation.

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Historical Development of the Revised Common Lectionary & Its Importance

It's important to realize the historical need for a common lectionary to understand its development. Congregations wanted to connect with people with an accessible, convenient series of readings which corresponded to the seasons of the church year.

The Revised Common Lectionary was produced by The Consultation on Common Texts (CCT). At the time the RCL was compiled, the CCT was composed of representatives from the following denominations (cited from Consultation on Common Texts: The Revised Common Lectionary. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1992)

  • The Anglican Church of Canada
  • Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 
  • Christian Reformed Church in North America 
  • The Episcopal Church 
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada 
  • Free Methodist Church in Canada 
  • International Commission on English in the Liturgy (an Agency of 26 Roman Catholic National or International Conferences of Bishops) 
  • The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod 
  • Polish National Catholic Church 
  • Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 
  • The Presbyterian Church in Canada 
  • Reformed Church in America 
  • Roman Catholic Church in the United States
  • Roman Catholic Church in Canada 
  • Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship
  • The United Church of Canada 
  • United Church of Christ 
  • The United Methodist Church

The Revised Common Lectionary was developed to use a three-year (A, B, C) rotation of readings to incorporate a rich diversity of texts representative to connect with liturgical celebrations. Drop us a line if you would like to share how your congregation is using the RCL in your faith context!

Copyright Info & Permissions

Augsburg Fortress is the copyright holder for the RCL Table of Readings. 

Copyright permission for this project and the planning materials provided by RCL Worship Resources have been received.

Lectionary selections are reprinted from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 2005. Consultation on Common Texts, Augsburg Fortress Publishers. Reproduced by permission.

Scripture texts are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. All rights reserved. Used with permission.