All about Liturgical Colors

by UMC Article on June 26, 2023

  • Purple, representing both royalty and penitence, is traditionally used during Advent and Lent.
  • Blue symbolizes hope and may also be used during Advent.
  • White and gold are used at Christmas and Easter to symbolize joy and festivities.
  • Red symbolizes the color of fire to represent the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and times when the work of the Holy Spirit is emphasized. During Holy Week it represents the blood of Christ. Red is also used for ordinations, church anniversaries and civil observances such as Memorial Day and Thanksgiving.
  • Green represents growth and is used during Ordinary Time (the season after Epiphany and the season after Pentecost.)

Let’s start with a word about liturgical colors. You can see listed here that the official color of the long season of Ordinary Time is green. This makes sense for lots of reasons: Ordinary Time is about growing in our faith, about accepting the gifts that we’ve been given, and producing the fruit not just as individual Christians but as the body of Christ. Green is the color of growth and of fruitfulness. There are other reasons why the season claims the color green. Perhaps you and your team can come up with some more and use them to inform the congregation who may never have given thought to why the green paraments are used throughout this season.

We started here, however, because there are those who get bored with a single color in this long season that runs from Pentecost through Reign of Christ/Christ the King Sunday at the end of November. There are so many colors, so much beauty in worship art and God’s creation, why use only one color for this long season? Isn’t this the season after Pentecost? Why can’t we use red for at least a part of the season?

The season of Ordinary Time (or the Sundays after Pentecost—there is no “Pentecost Season”) calls for creativity and artistry. Even if you are using green as a foundational color, there is no reason why you can’t bring in a host of other colors over the season. Green represents life, and life is colorful. So, use more colors; use both/and; use a whole palette of colors to bring to life the worship in Ordinary Time. Think ahead for changing series or themes and find ways to enhance the liturgy with visual expressions of color, not just in paraments, but in banners, worship centers, projected or posted images, and colors. There are ways to move beyond the plain green altar or pulpit fall. Call on artists of all sorts to enhance the space.

Adapted from

Chuck Knows Church — Episode 1 – LITURGICAL COLORS. Ever walk into your Sunday morning worship service and realize the colors have changed around the sanctuary? That’s why Chuck is talking about Liturgical Colors on his FIRST SHOW!

Tags: sanctuary, chuck knows church, liturgical colors, faith, white, christ, hope, advent, joy, gifts, growth, gold, blood, lent, green, blue, epiphany, pentecost, purple, red, royalty, penitence, ordinary time


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