Wikipedia sayeth in vague generalities:

In Evangelical churches, where a lesser degree of emphasis on the liturgical year is generally placed, Pentecost may indeed be one of the greatest celebrations in the year. In many other cases though, Pentecost may be a holiday ignored in these churches. Perhaps ironically, this includes many Pentecostal congregations. Christians of these traditions may be surprised to learn of the significance assigned to the holiday by others, and in fact in many evangelical churches in the United States, secular Mother's Day is more celebrated than the ancient and biblical feast of Pentecost

Specifically, how do Evangelicals who do celebrate Pentecost do it? Pentecost is one of the only two holy days that not only is a carry over from the Jewish tradition, but also a huge gigantic and utterly important point in the history of the Christian Church.

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    Sadly, my Baptist church thought I was crazy for trying to work it into the sermon. Part of why I moved more liturgical... In my Episcopalian church, we all wear red and do our "Worship and Work" Sunday. I'm tempted to bring in a birthday cake for the church this year, though. Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 16:38
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    @AffableGeek that's a great idea, we need to do something at our church too. I've got to see if Pentecost coincides with "donut sunday"
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 16:41
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    ...Donut Sunday being one of the lesser feasts, celebrated on all holy days ending in "y" Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 16:42
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    It's a shame, too, since it is pretty much the third biggest Christian holy day behind Nativity and Pascha.
    – user304
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 20:57
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    You guys need to find a new evangelical church. My evangelical church has an awesome liturgical calendar! :)
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Apr 20, 2012 at 17:38

1 Answer 1


Pentecost, for Christians, marks the birth of "the Church." For evangelicals, however, church history generally means when their local congregation was founded. As a body of believers with no history, by design, historical holidays (I.e. Anything not explicitly about Jesus) fall to the wayside.

From an historic viewpoint, the Church Universal is an amazing institution. Like all institutions, however, tradition tends to shape it, once it gets going, for better or for worse.

Evangelicals tend to be highly distrustful of "tradition," as their origin stems from a reaction to the "religious maturation," aka liberal theology, of the late 1800s. In contrast, a group of scholars wrote a book called The Fundamentals, in which tradition was eschewed for a sola fide / sola scriptura basis. While fundamentalists sought to escape the culture, evangelicals intended to engage it- but in both cases, this reaction was grounded in an anti-establishment fervor. We basically threw the baby out with the bathwater. Anything "traditional," including liturgies, lectionaries, and church "holidays" were all suspect. Christmas and Easter survive, as much out of their popularity as anything else - but pretty much everything else was jettisoned.

(By the way, in my seminary, I remember a preaching class in which the professor had to remind us that Easter really was a special day and needed to be treated as such. That such an admonition needed to be said speaks volumes about what we think. )

As a result, Pentecost tends to be forgotten the "lower" church one goes. It's sad, because Pentecost is probably the most significant holiday after Easter and Christmas, and it's 100% scriptural. (indeed, it even prefers Christmas and Easter in the Bible!) Still, there's just too much tradition against it now for things to change.

As a side note, my Episcopalian church celebrates Pentecost as "Worship and Work Sunday." We are all invited to wear red (the liturgical color) and spruce up the church grounds.

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