Back in the 1980s I remember Archbishop Robert Runcie being seriously embarrassed at General Synod by a seemingly innocuous question. The Synod, being modelled on Parliament, has a session of "questions to the Archbishop", at which Bob, who was a bit of a politician, used to enjoy showing off, but on this occasion he was wrong-footed. "Can the Archbishop tell us when the Christian Year begins?" he was asked, and his response came down to, "It depends which calendar you use." The universal tradition of the Church has been that the church year begins with the First Sunday of Advent, which in England we tend to call Advent Sunday, and which is the Sunday nearest to 30th November (unless you are in Milan, which has a six-week Advent). That's what we were all brought up with, nice and simple, but when the Church of England published its new service book in 1980, the Alternative Service Book, we found that there were now nine Sundays before Christmas,
It was, of course, an attempt to resolve the age-old calendrical issue of resolving fixed dates with movable feasts; because Easter moves around (within a range of a month) there are variable numbers of Sundays in the ordinary times of the year, the spaces between Epiphany and Lent, and Whitsun and Advent. The Anglican revisers of the 1970s thought that counting back from Christmas was going to make the content of those Sundays somehow more coherent, but it didn't in fact help sorting out the fact that some Sundays hardly ever happened. The old Book of Common Prayer had the opposite problem, that there weren't enough Sundays provided "after Trinity", and so you had to use the unused ones after Epiphany to make up for them. In ASB you missed out Sundays, so that the tenth Sunday before Christmas became the Last Sunday after Pentecost, and then the new year started with the Ninth Sunday before Christmas. But, the liturgical colour (the colour of vestments, altar frontals and so on) remained green, because these were still essentially ordinary Sundays. It only turned purple in Advent.
The revisers of Common Worship had another go at this conundrum. A notion had grown up that you could find a common theme in the Sundays in November, and that these might constitute a new season, called "Sundays of the Kingdom". So, you keep the first Sunday in November as "All Saints' Sunday" because lots of parishes would already observe All Saints' Day on the nearest Sunday. Then the second Sunday in November is Remembrance Sunday in England, and virtually all Anglican churches pay some sort of attention to that. The fourth Sunday in November, meanwhile, is, in the Roman Catholic calendar, the Solemnity of Christ the King, an observance that had gained widespread observance in Anglo-Catholic parishes. This just left the rather dull third Sunday to be changed, and so it was that the "Kingdom Season" was born. Someone also had the bright idea of using red vestments then, which are, of course, often the nicest in any church, and get very little use. The trouble is that we try to teach the children what the colours mean, and red is already two things, red for the blood of Christ and the martyrs, and red for the flames of the Holy Spirit, and now you were adding in a third red, and why exactly? Why red for the Kingdom? Because the decor in Buckingham Palace is largely red and gold? Or why?
The main issue with the Kingdom Season, though, is simply that it sets the Church of England apart from the rest of Western Christendom. It is an Anglican separatist innovation, something which we have pledged ourselves on numerous ecumenical occasions not to do. Of course, many of the people who promoted it don't care about the mainstream of Western Christendom, and lots of them pay no attention to the calendar anyway, so messing about with what other people do was a harmless game for them.The insidious effect of this has been to create a badge by which you can identify people's churchmanship. So, Anglo-Catholic parishes that follow the Roman rite will simply be in green, with no question. Traditionalist Anglo-Catholic parishes will mostly be in green, because they resist unjustified innovation. Meanwhile, high-church parishes who want to be seen to do what the Church of England does, mainly use red. I remember practically the only row I ever had with one of my curates was over this; I said, "I don't know anyone who uses red." He retorted, "I don't know anyone who doesn't!" Of course we were both wrong, but one often exists in one's own bubble. It is, for me, a cause for regret that those who run the Church of England should have created an unnecessary source of division among us, for little actual gain, but then they have quite a record for that. .