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Earth Day

This coming Sunday is Earth Day.  Here are a few

ideas that you can integrate this week, and will spark your imagination going forward.  Although the UN has set aside  this one day as International Earth Day, we are called to be stewards of creation each and every day.

God spoke and the world was created:  “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.”

In our Prayers of Intercession:  “With the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, let us pray for the church, those in need, and all of God’s creation.”

Earth Day is a reminder to be intentional about creation each and every day.

From the ELCIC and ACC:  http://www.elcic.ca/news.cfm?article=502

From the United Church of Canada:  http://www.united-church.ca/worship-special-days/earth-sunday.

The article on Acknowledging the Territory, along with the work of Eastern Synod Biennium Reconciliation Initiative

may get you thinking of different ways your congregation can recognize the land on which we live.

Song and Hymn Suggestions Singing Our Prayer:  A Companion to Holden Prayer Around the Cross

Deep Peace #7

For the Healing of Creation #12b

Sing the Circle Wide:  Songs of faith from around the World

La paz de la tierra (The peace of the earth) #25

The Earth does not belong to us #27

Evangelical Lutheran Worship

See hymns 730 – 740, as well as many others, including:

Many and Great #837

Soli Deo Gloria #878

How does your congregation recognize Earth Day and creation every day?


Seniors and Shut-ins Communion and Lunch

Pastoral care of our seniors and shut-ins by visiting

them regularly is a valued ministry of our churches and congregations.  There is often an effort to specifically visit around Easter and Christmas, and to ensure that all those that wish to commune are able to.  This can create added stress to an already busy schedule.  But instead of going and visiting each person individually, what about bringing as many of the people together for a service of Holy Communion?  This has been tried at All Saints Lutheran Church in Guelph three times now and already has become a valued ministry.

The idea is simple – invite all of your seniors and shut-ins to a worship service that is held around lunch time.  After the service, serve a light lunch, where they can continue their fellowship with each other.

The order for worship is simple and encourages participation of everyone.  Use hymns that are familiar and even those who have difficulty holding a book or reading the words will be able to sing or hum along.  Some people may want to participate by singing a special song, playing the organ for a hymn, reading a lesson or leading a prayer.  At our most recent communion and lunch, one gentleman sang a beautiful rendition of “The Holy City” a cappella.  Inviting everyone to pray the Prayer of the Day and the Post Communion Prayer together makes all feel included.  Here is the order of service that was used – adapt this to your own local context:

Gathering Song


Prayer of the Day (said by all)

Scripture Reading


Hymn of the Day


Words of Institution

Lord’s Prayer

Distribution of Holy Communion

Prayer after Communion (said by all)


Sending Song

After the Sending Song, the Table Grace was said, before the people moved to their lunch. Here are a few more practical considerations to think about:

  • It has worked well for us to plan the worship time around lunch.  Many of our senior members find Sunday morning worship difficult to get to – their bodies just don’t want to work that early in the morning, but by lunch they are ready to go.  It also allows them to get home early afternoon and rest before the evening meal.
  • Arrangements were made to assist each person to attend.  Many family members were happy to help out, but people in the congregation were also asked to help.  They would pick the person up, sit with them during the service and lunch and then drive them home.  That person or couple was their only responsibility.
  • Think about how you will serve communion.  At our first communion and lunch, we learned a good lesson.  We thought that it would be good to have everyone near the front of the church, so removed a book rack in front of the first pew to make room for walkers and wheelchairs.  Everyone sat in the second pew or farther back – they wanted something in front of them to help them stand!  Now people are placed at the end of pews throughout the church and we try to keep an empty pew between each row where people are sitting.  This allow the pastor to move between pews and reach each person. What will work best in your place of worship?
  • Be aware of the varying needs of each person communing:  Some can take both bread and wine from the common cup, others will want to intinct their bread and others will need you to intinct the bread for them and place it directly into their mouths.  Take your time.  We’ve found that the people are so happy to be there and appreciate the care given to each person.
  • Think carefully about the best place to serve the lunch.  The usual place may not be the best.  In our situation, the narthex has worked perfectly.  The day before the lunch, volunteers come and clear out any extra furniture, then card tables and chairs are set up, leaving lots of room for walkers and wheelchairs.  Having everything on one level for our guests has worked well.  Yes, the kitchen is downstairs so there is some lugging of food and beverages, but the focus is on our guests.
  • Yes, we have used the “good” dishes, especially the tea cups.  Our guests are worth it.
  • Lunch is simple – a few cut-up vegetables and pickles, and crackers and cheese are on the tables.  Sandwiches, coffee, and tea are served, followed by a sweet tray.
  • The lunch time is as important to our guests as the worship service.  They love being able to visit and reminisce with people they have not seen in a long time.
  • Have enough volunteers – we have used three different shifts:  Set-up the day before, welcoming and serving lunch, clean-up

What are you doing in your church to meet the needs of seniors and shut-ins?  What can we learn from each other?  Send any ideas and comments to: esworshipblog@gmail.com

Worship As Journey: A Day of Learning and Renewal

 Worship as Journey: A Day of Learning and Renewal

Saturday, April 28, 2018
Calvin Presbyterian Church  

Toronto, Ontario

This day-long conference is for everyone interested in worship and music. Presenters include Steve Bell, Ken Medema and others.

Sponsored by Worship Ministries of the Christian Reformed Church, the Presbyterian Church of Canada, the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Reformed Worship magazine, and Interlude.

Learn more and register:

Hymns to Sing

“In the Desert, On God’s Mountain” is a

hymn text by Susan Palo Cherwien.  In the attached article Joshua Zentner-Barrett introduces us to this hymn text and the background behind it.

Joshua was a student at Wilfrid Laurier University, where he studied organ under Marlin Nagtegaal.  Josh was also very involved in the worship and student life at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary – singing in Inshallah, participating in the undergrad program, and worshiping with the Open Door Community.  After WLU, Josh attended Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, where he studied hymnology under C. Michael Hawn.  A M.S.M graduate, he is now the Director of Music at Kanata United Church in Ottawa.

In O Blessed Spring:  Hymns of Susan Palo Cherwien, published by Augsburg Fortress in 1997, this text is set to PICARDY.

Thank you Josh for the enlightening window into this text.

In the Desert, On God’s Mountain

Remembering Those with Mental Illness – Worship Resources

Recently, the students at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary

were reminded that there are many in our society who suffer with mental illness when a local university student died by suicide.  During the following days, prayers and songs were spoken and sung as the community remembered the student and also to lift up to God prayers for all who suffer – those living with mental illness, parents, friends, and support people.

As a worshipping community and Christian church, how do we respond and remember those living with mental illness?  What are the words that we use that give hope in the midst of despair?

The Wednesday evening Open Door service at WLS was carefully crafted to include times of silence, prayers and song, which recognized the pain of those who are hurting, while showing light and hope amid the darkness.

Stay With Us   is a song from an Easter Cantata by Ron Klusmeier and Walter Farquharson, based on the Emmaus story found in Luke 24.  “Stay with us through the night.  Stay with us through the pain.  Stay with us, blessed stranger, ’till the morning breaks new bread.”  Congregations may use this song for free, as a gift from Ron and Walter.

“Between Darkness and Light” also expresses the reality of walking in the in-between places, while opening the “window of light” and “planting the seeds of love.”  This song is available in the Inshallah songbook, Sing the Circle Wide, available at Sperlings Church Supply.

One of the prayers used was “A Prayer for People Living with Mental Illness”, by Amy Simpson.  Notice all the different people that are included in the prayer.

The Synod of Alberta and Territories has crafted worship resources under the title “A Day to Remember Those With Mental Illness.”  Here you will find helpful suggestions and guidelines, a service outline and a sermon.  The link will also take  you to other resources collected by C.A.RE (Congregational Action and REsponse for Mental Health.

What other resources have you used?  Send to esworshipblog@gmail.com so we can keep the conversation going.


Where Two or Three Are Gathered: Worship for Small Assemblies – Easter

The Program Committee for Worship of the ELCIC has commissioned Where Two or Three Are Gathered: Worship for Small Assemblies, a series of worship outlines for the seasons of the church year using Evangelical Lutheran Worship as the primary resource.  Each week’s worship orders include options for Holy Communion and Service of the Word.  The resource for Easter was prepared by Lorraine Reinhardt, BC Synod. We hope you find these outlines helpful in your worship planning.

Where Two or Three are Gathered: Worship for Small Assemblies – Easter 2018


Upcoming Events – March 2018 edition

Worship, Liturgy, Song, Being Together

There are a number of workshops, conferences and day long events that those involved in worship leadership will find inspiring and enriching.  Check out these events in Valparaiso, Indiana, the Grand River Ministry Area, the Ottawa Ministry Area and from Liturgy Canada.


2018 Institute of Liturgical Studies

Now celebrating its 69th institute, each year during the second week of Easter, clergy, musicians and other worship leaders meet at Valparaiso University for the Institute of Liturgical Studies, three days of continuing education, worship, community and renewal.

Plenary presenters Jessicah Krey Duckworth, Paul Hoffman, Maxwell Johnson and Craig Satterlee will engage us in these questions of baptismal meaning and renewal for our own time. Practical workshops around this theme geared to pastors, musicians and worship leaders will be offered Tuesday and Wednesday.

A highlight of this institute is the opportunity to worship in Valparaiso’s Chapel of the Resurrection. The liturgies used for worship will offer eucharistic and other prayer offices to help us reflect on how we are formed by the gift of baptism. The Harre Student Union will be the home for the institute’s registration, plenary presentations, meals and exhibits. Its proximity to the chapel makes walking distances accessible and convenient.

It is not too late to register! Registration and information about workshops, seminars, worship and the schedule are available at valpo.edu/ils.


Grand River Ministry Area  A Worship Leadership Event

It Takes a Village…

Trusting and Inspiring One Another

To Become an Effective Music Ministry Team

2 Stimulating Workshops for Clergy, Musicians and Lay Leaders

“Beyond the Bench: Essential Skills for a 21st-Century Music Ministry” – Chris Fischer, Pastoral Musician, Knox Presbyterian Church, Guelph

“From ‘Me’ to ‘We’: Clergy-Musican Relationships and Implications for Worship” – Rev. Jacquie Foxall, Minister, Knox Presbyterian Church, Oakville

Saturday, April 14, 2018

9:00 AM – 12:00 pm

Knox Presbyterian Church, 20 Quebec Street, Guelph

Worship Leadership Event – Guelph


Ottawa Ministry Area

You are invited to Ottawa to participate in an upcoming Centered in Song event, as part of the Center for Congregational Song Launch Tour.  Watch for a similar event to be held in Toronto later this fall.  Visit the following sites for more information and to register:



Website: https://congregationalsong.org/event/centered-song-ottawa/

Registration Link: https://www.regonline.com/centeredinsongottawa
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1726096527457244/


Liturgy Canada event

Real Presence: Sharing the Meal

April 28, 2018

9:00 am to 3:30 pm

Lizette Larson-Millar, Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at Huron University College, London, Ontario will be the keynote speaker.


Song at the Table – led by Scott Weidler

Honouring the Stuff of Creation – led by Paul Bosch

Including Children and Youth: Imagining a Eucharistic Liturgy that fully honours the presence of Children and Youth – Alicia Becker

Making Space at the Table – David Fletcher and Gregor Sneddon

April 28 Liturgy Canada Event Poster


Holy Week Resources

Readings for Sunday of the Passion and Good Friday

Thank you for Dr. Rev. Kimberlynn McNabb for sharing these resources for Holy Week.  Pastor Kimber McNabb is the pastor of Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Halifax, Dean of the Atlantic Ministry Area, and Sessional Instructor at the Atlantic School of Theology.

Holy Week – The Valley of Tears

Solemn Reproaches

If you have a prayer, song, lament or other piece that you written that you would like to share, please send to esworshipblog@gmail.com

Peace to you in this Season of Lent,

Kathryn Smith

National Worship Conference

Responding to Disaster: Prayer, Song and Presence 

is the theme for a timely and meaningful worship conference to be held in Victoria, BC, July 16 – 19, 2018.  All Anglican and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada parishes, clergy, music leaders and worship planners are invited to register for the conference beginning March 1, 2018.


This year’s National Worship Conference aims to assist us, as people of faith, in responding liturgically, theologically and ritually to natural disaster (earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane), all of which are increasingly impinging upon our experience; as well as disasters of human making, such as terrorism and violence. Often, in such situations, it is the church that is called upon to give language and song to the emotions people experience. We will bring our rich traditions together and give voice to the unspeakable.

Our conference worship will be shaped by lections that help give expression to an overarching theme: From Dissonance & Lament toward Transformation & Harmony. Over the course of the conference, worship will move from a cathartic outpouring of grief and frustration to a place of greater calm in the face of a still chaotic world; mirroring through music and spoken word, the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

This conference promises to be a powerfully moving and uplifting experience for all who attend. We hope you will join us.

Keynote Speaker – Rev. Dr. Lizette Larson-Miller
Theologian, musician and liturgical writer exploring rites for use with the sick and dying, considerations of sacred space, popular religiosity and contemporary ritual issues. She is currently the Professor of Moral & Pastoral Theology at Huron University College at Western University in London, Ontario.

Lead Musician – Mr. Chad Fothergill
Organist, composer, writer and doctoral musicology student, researching the Lutheran Cantor tradition in both its Reformation-era and present-day contexts.

This conference is for you! Musicians & Liturgists

This conference provides unique opportunities for musicians and Liturgists to share and network ideas and resources. As this is a conference about worship much of our time in plenary and worship will draw upon the musical history and energy we share in the Anglican and Lutheran traditions, and of course beyond those traditions.

Rural and Urban

We understand that both rural and urban church communities are vital centers of ministry and mission; that they have a story and resource to share, and that together we are the church.  This conference has been designed to address the particular needs of both rural and urban churches across our country.

National Worship Conference ad

Register at:  http://www.nationalworshipconference.org

To promote and share information about this conference, visit this link to a dropbox folder where you can access promotional materials to help us spread the word about this exciting conference happening July 16-19 in Victoria BC.     We encourage you to share on Facebook, twitter, bulletin boards, weekly bulletins and monthly newsletters.




Why Liturgy? An online Lenten

Why Liturgy? An online Lenten pilgrimage.

Have you ever wondered why we say the things we say, and do the things we do during worship? If so, as your Lenten practice this year you might consider taking an online pilgrimage through Evangelical Lutheran liturgy.

Starting Ash Wednesday, the website https://www.whyliturgy.ca will be posting about 200 words each day on a different part of the liturgy. Each post contains insights on the origins and theological underpinnings of a part of the liturgy. Posts will be accompanied by photos taken in the Holy Land, Turkey and Rome; and at St. Matthews Evangelical Lutheran Church (Kitchener) and Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.

The journey is being shared by Mirko Petricevic, the seminary’s director of communications and public affairs. He created the visual study guide while working toward a Master of Theological Studies degree at WLS. The project was supervised by Rev. Dr. Mark Harris, who now serves as the seminary’s principal-dean.

You will be able to also follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Links to social media platforms are available on https://www.whyliturgy.ca. StoneMir Media is the name Mirko uses for his freelance projects and labours of love.


Real Presence: The Meal

Event from Liturgy Canada

Saturday, April 28, 2018 – St John the Baptist, Dixie – 719 Dundas Street East, Mississauga
9.30 to 3.30
Real Presence:  The Meal

The fourth in our series of conferences on the ordo. This session will focus on The Meal. Why is this meal the centre of Christian life? How can consumers of communion become celebrants of communion? Workshops will focus on Table Song; Including Children; Making Space at the Table and the Material of Worship.

For parish worship teams or individuals. It does not matter if you have not attended one of the previous conferences, so please join us!

Registration is now open!  realpresence4.eventbrite.ca

Where Two or Three are Gathered: Worship for Small Assemblies – Lent

The Program Committee for Worship of the ELCIC has commissioned Where Two or Three Are Gathered: Worship for Small Assemblies, a series of worship outlines for the seasons of the church year using Evangelical Lutheran Worship as the primary resource. Each week’s worship orders include options for Holy Communion and Service of the Word. Resources for Lent were prepared by Carolyn Ethier, Synod of Alberta and the Territories. We hope you find these outlines helpful in your worship planning.

Where Two or Three are Gathered: Worship for Small Assemblies – Lent 2018

Lent 2018 – Online Resources

Image courtesy of Richard Lyall/engageworship.org Many blessings on your Lenten journey.  Attached is a list of some of the online resources available to help you with your worship planning in this season.  You will find prayer suggestion, preaching helps, music ideas, devotional materials, and children and family resources.

2018 Lent Resources


What’s Coming Up?

Have you ever wondered what is happening worship wise in other Ministry Areas of Synod?  A new monthly feature of the Eastern Synod Worship Blog will be a listing of upcoming worship and music events occurring around the synod, as well as nationally (and even some international events!).  My hope is to build a place where people can learn what others are doing, and to provide a comprehensive list of events that may be of interest to rostered ministers and laypeople who are interested in worship.

The activities may range from worship services to conferences to retreats to workshops.  It will include:

  • Workshops, Seminars, Retreats, Conferences – especially focusing on preaching, music, worship, prayers, etc….
  • Ecumenical and Joint Worship events (Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Prayers for the Holy Land, Reformation, Lenten Services/Events, to name a few)
  • Installations, Ordinations, Consecrations,…

If you have any ideas of events that could be included in this list, please forward them to me at: esworshipblog@gmail.com.

Here is a beginning list of events in Kitchener/Waterloo and Area, Toronto, Ottawa, Victoria and Washington

Kitchener/Waterloo Area January 28, 2018 – Circle of Learning and Song

St. James Lutheran Church, Elmira at 2:30 pm with Inshallah, Mino Ode Kwewak N’Gamowak (Good Hearted Women Singers) and some of our Six National neighbours.  Hear about our Eastern Synod partnership with the Six Nations community to develop the Music for the Spirit program for youth.

Circle of Learning and Song

February 10, 2018 – Worship Come to its Senses

Explore songs, texts, and a combination of verbal and non-verbal ways to communicate our worship with Don Saliers, author and distinguished professor emeritus of theology and worship at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University.

Co-sponsored by the Kanata Centre for Worship and Global Song at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, Anabaptist Learning Workshops at Conrad Grebel University College, and Mennonite Church Eastern Canada.

For more information and to register, click here.

February 11, 2018 – Service of Lessons, Carols & Choral Music

On the Festival of the Transfiguration, the Leupold Chorale will host a Service of Lessons, Choral Music, and Carols to celebrate the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, and to mark the end of the Christmas Cycle of the Church Year.  4:00 pm at Mount Zion Lutheran Church in Waterloo.

Leupold Chorale – Transfiguration

Toronto February 11, 2018 – “Big Sing” of Canadian Hymns (Southern Ontario Chapter of the Hymn Society)

During “Canada 150” there were many reminders of Canadian contributions to science and technology, sports, peace-making and the arts. Hymns are also part of the Canadian legacy. The earliest familiar song is “The Huron Carol” sung at Christmas. “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” was written in southern Ontario.

You are invited to sing these and other selections of Canadian authorship at Eden United Church, 3051 Battleford Road, (at Winston Churchill Blvd) in Mississauga. Refreshments at 2:30, concert at 3:00 P.M.

The “Big Sing” will include selections from the Eden choir led by Bev Killen and Catherine Ambrose with narrative provided by Dr. Fred Graham. Admission is free, and parking is available.

Please plan to attend with a singing companion.


Ottawa and Area April 28, 2018 – Centered in Song

Early plans on being made for this event where we’ll learn about The Center for Congregational Song, hear from some of North America’s top song-leaders, and sing together with a closing hymn festival. Check back soon for updates on speakers and breakout session topics. Email ccs@thehymnsociety.org for more information.

International  May 21- 25, 2018 – Festival of Homiletics

26th Festival of Homiletics – 2018 Washington, D.C.

“Preaching and Politics”

Be inspired by God’s Word proclaimed by some of the nation’s finest preachers and teachers. Experience the fellowship of hundreds of  preachers. Learn and worship in an atmosphere that’s dynamic, friendly, nurturing and prophetic. Come renew, refresh and recharge your spirit.

Early Bird registration ends February 16, 2018

Preaching and Politics – Festival of Homiletics


July 16 – 19, 2018 – National Anglican Lutheran Worship Conference

Sing, Pray, Presence in response to disasters

Registration opens March 1, but mark your calendars now.








Prayer Cycles and Prayer Days

As we continue in this new church year and begin a new calendar year, there are a variety of prayer cycles that are available for our use, to help us pray consciously and consistently for our neighbours locally and around the world.  As well, there are two important ecumenical dates that encourage us to pray with each other and to strive for unity.

How do you encourage prayer for others in your own community?  What other resources do you use?  Let me know and I will be happy to share these resources with others.

From the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglican Church in Canada we have the Anglican Lutheran Prayer Cycle

From the World Council of Churches website: The Ecumenical Prayer Cycle enables us to journey in prayer through every region of the world and through every week of the year affirming our solidarity with Christians all over the world, brothers and sisters living in diverse situations, experiencing diverse problems and sharing diverse gifts. Lord, hear our prayer …

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Dates:  January 18 – 25, 2018

Theme:  “Your right hand O Lord, glorious in power”

There are both International resources from the World Council of Churches and resources from the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Canada (WPCU in Canada)

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – World Council of Churches

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Canada

World Day of Prayer

The World Day of Prayer is normally celebrated on the first Friday of March (March 2 in 2018).  This year, the service is prepared by the people of Suriname, under the theme, “All God’s Creation is Very Good!”  See the following links for more information.

World Day of Prayer – International

World Day of Prayer – Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada

Blessings as we continue to pray with and for each other and our neighbours both near and far.

Kathryn Smith


Epiphany 2018 – Worship for Small Assemblies

The Program Committee for Worship (PCW) of the ELCIC has commissioned a series called Where Two or Three Are Gathered: Worship for Small Assemblies.  It is a series of worship outlines for the seasons of the church year using Evangelical Lutheran Worship as the primary resource.

Attached are the worship outlines for Epiphany and the Time after Epiphany.  One set of outlines includes Holy Communion, and one set of outlines is for Service of the Word.  This set of outlines was prepared by Kathryn Smith, Eastern Synod representative on the PCW.

We hope you fine these outlines helpful in your worship planning.  We welcome your feedback.