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  • Advent devotions on LWF 500th anniversary themes

    October 31, 2016

    Lutheran, Anglican Leaders Reflect On Reformation Anniversary; Prepare Series Of Advent Devotions

    On the anniversary of the Reformation, leaders from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Anglican Church of Canada, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church issue a joint letter along with a series of Advent devotions lifting upThe Lutheran World Federation‘s 500th anniversary theme and sub-themes.

    In their letter, the leaders note the anniversary theme provides a, fitting framework; We are ‘liberated by God’s grace’ and affirm that ‘salvation, human beings, and creation are not for sale.

    The text of the letter follows.

    Read the full letter here: http://www.elcic.ca/Documents/Adventdevotionsletter.pdf

    The Advent devotions are available for download here:http://www.elcic.ca/Documents/2016Adventdevotions.pdf

    ——–

    October 31, 2016

    All this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has giving us the ministry of reconciliation. – II Corinthians 5: 18

    Dear sisters and brothers in Christ:

    Today in Lund, Sweden, the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church will inaugurate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. After five hundred years of division, and 50 years of dialogue, Lutherans and Catholics will publicly remember their history, and look to the future—together. For the first time, a centennial anniversary of the Reformation will take place in a spirit of reconciliation, for the whole world to see. In our broken world, this ministry of reconciliation is a faithful response to the love of God in Jesus Christ.

    As churches shaped by the 16th century reformations—the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the Episcopal Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America—we also participate in this ministry of reconciliation. Over fifteen years ago, our churches’ respective full communion agreements inaugurated new relationships in which we fully recognized each other “as churches in which the gospel is truly preached and the holy sacraments duly administered” (Called to Common Mission), an achievement that “marks but one step toward the eventual visible unity of the whole Church catholic” (Waterloo Declaration). We are committed to working together toward reconciliation—of the church, and of the deepest social ills that plague our world. It is our hope, together with you, to be signs of anticipation—of the “already, but not yet” of God’s realm of reconciliation, justice, and peace.

    In this spirit we have prepared a series of devotions for the season of Advent, which may be used as bulletin inserts. The Lutheran World Federation’s 500th anniversary theme and sub-themes provided a fitting framework: We are “liberated by God’s grace” and affirm that “salvation, human beings, and creation are not for sale.” The devotions can be downloaded from each of our churches’ websites, and shared broadly. May our prayers united be a modest but hopeful sign of what our churches can do together as we bear witness to the One who first reconciled himself to us.

    In Christ,

    The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
    National Bishop
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

    The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
    Primate
    Anglican Church of Canada

    The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
    Presiding Bishop
    Episcopal Church (United States)

    The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
    Presiding Bishop
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

    In full communion with The Anglican Church of Canada
    © Copyright 2007 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
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  • World Week for Peace in Palestine/Israel

    September 18 to 24, 2016 is World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel.

    Remember Eastern Synod and ELCIC relations with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. For more information on their communities, see http://www.elcjhl.org/ . Pray for Bishop Munib Younan in his leadership and Rodny Said, ELCJHL student at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.

    For more information on the World Council of Churches Week for Peace in Palestine-Israel, see
    https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/world-week-for-peace-in-palestine-israel

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  • Architecture and Emotion

    Have you ever wondered how church architecture impacts your worship and identity?

    Here’s a talk that might help you reflect on that!

    “The Psychological Impact of Built Spaces: How the design of buildings influences what you think, how you feel, and who you are” is a  A FREE TALK by Colin Ellard of the Urban Realities Lab University of Waterloo held at St Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (49 Queen St. N, Kitchener) Sept 17, 2 pm. All are welcome. See below for poster.

     

    architecture and emotion

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  • GATHERING conference

    The rescheduled Liturgy Canada Conference on Gathering is coming up on the last Saturday of September.

    REAL PRESENCE: THE GATHERED COMMUNITY

    SEPTEMBER 24, 2016; 9:30 – 3:30

    CHRIST’S CHURCH CATHEDRAL, HAMILTON

    Details of the conference can be found at http://liturgy.ca/real-presence-the-gathered-community/ and registration is at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/real-presence-the-gathered-community-tickets-22663043774

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  • Worship at 2016 Eastern Synod Assembly

    Liberated by God’s Grace

    The theme of the 2016 Eastern Synod Assembly reflected the 2017 LWF Reformation theme of Liberated by God’s Grace, along with the sub-themes of:  Creation – Not for Sale, Human Beings – Not for Sale, and Salvation – Not for Sale.

    We explored these themes through Word and Sacrament, with music and prayers, with colour, visuals, silence, and tears.  We left knowing that we are Liberated by God’s Grace and called to proclaim and live that message in the world.

    Attached, you will find the missals of the times we gathered together for worship and prayer.  Many of the spoken pieces were written especially for our time together and the writers have graciously provided the texts for you to use in your own communities.

    Ordo-of-Services-2016-Assembly- (1)

    Peace to you.

    The worship team of Robb Wilson, Kathryn Smith, Jordan Smith, Steve Hoffard, Sherry Coman                                and Debbie Lou Ludolph.

    Submitted by Kathryn Smith

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  • When our world is rent by violence

    Consider singing this powerful hymn text by David Bjorlin to PICARDY (Let all mortal flesh) as you seek ways to respond to the violence in Orlando  and the grief of so many, as well as to the horror for the LGBTQ and Muslim communities.  

    WHEN OUR WORLD IS RENT BY VIOLENCE

    When our world is rent by violence and our lives are marred by grief,

    When our songs of calm assurance turn to cries of unbelief:

    God, we raise our lamentation, seeking refuge and relief.

     

    When our cities stand forsaken and the poor must beg for bread,

    when the pris’ner sits forgotten and the homeless find no bed,

    God we raise our lamentation: waken justice from the dead!

     

    When our lives are burnt to ashes and our hopes fade like a dream,

    When our stories lose their meaning and despair becomes their theme,

    God, we raise our lamentation: Come, Lord Jesus, to redeem!

     

    Raise up beauty from the ashes; end our violence; tend our peace.

    Give us visions of a future where all captives find release,

    where oppression is evicted, and all works of hatred cease.

    From HYMNS IN TIMES OF CRISIS  www.thehymnsociety.org

    When tragedy strikes, we often find ourselves at a loss for words to express our sorrow, rage, and helplessness. When a community needs to gather, congregational song can be a powerful force to help us express what we cannot articulate ourselves. It can be a healing, unifying force.

     If your church community or a member of your community is experiencing a time of crisis due to death, natural disaster, family struggles, or any other time when singing these songs can help, The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada offers this resource of hymns with suggested tunes which can be useful at these times.  The publishers, authors and composers have graciously granted permission for you to use any of the hymns in this collection at no royalty cost to you for 2 months following the crisis, and at any memorial or remembrance service held within 1 year of the event. These texts may also be used for personal devotions and group discussion.  If your church is a member of OneLicense.net or CCLI, you are encouraged to report your usage there as you would customarily do.

     

     

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  • Worship Planning & Ecological Stewardship

    The Splendor of the Earth: Worship Planning and Ecological Stewardship

    On the fifth Sunday of Easter in our congregation, we, in company with many other lectionary-based Christian churches, sang Psalm 148. In this cosmic song of praise, all ages are invited to join the earth with its sea monsters, fire, hail, snow, fog, wind, mountains, hills, trees, wild beasts, and birds. “The splendor of the LORD is over earth and heaven,” we sang as a refrain. What a marvelous testimony to the fullness of God in all things!

    When you sing psalms such as 148, do you pay attention to the way the earth is celebrated? What about when you plan assembly song? Even more, how much does care for the earth and ecological justice guide your worship planning?

    We are nearing the summer solstice. This can be a time to reflect upon how ecological concerns find a place at our worship planning tables. What follows here are first, a few general observations and second, questions to spark conversation and reflection in your planning context.

    Have you noticed . . .

    • the abundance of creation imagery in scripture, particularly in the psalms? The notion that heaven is our true home and the earth is simply a stopping point on the way does not have solid grounding if we are singers of the psalms. (And believe in a God who became flesh and walked the earth!)
    • the earthiness of sacramental theology? At the heart of our experience of God’s grace is bodily connection with water, bread, and wine. God’s word is made flesh and dwells in and among us.
    • the ways in which newer hymnody (and older as well) call our attention to themes of eco-justice? Remember, the psalter is the womb from which church music bursts forth.
    • the way the seasons of the church year can root us in deeper understanding and care for the earth? For example, the “greening” of Pentecost, calling our attention to the Spirit’s work in all that grows; the baptismal focus of Lent leading us to the waters; or the longing for light in Advent, awakening us to our dependence and use of energy (and of all that life forming in dark places, unknown or unseen by us).

    Could you ask . . .

    • Do we pay attention to the psalms and other scripture that exalts the earth? Is regular psalm singing a commitment of our congregation? How can it be revitalized?
    • Do the words, rituals and gestures around the sacraments uplift the earth? Are references made to local water sources in the prayers? Can local wine and bread be used? Are connections made in preaching and song between the communion meal and all our meals?
    • What new hymns can we learn that lift up these themes? Consider “Light Dawns on a Weary World” (ELW 726) or “Touch the Earth Lightly” (ELW 739). Remember, hymns focused on care for the earth can be found under almost any category, including the church year, Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. “Now the Green Blade Rises” (ELW 379) and “O Blessed Spring” (ELW 447) come to mind.
    • How can seasonal worship planning always be rooted in our experience of the natural seasons as creatures of the earth?

    Some congregations may choose specific Sundays or seasons to focus on creation. While this might be an option, paying close attention to scripture and hymnody will reveal that every Sunday gives us an opportunity to regard Christian worship paired with stewardship of the earth. Much of the time, it is simply being aware to the riches that we have overlooked.

    Resources to dig deeper

    A Watered Garden: Christian Worship and Earth’s Ecology by Benjamin Stewart

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  • Hymn in time of Fire crisis

    O God of Mighty Wind and Flame

    The North American Hymn Society offers a resource entitled Hymns in Times of Crisis, which is where I began my search for a hymn text in response to the fire in Fort McMurray.This Hymn was written in response to the fires in California in 2007. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette offers it generously to be used in response to the fires in Northern Canada.  She writes, “This hymn is one of those that I have written that I give permission for free use of it.”

    May it help us to pray, to stand in solidarity, and to give generously.

    O God of Mighty Wind and Flame          ELLACOMBE CMD

    O God of mighty wind and flame who fills your church with power,

    We gather here in Jesus’ name, to ask your help this hour.

    When nature’s might seems far too strong and flames are swirling high,

    When days bring fear and nights are long, Lord, hear your people’s cry.

     

    Some, having not the time to pack, lost all they left behind;

    We pray that when they can go back, your strength is what they’ll find.

    As they are grieving, bending low to sift through ash and stone,

    We pray that soon, again, they’ll know the comfort of a home.

     

    Some labor hard for little pay; their blessings seem so few.

    They don’t have homes to save this day—God, keep them close to you.

    Some risk their lives and give up sleep, to fight the fires so long;

    In this, the vigil that they keep, God, keep them safe and strong.

     

    O God in whom we live and move– when lives are torn apart,

    Give us, your church, abundant love to heal each broken heart.

    And when we see our neighbors’ pain, give us the grace to share,

    Till like a gentle, needed rain, new hope will fill the air.

     

    Tune:   Gesangbuch der Herzogl, Wirtembergischen Katholischen Hofkapelle, 1784; alt. 1868

    Text: Copyright © 2007 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.

     

     

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  • Prayers with people of Fort McMurray

    As we pray for the people in Fort McMurray and surrounding areas, here are some guides from Albert Synod Bishop, Larry Kochendorfer.  Bishop Larry writes — Perhaps the following might guide our common prayer:

    Emergency workers (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 85):
    God of earth and air, water and fire, height and depth, we pray for those who work in danger, who rush in to bring hope and help and comfort when others flee to safety, whose mission is to seek and save, serve and protect, and whose presence embodies the protection of the Good Shepherd.  Give them caution and concern for one another, so that in safety they may do what must be done, under your watchful eye.  Support them in their courage and dedication that they may continue to save lives, ease pain, and mend the torn fabric of lives and social order; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

    Protection through life (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 86):
    O God, full of compassion, we commit and commend ourselves to you, in whom we live and move and have our being.  Be the goal of our pilgrimage, and our rest by the way.  Give us refuge from the turmoil of worldly distractions beneath the shadow of your wings.  Let our hearts, to often a sea of restless waves, find peace in you, O God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

    A prayer of Julian of Norwich (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 87):
    In you, Father all-mighty, we have our preservation and our bliss.  In you, Christ, we have our restoring and our saving.  You are our mother, brother, and savior.  In you, our Lord the Holy Spirit, is marvelous and plenteous grace.  You are our clothing; for love you wrap us and embrace us.  You are our maker, our lover, our keeper.  Teach us to believe that by your grace all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.  Amen.

    “The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

    In Christ Jesus –
    Shalom,
    + Larry

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  • Pentecost, Time after Pentecost and Summer Worship

    As we prepare for Pentecost and the Time after Pentecost, it is good to remember how the Holy Spirit is moving, prodding, swirling and living amongst us.  The attached list of resources cover so much more than just Pentecost.  You will find new resources from Kairos directly related to our ongoing commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation process.  Perhaps you are looking to add some more visual items to your worship – you will find links to a variety of resources.

    We also are looking forward to 2017 and the Commemoration of the Reformation.

    The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), in cooperation with a group of noted theologians, have jointly developed a Common Prayer to mark the 500 years of the Reformation in 2017.

    Follow the link to download this new resource from LWF and PCPCU.

    https://www.lutheranworld.org/content/joint-common-prayer-lutheran-catholic-common-commemoration-reformation-2017

    Enjoy your summer.  May you find time to rest.

    Pentecost and Time after Pentecost 2016

    Peace,

    Kathryn Smith

     

     

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