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  • Hearts – Hands – Voices


    Sponsored by the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, check out this great opportunity to this four day gathering of church musicians.  Conducting, choral leadership, assembly song, and keyboard leadership are just some of the topics that will be covered by a wide variety of musicians and worship leaders.

    Hearts – Hands – Voices


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  • Responding to Tragedy

    Events, such as bus crash of the 

    Humboldt Broncos hockey team and the van attack on the sidewalks of Toronto which took so many lives, can leave one reeling from the magnitude of the tragedy.  As people of God, we share int the pain and sorrow of others and lament and look for ways to express ourselves in our prayers and worship.

    It is interesting to note that the theme of the 2018 National Worship Conference Responding to Disaster: Payer, Song, Presence was set many months before these two events took place, and yet speak to the need people have to craft and hear both words of lament and words of comfort.  Looking at how we respond to both natural disasters and those of human making, the conference will help us give “language and song to the emotions people experience” (words taken from publicity poster).

    The local planning committee for the National Worship Conference has extended the deadline for early registration to MAY 15.
    Here are some responses that others are sharing with the wider community.
    A Lament for Yonge Street, Toronto

    Allan Baer, the composer of the song, Songs for times of violence: “When Peaceful Lives are Shaken” recently shared it on the Music United Facebook page.  He writes, “The topic of human violence is hard to find in current church hymnals, and is often missing from our worship as well – other than to offer a few words of prayer as a nod to its existence. It seems so difficult to explain, let alone deal with such evil that we often just ignore it. That makes healing more difficult.”  You will find more background by clicking on the website link titled “The story behind the song.”

    When you have experienced disaster or tragedy in your community, what has been your response.  Please let me know at and I will share your responses.

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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:

    From the United Church of Canada:

    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?


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  • 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:


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  • 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:

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  • 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

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  • 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. (more…)

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  • Inspiring Lent Images

    Building Faith

    has developed and is sharing 3 images that are appropriate for the season of Lent.  These images are free of charge and no attribution of source is required.  Feel free to share these images on social media or through your online church presence.

    Building Faith – Inspiring Lent Images

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  • 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


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  • 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


    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: (more…)

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