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  • EvLW: Choral Stanzas

    Choral Stanzas for Hymns
    This resource is being published in two volumes. Volume One, The Church Year, is now available. The second volume will be published in early 2011. The first volume includes stanzas of 81 hymns from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (and many other current hymnals), treating the sections from Advent (#239) through Holy Communion (#502). For each hymn that is included, one stanza has been selected for choral treatment by a gifted composer. Intended for use within the assembly’s singing of the hymn, the settings vary from unison to four part, unaccompanied to keyboard and obbligato instrument. All settings are fully reproducible. 978-0-8066-9841-0. $59.95

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  • Space, Art, Image…..and worship

    Here are some sites that I have added to the links for those of you who are interested to connect with people who are thinking about faith and art and worship and space.

    • For many years I have used the devotional book Sacred Journeys by Jan Richardson and recently I found her website where she offers paintings and reflections on the lectionary readings. Check out Jan Richardson: The Painted Prayerbook.
    • When we were at St Mark’s in Kitchener in the 90s, Richard Caemmerer came to visit and told us of the Grünewald Guild — check out what they are doing at  The Grünewald Guild .
    • For a full listing of visual arts links, go to Lift Up Your Hearts , and search under Visual Arts Links.

    What might the artists and painters and potters in your congregation do to enliven worship in your place? What as a synod might we do to nurture the artists in our midst and to hear what God is revealing through art?

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  • Global Song Sunday

    Pastors Carey and Sebastian Meadows-Helmer share their Global Song Sunday service from this summer in Maynooth using the Evangelical Lutheran Worship resource. Global Song Sunday Model

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  • On the lighter side…..

    I think it is only fair that I respond to my colleagues who took great pains to introduce new liturgical praxis at the Synod Assembly.  I give the rest of you their tireless efforts, because in the midst of serious discussions about worship praxis, about which we all can get a little too over zealous, it is good to smile and remember the Spirt blows as it wills.

    I commend to you the use of Vuvuzelas in marking times when walls of Jericho fall down or mortgages on church buildings are burned or we open our doors to the outcasts of society…… those times when we say that we are willing to think beyond ourselves.  And so towards those times, enjoy our colleagues comments!!

    The original motion on the floor, submitted by Thomas Arth, Hans Borch, Rob Wiesner, Neil Thompson, Krister Ulmanis: That the Ministry Director for Worship Ministries investigate the possible liturgical and musical uses of the Vuvuzela and communicate her feelings through the Worship Matters newsletter

    Don Nevile’s cleverly crafted response:


    My Lord Bishop, I wish to move an amendment to Motion 2.2, currently before the Assembly.  My amendment is simply that the word “outdoor” be added to the motion, between the words “possible” and “liturgical”, so that the motion reads, “That the Ministry Directory for Worship Ministries investigate the possible outdoor liturgical and musical uses …”, the rest of the motion to remain the same.

    My Lord Bishop, I believe that the Vuvuzela is an excellent liturgical musical instrument, right up there with the Alphorn, so beloved by Christians in Switzerland and Austria, with the Bagpipes, so dear to the hearts of Scottish Christians, and with the Phonorton, that legendary liturgical wind instrument, which is blown at both ends.

    My Lord Bishop, the Vuvuzalea is an important instrument to us for several reasons …
    FIRST, it is cheap, and would assist the Church in dealing with its current financial challenges;
    SECOND, it is easy to learn; anyone can play it, and so it will fulfill our mandate to be inclusive;
    THIRD, it will only play one note, and in that sense is an audible sign among us of the unity of the Church.

    My Lord Bishop, just think how the outdoor liturgical use of the Vuvuzala would enhance our witness among the soccer community, and the African diaspora community in our land.  Moreover, imagine the impact of a Vuvuzela ensemble in your community, performing together at an outdoor Easter Sunrise service at, say, 6:00 a.m. on Easter Sunday morning, outside your Church building, or at a nearby hillside or park.

    However, my amendment is very important: the use of the Vuvuzaela only outdoors is paramount, if we value the sanity of our Church.  If it is not restricted to outdoor use, we may be exposed to permanent hearing loss, which would prevent us from hearing the Gospel in its purity and truth.

    For these reasons, I support the passage of the amended version of this motion … or whatever.


    (footnote:  the rumour circulating at our synod assembly has now been confirmed – that this fall, a major Quebec organ building firm will be offering an add-on Vuvuzela organ stop.  The stop will consist of a full 54-note rank, with the resonators and wind supply mounted outsidethe church building, but playable from the console inside the church.  Spokesperson for the firm, Pierre Bombarde, says, “This is the first time we have worked with plastic organ pipes.  We look forward to this novel concept, which we expect will initiate a new era in Canadian organ building.”)

    Martin Giebel’s contribution:

    At our recent Eastern Synod Assembly of the ELCIC June 24-27 in Toronto some of us worked hard to pass a motion considering the use of the Vuvuzela for liturgical music. Regrettably though, this motion did not make it to the floor of the Assembly. Still, we see enormous potential in this initiative! For example, we have come to realize that we sometimes are separated from one another by walls of misconceptions, distrust and fear. We believe we have found a scripture based and time-tested remedy in the formation of a Vuvuzela choir and recommend that this newly established choir walk around any walls that separate us following the clear instructions of Joshua 6:1-5. Scripture tells us what will happen: The walls will crumble and the people of God will be realize new opportunities. (This technique might also prove helpful in tearing down any structures that are between us and a more appropriate organizational model of the ELCIC on the national level.) Also, the low cost of this most effective instrument will most certainly meet the tight constrains of future budgets among all levels of the church! Moreover, since these instruments are crafted in some of the poorest countries of this world, we can send a strong message of support and unity to those emerging, local industries. Discussions during Synod Assembly have shown many more possible uses on the local level. E.g. Vuvuzelas appear to be very effective in getting people’s attention and demonstrating support – both things our congregations and church are in need of.

    Let’s all keep the perspective , and thanks for the smiles (-:  I am so glad to work together with all of you.

    debbie lou

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  • News from The Festival of Homiletics

    This summer Pastors Carey and Sebastian Meadows-Helmer attended the Festival of Homiletics in Nashville. Read about their experience:  “The joy of preaching” , and take a look at the line-up for next year in Minneapolis at Meet you there!!

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  • Resources available for CLWR Sunday, September 26

    Canadian Lutheran World Relief Sunday date for 2010 is September 26. ELCIC resources are now available for downloading from the CLWR website to help with planning your CLWR Sunday celebration. CLWR Sunday worship resources . CLWR encourages congregations to choose another date if September 26 is not suitable.

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  • Preaching: Continuing Education with David Schnasa Jacobsen

    David Schnasa Jacobsen, Professor of Homiletics at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, is offering several different opportunities for continuing education in the area of preaching.  Consider taking a course at WLS or at Trinity College in Toronto, attending a lecture in Montreal, or creating a learning opportunity with others, such as a conference workshop for ministerial clergy or lay preachers. For more information, click on  Preaching with David Schnasa Jacobsen .

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  • Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2011 materials

    102nd Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: January 18 to 25, 2011

    This year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity materials are organized around the theme “One in the Apostles’ Teaching,” based on Acts 2:42:  “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” The resources were developed by a group of Christian leaders from Jerusalem under the work of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and then, as has happened for forty years, the Commission on Faith & Witness of The Canadian Council of Churches assembled an ecumenical writing team to adapt the resources for a Canadian context, and create additional related materials.

    This year marks the beginning of a new format for the Canadian resource. The Canadian Week of Prayer writing team and publisher Novalis have partnered to create a more flexible set of printed resources, each of which can be ordered separately as needed.  A new web site has also been developed – – which will feature many of the resources that were formerly available only in the booklet.  The resource kit and the web site will be available in September. In the meantime, check out the introductory materials at .

    The ELCIC contribution for the 2011 Canadian materials was given by Rev Dr Tim Hegedus who wrote the biblical background and homiletical notes, and Debbie Lou Ludolph who provided suggestions for congregational song. For our synod, since the resources are written from the Jerusalem church this year, it might be interesting to think about the people at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary who have travelled to the Holy Land with the study tours in 2007 and 2009 as resource people. Contact Rev Dr Tim Hegedus,, trip coordinator, for possible names of people who have already made presentations and have material ready to go. Also, it would be a natural time to highlight our ELCIC connection with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, the work of Lutheran World Federation in Jerusalem, and the work our ecumenical partners are doing in the Holy Land.

    For more information about the resource, contact:

    James Pedlar, Assistant Coordinator, Faith and Witness,

    The Canadian Council of Churches   416-882-4064 /

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  • Leading the Church’s Song: free download


    Leading the Church’s Song, edited by Robert Buckley Farlee, is a an excellent practical guide to congregational song leadership. I have especially appreciated the notes on global song in this resource, but I thought it might be useful for you to know that recently the first two chapters, which are an orientation to the ministry of congregational song and the elements of the technique required, have been placed online, free, at  \”Leading the Church\’s Song\.  Here’s the end of the introduction:

    And something happens to us when we sing. On a communal level we become more conscious of how we fit into the group, of our role in the larger gathering. On a spiritual level, tune, text, and the sound of our singing can transport us to places we never thought possible. Catechetically, we internalize that which we sing. Propelled by the wings of melody, rhythm, and perhaps harmony, the message and images of the text pass through our lips finding ways into our memories as well as our hearts. The kernel of faith is nurtured. It has often been said that the way in which we pray (lex orandi) has great bearing on that which we believe (lex credendi). It is probably just as valid to say that what we sing also shapes our faith — lex cantandi lex credendi.We who lead that song are by nature servants of God’s people and serving them well requires work. The task calls us to continuous study of things churchly: scripture, historical models and the function of liturgy, the cycles of the church year. It requires of us constant study and practice to keep musical skills (instrumental, vocal, choral, conducting) at sufficiently high levels. And it challenges us frequently to risk something we have never done before. (Augsburg Fortress, 1998).

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  • Evangelical Lutheran Worship: Hymnal Companion


    The hymnal companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship, which will give the context, origin and character of the hymns, is now ready to be ordered from Augsburg Fortress.  Twenty per cent discount if you order before September 1. You will note that the resource is prepared by Paul Westermeyer and you can be assured he is a Lutheran musician and theologian who cares deeply about music and worship for our time. I’m looking forward to his work, and I am grateful for it!

    Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship

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