Last Posts

  • New Worship Ministries’ Director

    Rev. Hilla Lahtinen will serve as the New director of Worship Ministries effective January 1, 2019.

    See: Rev. Hilla Lahtinen

    continue reading
  • Away in a Manger with alternate text

    An adaptation of the  carol “Away in a Manger” is provided here by the Kanata Centre at Martin Luther University College.  See:  Away in a Manger (alternate text) (2)

    Engraved for use at Mount Zion Lutheran Church by Pauline Finch, this music is free to be copied and shared.

    continue reading
  • Epiphany Worship Resources

    May your light shine in us and through us

    Words such as light and shine turn our thoughts to Epiphany.   The following resources for the Season after Epiphany use light as their central focus.

    Where Two or Three are Gathered:  Worship Resources for Small Assemblies – Epiphany Year C

    This latest offering from the Program Committee for Worship or the ELCIC offers worship suggestions for both services with Holy Communion and for Service of the Word, using Evangelical Lutheran Worship as the primary resource.  Many of the ideas can be adapted to larger assembly gatherings as well.  Thank you to Lorraine Reinhardt, BC Synod, for preparing this resource.

    You will find the resource on the ELCIC worship site:


    Kairos  has produced a new Epiphany resource – Light of a Star

    The season of Epiphany is full of wonderful stories and psalms and even laws that help us learn about Jesus. The first story tells us about the Wise Ones who knew the world needed God’s love. They found Jesus, the Light of the World, under the star. The journey of the Wise Ones and the machinations of a despot king make us think of those who are on the move because of injustice, seeking shelter, seeking work, seeking a better life. Migrant workers are ever hopeful when they land on Canadian soil. Can we nurture communities that embrace these seekers? We find wisdom in the stories of the Israelites coming together after Babylonian exile and the Corinthians striving to be a community despite insurmountable differences.


    continue reading
  • Wondering if it’s appropriation to use the Huron Carol?

    Have you ever wondered whether or not it is appropriate

    for us to use the Huron Carol in our worship?  Deacon Scott Knarr has provided this background to this song.  Thank you Scott for sharing the following with us.

    The Huron Carol

    This beloved Christmas carol is widely respected and honoured from the far North to Six Nations of the Grand River. Many Indigenous Nations have adopted it as their own song.  The tune is a French folk song and the original words are attributed to Jesuit missionary St. Jean de Brebeuf.

    This is not cultural appropriation (as we would usually define that reality) because the European melody was given words by a Jesuit missionary and then adopted by the Huron Nation and subsequently in our time has been shared with many Indigenous people across Canada.  I think it is indeed a helpful expression of respecting Indigenous culture and blending with European newcomers dating back to 1642.

    This amazing adaptation of the text and song is joint Metis, Haudenosaunee and Inuit collaboration (none of them Huron!).

    An Aboriginal Carol

    continue reading
  • Advent II

    Back in the beginning of November, I posted Advent

    resources, promising more the following week.  My preparations did not go as planned, but people have forwarded some excellent resources over the last few weeks, so I wanted to share them with you.  Three of the following are updated daily, so there is still time to prepare and wait, anticipate and pray, worship and reflect during these last few days of Advent.  Blessings to you during this Advent season as we look to the child who changes our world.

    Advent Conspiracy – Rev. Anne Anderson shared this resource that is being used with some tweeks by the Thirdspace community during the Advent.  Advent Conspiracy was founded on the radical idea that we can celebrate Christmas humbly, beautifully, and generously.  Advent is the story of a wondrous moment when God entered our world to make things right.  It is the greatest story ever told and it changes everything – including the way we celebrate Christmas.  Worship Fully – Spend Less – Give More – Love All.


    Hymns of Advent – Rev. Stephen Larson shared this wonderful resource from Lutheran World Federation.  An Advent Calendar of Hymns.

    During this Advent season, LWF member churches are sharing hymns from their congregations to show how the Lutheran communion regions prepare for Christ’s coming into this world.  We want to use this period to reflect on and celebrate the diversity, uniqueness and oneness of God’s gifts to us.


    AdventWord  – You can follow AdventWord on Facebook and Twitter and help create a global Advent Calendar.  Each day there is a new word and image.  You are encouraged to reflect, write and post.


    Faith in the Night – Lutherans Connect Advent Devotion

    From the time of his birth through the agony at Gethsemane, some of the most significant moments in Jesus’ life happen at night. Taking our inspiration from the Luke accounts of the nativity of Jesus. This Advent, we will explore the experience of biblical figures who are visited by God or request God’s presence, find escapes and safety from grave and danger, or are simply in a place of unknowing waiting – at night. In addition, we will explore contemporary stories of those who wait in darkness for hope and change. How can we experience darkness as an aspect of God? How does God work with us in the dark passages of our own lives to prepare us for transformative change? And to help effect change in the lives of the church? Join us daily from December 2nd to December 25th as we reflect together and anticipate a dawn of hope.”


    continue reading
  • Advent – Seasonal Resources 1

    One month until Advent 1!

    This is part 1 of 2, listing a variety of online resources that pertain to worship during the Season of Advent.  If you have other resources that you would like to share, please forward to me for inclusion in Part 2, which will be posted next week.

    Today, we also include a link for planning the Christmas pageant – as the planning happens now, and in many of our communities, the pageant takes place during the season of Advent.

    Webinar:  Rebooting Advent – Preparing Hearts

    In this webinar we focus on what churches and formation leaders can do during Advent, sharing ideas and tips for how to meet your congregation where they are and journey with them. We talk big picture thinking and then move to practical ideas for Advent programs and events.

    At the same link, you will find a list of resources on topics such as:  Advent Theology and Themes (Planning), Households and Congregations, Advent Wreaths and Children’s Books.

    Where Two or Three are Gathered:  Worship for Small Assemblies

    In this latest offering from the Program Committee for Worship of the ELCIC, Saskatchewan representative, Rev. Sean Bell, highlights that the four Sundays of Advent take us on a journey:

    Dec. 2: Luke’s Gospel calls us to ‘be on guard’ and ‘be alert at all times’.
    Dec. 9 We meet John the Baptist… the one who points… the one who shows the way.

    Dec. 16 John calls us to hope.
    Dec. 23 Mary sings her song of love, and it’s revolutionary.

    Christmas Pageant Ideas, Tips, and Scripts

    Building Faith has compiled a number of different scripts and helps for all sizes of churches.  Enjoy finding the one that fits your needs.

    continue reading
  • Remembrance Day Conversations

    A few weeks ago, a number of reflections and resources

    on the topic of Remembrance Day were posted on this blog site. In response, the following email was received.  This personal reflection helps us to see Remembrance Day from yet another perspective.  Thank you, Rev. Stephen Larson for sharing your story and the link to the “The War Prayer” by Mark Twain.

    Stephen writes:

    Let me suggest another resource for Remembrance Day — although one that is probably more useful in an adult or youth education or retreat setting. Although I have used it as a three person reading as a homily in campus ministry and Lutheran Church of Geneva (Switzerland) worship settings.  It’s entitled “The War Prayer” and was written by Mark Twain around 1905, as an anti-war parable.  The published copy I have of it explains that Twain felt it was so controversial, however, that he directed it not to be published until after his death.

    The text may be found at    The short story is set in the context of a church worship service in a country patriotically headed to war.  It’s very strong.

    Back in my seminary days in the States, during the Vietnam War, Twain’s “The War Prayer” was a helpful resource for me on my faith journey to declaring myself a conscientious objector to war.


    Stephen Larson

    continue reading
  • ELCIC Bulletins

    ELCIC Bulletin covers are now available for ordering.

    The theme of the pictures on the covers is People in Mission, reflecting the multiple ways people in the ELCIC are In Mission for Others.  The bulletins include all the lectionary readings, the liturgical Day, and a Gospel Conversation, in the appropriate liturgical colour.

    This is one of the ways we can acknowledge our unity as a church – knowing that across our church, the gathered people are reading and reflecting on the same words and images.  For more information see:


    continue reading


    The following events are being held in the Kitchener – Waterloo, Ottawa, Hamilton and Toronto areas, as well as information about the upcoming Institute of Liturgical Studies being held in Indiana.

    Also, did you know The Center for Congregational Song just launched their podcast? It’s called “Voices United: A Congregational Song Podcast” and is hosted by Ben Brody. Thanks for the inspiring title idea, United Church of Canada! Episode three, which is the latest episode to be released, is an interview with Deer Park Associate Professor of Sacred Music (and therefore honorary Canadian), Lim Swee Hong.


    October 25 – 28 

    At St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Ottawa, ON:  “Becoming Communities of Transformation”

    The weekend, hosted by the Anglican Studies Program Saint Paul University, and Saint Matthew’s Anglican Church and supported by the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa and the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada will include the sharing of and leadership of liturgical rites, small group formation, theological reflection, formation for leaders, faith conversation and listening skills fellowship and opportunity for ongoing access to resources and community dialogue.

    Training is open and welcomes all denominations. Parish teams of 3 or more are encouraged to participate and experience these paths and tools for becoming welcoming, forming, sending communities in its worship, reflection, prayer and ministry.

    For more information and to register, click here.


    October 27 –

    Inshallah “Singing the Circle Wide” – Join the Inshallah singing community for a day of singing and exploring the repertoire of the Inshallah songbook, Sing the Circle Wide: Songs of faith from around the world.  Workshops on instrumentation, signing, movement, context and leadership.  Saturday, October 27; 9:00 – 3:00; Waterloo North Mennonite Church.  Cost: $20.00, includes lunch.  To register or for more information, contact Kathryn Smith at, or 519-822-4097.


    November 4 –


    On All Saints’ Sunday, November 4th, at 7:00 pm, the Leupold Chorale will host the Liturgy of Compline, enhanced by choral music of the season, to mark the Feast of All Saints. Please join us at Mount Zion Lutheran Church, 29 Westmount Road South, Waterloo. Founded in 2009, the Leupold Chorale strives to foster and preserve the performance of the music of the Lutheran Church and the continental Reformation, the early music of other Christian traditions, and other sacred music rarely heard today.

    A broken hallelujah of  defiance, anger and hope.
    Led by Andrew and Wendy Donaldson
    with performances, readings, prayers and call-and-response singing, this is a shout-out against the violence and fear promoted by some of our world leaders, and an affirmation of welcome, justice and hope.
    Spiritual but not dogmatic, it draws from various faith traditions, and eclectic musical styles (freedom songs, protest songs).

    Church of the Holy Trinity, 19 Trinity Square, behind the Eaton Centre
    Refreshments 2:30  Program: 3:00


    November 18 – 

    An official RCCO event. Music Therapist, Rebekah Jordan-Miller will be offering a session on Musicians and Mental Health in the afternoon that day. Rebekah holds a DMA in piano performance and a Masters in Music Therapy. More information to follow. In the meantime, check out her biography here.


    April 29 – May 1, 2019


    You are invited to register for the seventy-first Institute of Liturgical Studies, Table of Thanksgiving: How Eucharist Forms Us.  We will gather on the campus of Valparaiso University from April 29 – May 1, 2019. 
    Plenary Speakers:
    • Charles Arand
    • Paul Bradshaw
    • M. Shawn Copeland
    • Cynthia Moe-Lobeda
    Online registration is now open!  Visit for more information.  We look forward to seeing you next spring!  Early Bird Registration ends January 31, 2019.
    Send me information on events happening in your area, and I will include in the next monthly Upcoming Events.  Send to
    continue reading
  • A Mighty Fortress Is Our God – Alternate text

    Last year, during the Reformation 500 celebrations, 

    it is possible that “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” was sung more times, and in more places than ever before.  It is important to note that Martin Luther wrote the original words for this hymn for a particular time and a particular place.  500 years later, Rev. Dr. Allen Jorgenson, professor at Martin Luther University College (formerly Waterloo Lutheran Seminary) penned an alternate text to this familiar hymn tune.  These words were first sung at the 2017 Reformation Open Door service at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, and then at the synod announcement of the newly named Martin Luther University College in June 2018.

    Allen shares his thoughts on the lyrics – both the original and the alternate.

    “Martin Luther’s ‘A Might Fortress’ is a lyrical adaption of Psalm 46.  In it, Luther takes the psalm’s metaphor of God as a fortress and illustrates the implications of this for Christians in his time.  For the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the posting of the 95 Theses, said by some to mark the beginning of the Reformation, I wrote new lyrics to the traditional tune of this famous hymn.  These lyrics take up Luther’s interest in metaphors for God.  Metaphors are poetic pictures that illustrate a truth about God without pretending that the image is exhaustive, or philosophically rigorous.  Metaphors are evocative.  The three I chose are God as poet, midwife and painter.  God as a poet points to God’s creative power.  God as midwife points to God’s loving care.  God as painter points to God’s inspiring power.  This is seen in the phrase ‘God brooks no hesitation.’  The verb brook means to allow, or put up with.  The metaphor imagines God as a painter so taken up in the creative energy of the moment, that God cannot stop until this energy has been put on canvas.  My hope is that just as Luther inspired me to consider other metaphors for God, my words will inspire you to consider metaphors that speak to your experience of God.”

    Here are Allen’s new lyrics to this familiar tune.  Please note that they were written for the rhythmic version of the hymn, which can be found in EvLW #503.

    EIN FESTE BURG – Jorgenson

    continue reading