For your information: The following letter comes from the November Worship News of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
October was a difficult month for everyone whose work and ministry flows from the ELCA churchwide organization. Churchwide staff learned the details and staff implications of the reorganization plan on October 11.
I want to share some specifics about the future of Worship and Liturgical Resources as it finds expression in the organizational structure of the ELCA. We are currently situated as a section in the Office of the Presiding Bishop. The reorganization has decreased the number of churchwide units and sections from 13 to 3. This was the only way to realistically create a sustainable structure in light of the available mission support from congregations through synods. The sad reality of this reorganization for us is that the section for Worship and Liturgical Resources will be eliminated at the end of this fiscal year. The positions of two of our worship colleagues were eliminated immediately as part of this transition. However, this does not mean the end of our work.
The work of ongoing worship renewal and leadership in worship and liturgical resources will continue in the new Congregational and Synodical Mission (CSM) unit. Over the next several months we will all experience the ambiguity of living into a new structure. I will continue as Executive for Worship and Scott Wielder will continue as Associate Director for Worship and Music during this time of transition into the new structure.
The fact remains that for Lutherans the church is defined by worship. The church is “the assembly of all believers among whom the gospel is purely preached and the holy sacraments are administered according to the gospel” (Augsburg Confession, Article VII). The center from which all mission flows is the weekly gathering around the word of God proclaimed and the sacraments of holy baptism and holy communion celebrated in participating assemblies of singing, serving, and praying people. Scott and I want to reiterate our undiminished commitment to you in your ministries of worship as well as to the work of ongoing support and renewal of the Church’s worship.
Blessings on the journey.
Pr. Robert G. Schaefer, Executive for Worship, Office of the Presiding Bishop
Pastor Steve Johnston of St Peter’s, Brodhagen shares this hymn text with us. It is a 5th verse to Give Thanks For Saints, Evangelical Lutheran Worship 428, which he wrote for All Saints Sunday to celebrate the newly baptized in the past year, the new saints.
#428 Give Thanks For Saints, Verse 5
Give thanks for saints this year baptized
in Christ with life brand new;
sealed with the spirit marked and named,
a gift that makes us all the same,
washed clean with morning dew,
God’s grace for me and you.
Recently I was made aware, again, of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics,a free, online publication living out the Lutheran tradition of addressing social issues theologically, in conversation with Christian ethics and political theology. The September and October issues offer a two part series of articles on “Liturgical Ethics”. See the list of articles below. You will find the journal on the ELCA website at http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/Social-Issues/Journal-of-Lutheran-Ethics/Issues.aspx or click here Journal of Lutheran Ethics .
October 2010: Liturgical Ethics Part II
- Editor’s Introduction, by The Rev. Kaari Reierson
- How Can I Keep from Singing? An Appeal to Christians to Sing the Faith, by Allison Werner Hoenen
- Worship and the Missio Dei, by Melinda A. Quivik
- Planning Ecumenical Worship, by Jennifer Phelps Ollikainen and Michael Reid Trice
- “Music Is Prayer:” Reconsidering Secular Music, by Jon Pahl , Ph.D.
- Liturgical Practice and Ethical Perspective: Revisiting the Marriage Liturgy, by Mitchell Jones
- A Globally Inclusive Ecumenical Model for the 21st Century, by Brian E. Konkol
- Thieves in the Temple: Intellectual Property, Use of Media, and the Law (Not Yet) Written on Our Hearts, by Jonathan Rundman
September 2010: Liturgical Ethics Part I
- Liturgical Ethics, by The Rev. Kaari Reierson
- Liturgical Practice as the Model for Justice, by Melinda A. Quivik
- Recognizing the Other in Liturgical Acts: Religious Pluralism and Eucharist, by Gregory Walter
- Gustaf Wingren on the Christian Life, by Marc Kolden
- Midwives of Word and Sacrament, by Jennifer Phelps Ollikainen
- Prolific Consumption of Tech Goods Harms People and the Environment, by Jeffrey Fitzkappes
- The Jebeliya: Reflections on Development, by Stewart W. Herman
- Branded: Preaching the Law (and Sex) to Youth, by Anna Mercedes
- The Return of Eschatological Economics1, by The Rev. Clint Schnekloth
The Journal of Lutheran Ethics is now offering a series entitled “Preaching on Social Issues”. The introductory article by Shauna K. Hannan, Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, South Carolina, suggests reasons why social issues are often avoided in the pulpit and that this series is designed to help preachers discern when and how to move from being a voice of “objective” analysis to a voice of prophetic proclamation. She argues that this will “certainly aid us as we stake our Lutheran claim as a public church responding publicly to the world through proclamation and action.”
Subscribe to this series at http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/Social-Issues/Journal-of-Lutheran-Ethics/Subscribe.aspx or click here Journal of Lutheran Ethics — subscribe .continue reading
The ELCA has produced a set of litanies and prayers centred on the concerns of HIV/AIDS and malaria in the world, including prayers for annual commemorations (World Aids Day is December 1, 2010). Written by: Ms. Jennifer Baker-Trinity , the Rev. Sarah Bolick-Lang, the Rev. Christopher Duckworth,the Rev. Christine Merkel Nessel, the Rev. Jennifer Phelps Ollikainen and the Rev. Jenn Moland-Kovash. Also, prayer petitions (in the style of the week’s Prayers of Intercession from Sundays and Seasons 2011 resources) are provided to use bi-weekly throughout the church year alternating between prayers for HIV/AIDS and Malaria. See www.sundaysandseasons.com. Click here to find the pdf of this resource Prayers regarding HIV/AIDS and Malaria .continue reading
World AIDS Day 2010 provides a timely Advent opportunity to reflect upon the reality of the HIV pandemic today and to pray for renewed passion, wisdom and action to uphold the human dignity and rights of all people living or at risk of being infected with HIV. You will find liturgical resources developed by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance for use on or around 1 December 2010 at http://www.e-alliance.ch/en/s/hivaids/world-aids-day/. Resources centre around the idea that medicines alone are not enough; a comprehensive and sustainable response to HIV must also involve the protection of human dignity and rights, including the right to food.
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS based in Geneva. For more information, see Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance .continue reading
At this site you will find prayers and resources for celebrating our common call to restorative justice. The theme for this year provided by The Correctional Service Canada (CSC) – Chaplaincy Branch and Restorative Justice Division and The Church Council on Justice and Corrections (CCJC) is Reflexions: Past, Present and Future. This year’s Restorative Justice week will take place November 14 to 21, 2010.continue reading
The Academy of Homiletics has posted a podcast interview with Waterloo Lutheran Seminary Professor David Schnasa Jacobsen about his new book,Kairos Preaching: Speaking Gospel to the Situation (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2009), which he co-wrote with Prof. Robert Kelly. You can view the podcast here: Kairos Preaching .
The book was developed out of a class that Jacobsen and Kelly taught together at WLS, “Congregational Preaching.” Prof. Jacobsen says, “The book is about preaching the gospel in those situations where something must be said: crises, funerals, social injustice, etc. How do we name the gospel when a situation like that arises in the parish?” The podcast will be available at the Academy of Homiletics website for the next few weeks. Their book is available from Augsburg Fortress.continue reading
The Calvin Institute for Christian Worship in Grand Rapids, Michigan hosts an annual symposium in January which is attended by worship leaders from around the world. This year’s theme is “Every Time I Remember You” (Philippians 1:3) and like other years is designed to be an opportunity for “fellowship, worship, and learning.” The conference runs from January 27 – 29, 2011. For more information visit Calvin Institute Worship Symposium .continue reading
Sundays & Seasons 2011, Year A is now available from Augsburg Fortress. This worship planning resource presents the propers, prayers, introductions to the day, alternative worship texts, ideas for the day, worship helps, and suggestions for involving children in worship. Included are week-by-week hymn suggestions, as well as lists of worship music for adult and children’s choirs, keyboard, handbell choirs and praise ensembles.
A CD-ROM version, called Words for Worship 2011, Year A, contains texts and graphical files with content from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. It also includes week-to-week elements from Lectionary for Worship Year A, Revised Common Lectionary; Sundays and Seasons 2011; and the Psalter for Worship Year A.
Words for Worship 2011 includes week-to-week elements from Lectionary for Worship Year A; Revised Common Lectionary; Sundays and Seasons 2011; Psalter for Worship Year A, Evangelical Lutheran Worship Edition; and Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings. On the single CD-ROM inside you’ll find:
- a User Guide (in a printable pdf format)
- biblical lectionary texts linked to the appropriate Sunday, weekday, or festival
- Evangelical Lutheran Worship psalms, psalm tones, and refrains (melody lines only)
- seasonal liturgical texts, including prayers of intercession
- other seasonal materials to enhance worship
- weekly reflections based on the gospel reading
- calendar of festivals and commemorations with brief descriptions of those commemorated