ELCA Worship News July 2018


In the June edition of Worship News, the ELCA Worship staff was very busy preparing for having a presence in the Interactive Center at the ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston. We are now on the other side of that event and wow, what rich and full days they were! It was a joy for our staff to connect with youth from all around this church. From 9 to 5 each day, young people and their chaperones came to our center to make music together in our music corner, to write prayer petitions as a way to learn about intercessory prayer, to try on colorful vestments and to compete in an Acolyte Olympiad. At one level, it was fun and games. Yet on a deeper level, these youth came to see that worship is for the whole body of Christ; there is a place for them. They could envision themselves as leaders in so many ways, both now and in the future.

In the Sending portion of our center, the youth were given a button and asked to write a dismissal. They could choose a dismissal from the many we suggested, or they could create their own. One youth realized that the Youth Gathering theme, “This Changes Everything,” would work as a dismissal. “Go in Peace. This Changes Everything. Thanks be to God.” Those of us who care for the church’s worship do know it changes how we live with God and one another. If you had a youth attend the Gathering, ask if they visited our center and what they experienced there. And continue to think about how youth are involved in worship, not only on a Youth Sunday but throughout the year.

Prayers for you as you continue to lead and serve the church in worship and mission.

In Christ’s peace,

Deacon Jennifer Baker-Trinity
Program Director for Resource Development

Recently featured on the ELCA Worship Blog:

Summer’s Here: Toward a Leaner Liturgy (June 13)

 Share your event
We enjoy hearing from you! It is a gift for those of us here at Worship to hear about the breadth and depth of worship practices around this church. If your particular context has a story, practice or resource to share with our staff, please send it to worship@elca.org.

Although we cannot share everything we receive, we may contact you for further information.

Hearts • Hands • Voices
Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Ind.
July 23-26

Just days from now, church musicians from around the country will gather on the campus of Valparaiso University for a time of building up the various practical skills related to leading music in worship. The event is Monday, July 23, through Thursday, July 26. Walk-in registrations are available. Visit ALCM.org for a complete list of activities, learning sessions, registration and housing information.

If you are not able to join for the full event, consider attending the Hymn Festival on Wednesday, July 25. It begins at 7 p.m. in the Chapel of the Resurrection.

Other Hearts • Hands • Voices events are occurring around the church in 2018 sponsored by the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians (ALCM). These workshops are for musicians, as well as pastors and other worship leaders, who serve in congregations of all sizes and contexts, each with their own challenges and opportunities. Registration is available on the ALCM website. The next two months include several events:

  • July 27-28 – Minneapolis, Minn.
  • July 28 – Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Aug. 1 – Park Ridge, Ill.
  • Aug. 25 – Vero Beach, Fla.
  • Sept. 8 – Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Sept. 15 – Carmel, Ind.; Fairfield, Conn.; and Mission, Kan.
  • Sept. 22 – Charlotte, N.C.; Schaumburg, Ill.
  • Sept. 29 – Perrysburg, Ohio; Lindsborg, Kan.; Baltimore, Md.; Seward, Neb.; and New York, N.Y.

A full list of additional 2018 events is on the ALCM website.

Frequently asked questions

Worship Frequently Asked QuestionsThe Worship staff regularly receives similar inquiries on worship-related topics from across the church via email and phone.

At the Youth Gathering, one popular activity was trying on the vestments that can be worn by worship leaders. Perhaps you or your youth have questions about the names and functions of these vestments and who wears them. You can find out more with this Worship FAQ: “What are vestments and paraments and Why are they used?”

The answers provided in the ELCA Worship FAQ are not the final word. They are useful guides that may be considered in respect to local context with pastoral sensitivity. Remember that these guides can be reproduced for a worship committee or congregational use, provided the web address is cited on the copies.

If you would like additional information or do not find the question that you are seeking an answer to, we invite you to contact the Worship staff at worship@elca.org.

Augsburg Organ Library: Advent II

The highly acclaimed Augsburg Organ Library expands to include a second Advent volume. This new volume of Advent hymn tunes contains 45 pieces for worship or recital. The Augsburg Organ Library is a highly acclaimed, 11-volume series that reflects the 20th century renewal of the organ and its music. Order here!
A Place for You, Little One: My Holy Communion Board Book by Daniel Erlander

This colorful and inviting board book introduces young children to Holy Communion with its welcoming message: There’s a place for you! Using simplified words and images from the original edition of “A Place for You,” this book gives families a way to read and talk about the special meal of Jesus with their babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

Now you can share Daniel Erlander’s work with all ages! Quantity discounts are available for group use. Pre-order today!

More Days for Praise: Festivals and Commemorations in Evangelical Lutheran Worship by Gail Ramshaw

For centuries the church has paired its church year—focused on Christ’s life, death and resurrection—with a second calendar that uses the lives of saints as a lens to see God’s gracious acts. In this volume, teacher and scholar Gail Ramshaw shows that those whom the church has lifted up are both faithful and fascinating, always pointing to Christ. Each day’s entry includes a brief chronology of the person’s life; a summary of why the person is remembered by the church; an image of, or related to, the commemoration; a quote from the person, where possible; and a devotional hymn and prayer suggestions for the day. View samples and order today!

Augsburg Music 

Find new music for fall, Advent and Christmas from Augsburg Fortress!

Our 2018 fall, Advent and Christmas music is now available! View samples, listen to music and order for your choir at augsburgfortress.org.

It’s not too late to register for Augsburg music clinics!
Augsburg Fortress looks forward to seeing you at one of our six FREE summer music clinics! Read through new seasonal music, attend workshops led by clinicians Wayne L. Wold and Zebulon Highben, participate in a hymn festival, attend handbell workshops and more. Workshops include: “500 Years of Singing-Exploring the Lutheran and Reformed Choral Traditions,” “Treasures from the File Cabinet,” and “Priceless Treasures: Hymns and Songs in Parish Life.”

Go to augsburgfortress.org/music-events to register!

  • July 23-24: Twin Cities, Minn.
  • July 27-28: Seattle, Wash.
  • July 30-31: Chicago, Ill.
  • Aug. 2-3: Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Aug. 6-7: Columbus, Ohio

Music that Makes Community

Augsburg Music GraphicMusic that Makes Community grew out of the liturgical work being done at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, founded by the Rev. Donald Schell and the Rev. Rick Fabian in San Francisco. During the summer of 2005, they realized a desire to create music for worship that would leave congregants free to move around, use their hands and be fully present to one another in worship. They started collecting and composing music and working on ways to use it in worship.

Events held throughout the U.S. and Canada bring musicians and worship leaders together to help people connect and learn through singing by developing and teaching a practice of paperless song leading grounded in a theology of welcome and generosity for the benefit of musicians, clergy, congregants, students and lay leaders who want to use the practice to enrich and enliven their worship and community life. Go to the events calendar for other local offerings throughout the country.

Upcoming events:

  • July 26-27: Summer intensive at The United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, New Brighton, Minn.
  • Aug 18: Paperless Music Test Kitchen at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, San Francisco
  • Sept. 21-22: Intergenerational MMC Weekend at Camp Kirchenwald, Lebanon, Pa.
  • Oct. 10: Music that Makes Community at The Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, N.H.
  • Oct. 15: Music that Makes Community at Cross Roads Camp and Retreat Center, Port Murray, N.J.

Adult Catechumenate training offered
Portland, Ore., Oct. 5-6
Ottawa, Ontario, Oct. 25-28

Are you looking for a way to deepen the faith lives of those coming to your church and enliven your congregation? If so, consider taking a team to an ecumenical training in the adult catechumenate, a process of spiritual formation for people exploring Christianity or seeking to renew their faith.

Based on ancient practices, the catechumenate goes beyond the traditional study of “what Christians believe” to asking questions, telling our stories and discovering God’s story in our story. Through worship, prayer, small groups, biblical reflection, sponsors and ministry in daily life, it creates a journey to baptismal living that changes lives and makes disciples.

At a training event you explore the stages of the catechumenate process and experience its elements and worship rites in both large group and small group settings. These events are recommended for teams of two or more from your congregation or organization (clergy, musicians, lay leaders, and worship and adult faith formation staff) and will provide you with the background and resources you need to adapt and begin a catechumenal process. Registration will be available July 1.

Please visit Journey to Baptism for the latest information and a link to the registration when it becomes available. These training events are sponsored by Journey to Baptismal Living: The North American Association for the Catechumenate. For questions, contact info@journeytobaptism.org.

For more information about the catechumenate, visit journeytobaptism.org.

Savings Images: The Presence of the Bible in Christian Liturgy
Gordon W. Lathrop

The Protestant Reformation emphasized the centrality of Scripture to Christian life; the 20th-century liturgical movement emphasized the Bible’s place at the heart of liturgy. But we have not yet explored the place of the Bible as the subject of critical exegesis in contemporary liturgy, argues Gordon W. Lathrop.

Dr. Lathrop seeks to remedy that lack because it is critical historical scholarship that has shown us the grounding of the text in the life of the assembly and the role of intertextuality in its creation. “Saving” and revitalizing images of the past are at the heart of Scripture and are the work of the gathered community. Lathrop finds patterns in biblical narratives that suggest revising our models of the “shape” of liturgy (after Dix and Schmemann) and our understanding of baptism, preaching, eucharist and congregational prayer. He lifts up the visual imagery at the Dura Europos house church and elsewhere as a corrective to the super-sessionist impulse in much Christian typology. He identifies the liturgical imperative as seriousness about the present rather than an effort to dwell in an imagined past. “Saving Images” is a call for a new, reconceived biblical-liturgical movement that takes seriously both biblical scholarship and the mystery at the heart of worship.

Available in hard cover and Kindle versions.

Connecting with ELCA Worship

The ELCA Worship Blog and Facebook page are your places to connect with what’s going on in worship across our church.

The Facebook page shares prayers, events, updates, blog posts and “liturgy grams,” a short, weekly infographic on the definitions and practices of things we see in worship every week.

The Worship Blog is regularly updated with more in-depth information and stories. Follow it for updates from the worship office and pictures, resources, reflections and happenings from pastors, musicians and worshipers across the church.

We’d love to include your voice too! If you have a story of how worship is meaningful and engaging in your context or want to share something your congregation has particularly loved, send it to worship@elca.org with the subject “For the blog,” and don’t forget to include a related picture and where you are writing from.