ELCA Worship News – May 2019

Friends in Christ,

Greetings in this Easter season! It is our hope that Alleluias are still resounding and that the peace and joy of the Risen Christ is being shared in your midst. Such sharing happens when the church sings together, singing the texts and tunes that form and express the faith of each worshiping community as part of the larger body of Christ.

In 2006, Evangelical Lutheran Worship was released for use in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Congregations are still mining the depths of its resources or perhaps discovering it for the first time. However, as church and society continue to encounter change, new needs and new opportunities arise. Renewal is ongoing for the life of the church and its worship.

Now in 2019, the ELCA and Augsburg Fortress are beginning work on a printed liturgy and hymn supplement to Evangelical Lutheran Worship. In this May issue of “Worship News,” you will find a link to an online hymn recommendation form hosted by Augsburg Fortress. You are invited to use this form to make recommendations of hymns/songs written or composed since 2005 that have not only served a particular setting but that would also be valuable to the wider church. Please know that the ELCA worship staff and Augsburg Fortress will carefully review these recommendations in the months ahead.

Jennifer Baker-Trinity“Christ is alive! Let Christians sing” begins one beloved Easter hymn. We look forward to this supplement project and the ongoing process of renewing worship, trusting the work of the Spirit that enlivens our song and prayer.

Whether you take this season to reflect back, take stock or plan ahead, may your 50-day celebration be spirit filled as we remember the one who died, is risen and will come again.

Peace in Christ,
Jennifer Baker-Trinity
Program Director for Resource Development

From the ELCA Worship Blog:

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.

Frequently asked questions

The Worship staff regularly receives similar inquiries from across the church on the same worship-related topics.

Music plays a significant role in Lutheran worship. Whether it is led by voice, by piano and organ, or by praise bands, learn more about how decisions can be made within your congregation:

What is the role of music in the Lutheran liturgy?

How do we select hymns and songs for all seasons?

Answers provided in the ELCA Worship FAQ are not the final word. They are useful guides that may be considered with pastoral sensitivity to their local context. Remember that these guides can be reproduced for a worship committee or congregation, provided that 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.

devotions for lentSundays and Seasons: Worship planning resources

Plan worship with comprehensive content and ideas for liturgy, music, preaching and visuals. Resources for Year A (2019-2020) are now available.

The “Worship Planning Calendar” has served the church as an appointment calendar, a template for planning worship, and a guide for daily prayer for years as an 8 1/2″ x 11″ desk diary. Suggestions and comments about creating a smaller, more portable format, similar in size to other planners available, without losing the rich content that makes it such a trustworthy companion to “Sundays and Seasons”, have been taken into consideration.

Augsburg Fortress is happy to announce that beginning with Year A, 2020, Worship Planning Calendar will now be shifting to a smaller format of 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″. This spiral-bound planner will continue to provide two-page spreads for each week and retain many of the features that enhance worship planning. Space is provided to record appointments and reminders for each day. Order Today!

Summer Music ClinicAugsburg 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 Robert Hobby and Jeremy Bankson, participate in a hymn festival, attend handbell workshops and more. Workshops include: “Something to Sing About,” “The Difference Between a Good Singer and a Great Singer Is a Pencil,” “Planning a Hymn Festival or Festival Worship Service” and “Seasons of Blessings, a Hymn Festival!”Learn more and sign up today.

WebinarWebinar: “Basic Principles of Worship & Music in the Lutheran Tradition”
NEW DATE: MAY 23, 2 p.m. Eastern Time

The Association of Lutheran Church Musicians (ALCM) invites you to sign up for a webinar to hear Carl Schalk, noted Lutheran composer, author and lecturer, discuss how worship and music come together in the Lutheran tradition. Non-ALCM members are welcome. Click here to register.

Summer Music Clinic

Zion Lutheran Church, Penn Hills, Pa.
Saturday, June 1, 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Whether you are paid or volunteer, or serve in a large, medium or small worshiping community, this low-cost, full-day event will be helpful to all. Regardless of your context with its own unique challenges and opportunities, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod invites you to join John Weit, ELCA program director for music, and Andrew Sabol, director of Zion’s music ministries, along with other church musicians, to learn about practical skill-building and effective leadership of assembly song. The event includes a free Open Sing at 1 p.m.

Go to swpasynod.org/musicians to learn more and to register for this event.

Dinner Church“Dinner Church” workshop with Kendall Vanderslice
Oceanside Lutheran Church, Oceanside, N.Y.
June 5, 10:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m.

Open to everyone (though space is limited to 50 registrants), this full-day workshop will include teaching about the history, theology and practice of dinner church as well as interactive workshops for planning dinner church in our own settings and thinking about how eating together and God’s word go hand in hand. The day will close with a dinner church service.

Registration is $50. Participants will receive a copy of Kendall’s book, “We Will Feast,” as well as all materials necessary for the workshop and two meals (lunch and dinner).

If you have any questions, email Oceanside Lutheran Church at

Pray, Praise, and Give Thanks“Leading the Church’s Song: Doing Common Things
Uncommonly Well”
ALCM 2019 Biennial Conference, Portland, Ore.
June 24-27

The Association of Lutheran Church Musicians invites all worship leaders to the national biennial worship conference.

Registration is still open. Advance single-day registration is also available.

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,” short infographics 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.” Don’t forget to identify your congregation and include a related picture.