Walking Together

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

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

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 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 with the subject "For the blog." Don't forget to identify your congregation and include a related picture.

Read more

Engaging with Young Families - Sparkhouse Webinar

Cute baby reading with his mother

Join our free webinar!

Engaging with Young Families

Tuesday, June 4 @ 11 a.m. CT

How can churches partner with Millennial parents to maximize their strengths and interests to support them in raising faithful children?

In this 45-minute webinar our Director of Development for Faith Formation, Dr. Dawn Rundman, speaks to questions she is often asked in regard to ministry with young families, such as:

Who ARE the Millennials?

  • Basic demographics (when were they born, how many are there, etc.)
  • What we know about their parenting
  • What we know about their faith, religiosity, and spiritual lives

What do we know about helping Millennial families do faith formation...

  • With young children
  • With elementary-age kids
  • With preteens

Register now
This webinar will be recorded. If you are unable to attend at the live event, we recommend that you register to receive the recording via email.

Read more

Seeds Monthly - May 2019

Community ViolenceA 60-day journey toward justice in a culture of gun violence

Twenty-five years ago, the ELCA adopted the social message “Community Violence,” calling for advocacy and an end to the cycle of violence. This message is still all too relevant, with frequent occurrences of gun violence in this country. This new 60-day resource invites the church to journey together through daily observances that call us to face the painful truth of gun violence and work for its prevention as people of God who strive for justice and peace in all the world. It also includes a summary of church statements and teachings related to gun violence. The 60 days of prayer, scripture, stories and church teaching begins June 16. Read more here.

“Dignity and grace in the face of mental illness”mental illness

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of Americans will be affected by a mental illness at some point in life. The ELCA has been partnering with organizations that focus on mental health and supporting the development of mental health ministries, including through a new grant program. This month’s “Living Lutheran” cover article looks at some of these ministries and how the church is building on its 2012 social message “The Body of Christ and Mental Illness.”

Read the article and participate in discussion with a corresponding study guide.

God’s work Our handsSave the date: “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday is Sept. 8

Mark your calendar! “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday is Sept. 8. Since 2013, thousands of ELCA congregations have participated in this day of service. Whether your congregation prepares meals for neighbors in need, cleans parks and beaches, or writes thank-you notes to emergency responders, your service activities offer an opportunity for us to explore one of our most basic convictions as Lutherans: All of life in Jesus Christ — every act of service, in every daily calling, in every corner of life — flows freely from a living, daring confidence in God’s grace.

Find worship resources and promotional items at



For Such a Time

ELCA Synod Assembly video 2019

Synod Video



Application deadline
Applications due
Milwaukee, Wis.
Save the date


Who Is My Neighbor ELCA Archives Lifelines
"Who is My Neighbor?" Vacation Bible School

Being a neighbor means seeing others in the image of God. This VBS curriculum includes skits, stories, crafts and more.


ELCA Archives catalog

The ELCA Archives serves congregations, synods,
historians and others interested
in our church history. Search the
catalog for processed collections.


LifeLines digital flipbook

New! LifeLines features stories of your gifts to ELCA World Hunger and Lutheran Disaster Response at work.



These snippets are available for you to copy and paste into your bulletins.

Refer a student to Lutheran Campus Ministry
Do you know a graduating high school senior or current college student? Help them find a church home at college with Lutheran Campus Ministry. Through this online form, you can refer a student to a community of faith on campus:

“LL Stories” e-digest
Get “Living Lutheran” stories sent directly to your inbox. Sign up for free and choose what categories you’re interested in and how frequently you’d like stories delivered. Sign up for the “LL Stories” e-digest

Congregational Care-for-Creation Covenant through Lutherans Restoring Creation
Did your congregation pray for Earth last month? How can you take those prayers and use them as fuel for new activities, welcoming acts and money-saving practices for your congregation? Offer your council the chance to commit to a Congregational Care-for-Creation Covenant through Lutherans Restoring Creation. The process provides simple actions for existing committees to consider an ecological ethos to their current work. LRC then helps with creating an action plan, offers monthly connection calls and directs you to local leaders who can help make goals become realities. Contact or Phoebe at 617-599-2722 for more information or to request a covenant kit.


ELCA Campaign

40 Days
We are entering the final month of the ELCA’s first comprehensive campaign, Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA.

When we launched the campaign five years ago, we had a goal of significantly increasing support for existing and new ministries — investing in the future of this church, deepening our relationships and expanding ministries that serve our neighbors and communities here at home and around the globe.

Since then, with the support of many ELCA members, congregations and synods, we have accomplished much. Yet there is more work to be done. Please join us as we rally and drive toward the successful completion of this effort on June 30!

Here's how you can help:

  • Pray for the ministries and work of this campaign.
  • Make a gift or hold a special offering for one or more campaign ministries. A gift to the campaign “where needed most” is a great way to make an impact where the need is greatest.
  • Share the campaign with your congregation, friends and family. Use the campaign video and other resources to spread the word and invite others to join.
  • Contact us with questions or for other ideas!



Read more

LIRS Newsletter May 2019


This month, we had the opportunity to celebrate the amazing mothers in our life – and at LIRS that includes many of the resilient and courageous women that we serve. But today, the plight of mothers who are seeking refuge in America, is often marked by sacrifice and loss – in fact, this week brought the heartbreaking news of yet another child who died in U.S. custody.

So, this Mother's Day we remembered those who have lost or been separated from a loved one, those in immigration detention, and those who have yet to find safety in America. We will do our part to offer comfort and compassion to those in our care. Always.


My America… A Mother's Day Story
Earlier this year, we launched My America, a digital storytelling campaign that seeks to lift up the voices of refugees and migrants in America. This month we had the special privilege to receive a story from a mother who was forced to make difficult decisions in order to care for her children… and eventually reunite with them through the support of the LIRS network.

Read the story »

Sorting Out the Truth about the Border
There is a lot of misinformation out there about immigration and the humanitarian crisis at the border, but LIRS breaks it down into myths and fact. Equip yourself with the truth.
Get The Facts »
A Mother's Day Message from Krish
As a new mother myself, I wanted to ask you to consider how your support of LIRS impacts the lives of mothers who are seeking asylum at our southern border.
Read Krish's Message »
Take Action Today to #ProtectMigrantChildren
The death of one migrant child is too many, but so far this year, we know of six children who have died in U.S. custody.

It’s become clear that the system designed to protect these children is failing them, and it's time that we hold our leaders accountable and bring an end to these tragic, preventable deaths.

Take Action Today »

More From LIRS
Read more

Missouri Tornadoes


late on Wednesday, May 22, a tornado ripped through Jefferson City, Missouri causing widespread damage and destruction. Thitornado is just one of at least 29 tornadoes to impact the area over a 24-hour period. IMissouri, at least three people have been killed, homes and businesses were destroyed, and rescues are stlll underway.

These tornadoes are a port of a series of over 170 weather events to strike the region witmore severe weather expected over thMemorial Day weekend.

Tornadoes have also been reported in Oklahoma, Iowa, Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.


Lutheran Disaster Response is working with those in the impacted states, including local synods, congregations, and social ministry organizations to provide immediate relief anlong-term support.

Gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response designated for "U.S. tornadoes" will be used to help thosaffected by tornadoes until the response is complete. Together, we can support those who are on the long road to recovery. Please give today.

Be a part of the response:


Please pray for the communities who were impacted by these destructive tornadoes. May God’s healing presence give them peace and hope in their time of need. Pray that God will deliver comfort to those who mourn the loss of loved ones and strength to those who are working diligently to care for affected communities.


Gifts to “U.S. Tornadoes” will be used to assist those affected by tornadoes until the response is complete.


To learn more about the situation and the ELCA’s response:

  • Share this bulletin insert with your congregation and encourage support.
  • Sign up to receive Lutheran Disaster Response alerts.
  • Check the Lutheran Disaster Response blog.
  • Like Lutheran Disaster Response on Facebook and follow @ELCALDR on Twitter.
  • To download a PDF version of this report, click here.

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Making Christ Known

    ELCA Foundation helps congregations

    Meet Tim Urness, Regional Gift Planner for the ELCA Foundation.

    Regional Gift Planners can partner with you, your congregation, synod, or other ELCA-related organization as you explore the variety of possibilities to give with generosity, and planning. They provide expertise — as well as resources, financial education, and investment and endowment management services to help you joyfully answer the call to love and serve our neighbor.

    All gift planning services are made available to individuals and congregations without obligation. It is their ministry to be of service.

    The ELCA Foundation stands ready to assist you and your congregation, synod or other ELCA organization. They offer expertise as well as resources, financial education, and investment- and endowment-management services to help you make major or planned gifts to the ELCA ministries that have meant so much to you.

    Read more