Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Here's a note sent to some of our staff in regard to worship. The question arose as to whether it's time to change to the First Setting of the Lutheran Book of Worship order (beginning on page 56) and whether we should use the "Kyrie" and "Hymn of Praise" during the Sundays of Pentecost. Deb mentioned that a book she has says they are omitted during this season:

Thanks for the setting 1 bulletin. We'll follow local tradition.

As regards whether to use the Kyrie and Hymn of Praise on the "Sundays after Pentecost," my own preference would be to skip them. But that's only because I personally am very "low church," meaning I am for simplicity and brevity in worship. Left to my own devices, I would do as little what is normally called "liturgy" as would be tolerated.

But, I know that I am not alone. As worship leader for this congregation, it would be unprofitable for me to make unilateral or dictatorial decisions according to my "low church" preferences. So, I choose to follow local tradition. If the local tradition has been to use the Kyrie and Hymn of Praise on Sundays in the season of Pentecost, that's what we'll do.

I am open to change. I would be glad to help the congregation through a study of worship practices. Some would like to change to the new red book. I find the hymn section of that book to be a very good thing. The liturgical section has good aspects, also some issues that I don't appreciate. But that is true with every book ever produced.

I think the congregation has been used to pastors who just "decide" these things. I think that keeps the congregation, including the worship committee, in the dark as regards trends and emphases that new worship books and resources may bring. We end up slipping along with the rest of the wider church without awareness of theological or practical issues. This does not mean that the ELCA is wrong and that I am right in my "low church" way. I just think it's better if a representative group of the congregation study the issues and make decisions with the pastor, rather than just being told what to do. This is more difficult in the short run, but would bring fruit for posterity.

Thanks for listening.

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