From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Board Accepts Worship Plan

From News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Date 19 Apr 2000 04:44:10


April 18, 2000


     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- To help support ministries of the 11,000
congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the
board of the church's Division for Congregational Ministries (DCM)
affirmed the multi-year plan for its worship ministry team at its
meeting here March 24-26.
     The chief goals of the worship ministry team in the next five
years are to develop the "critical skills" of worship leaders throughout
the church; develop approaches to leadership that will help people
understand that the diversity of "responsible choices" in worship is a
strength of Lutheran worship; and develop a new generation of "trial
use" resources which will answer the questions necessary to prepare
successor resources to the Lutheran Book of Worship and other worship
     Staff of DCM's worship ministry team presented its plan to the
     "'The Use of the Means of Grace,' the ELCA's statement on
sacramental practices adopted by the 1997 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, will
be the foundation for what is to come," said the Rev. Paul R. Nelson,
ELCA director for worship.
     "New resources will result from a process which will involve
consultation on such important issues as language and culture, music,
environment and art, and preaching," Nelson said.
     These consultations will identify the working principles to guide
the development of new resources, Nelson said.  A series of "working
groups" will be used to produce "trial use" resources for testing in
ELCA congregations.  In 2001 these resources will begin to be available
to congregations, he said.
     "Congregational use, testing and evaluation of these resources
will provide the information needed to answer questions about what will
serve congregations most faithfully and effectively in new worship
resources," Nelson said.
     "We are not talking yet about a single book to replace the
Lutheran Book of Worship, but this affirmation by the board sets us on
the path toward the information we need to begin making important
decisions about what congregations need.  Some of our congregations have
moved away from the use of a single congregational book in the pew,"
Nelson said.
     Augsburg Fortress Publishers, Minneapolis, the publishing house of
the ELCA, is "an important ingredient in the development, production,
marketing and distribution of worship resources and will be critical to
the effectiveness of these trial use resources," Nelson added.
     Ron Bruggeman, board chair, Omaha, Neb., said the worship team's
plan for 2000-2004 "presents a unique challenge to the church.  In an
age when change is occurring at an ever escalating pace, it is difficult
to remain relevant and contemporary in worship resources, but we
absolutely must.  Assuming that we can marshal the appropriate funding
and staffing, we have the potential to revitalize worship in our
     The board authorized the addition of one executive staff member
and one administrative staff member to "enable the development of the
new generation of worship resources subsequent to secured funding."
     In response to actions taken by the 1999 ELCA Churchwide Assembly,
the board approved revisions to four liturgical rites -- Invitation to
Extended Service; Installation of a Bishop; Ordination; Installation at
Ordination.  The board recommended that the rites be "commended" by the
ELCA Church Council at its meeting in November.
     DCM is organized into ministry teams to carry out its work with
and on behalf of the ELCA's 11,000 congregations.  The division's
mission is "to support ELCA congregations to be alive in Christ as they
participate in God's mission by actively proclaiming the gospel of Jesus
Christ and welcoming all to living faith."

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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