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Tenth Biennial Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
July 21 - 24, 2005
Winnipeg, Manitoba

In Mission for Others
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REPORT ON RENEWING WORSHIP
FACTS AND UPDATE — MAY 2005

Renewing Worship is a 5-year churchwide project that has been broadly participatory.

  • In the ELCIC and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), thousands of people have participated, submitting original work, serving on development and editorial teams, attending events, testing provisional materials, visiting www.renewingworship.org and providing feedback.

Renewing Worship will result in a new family of resources that:

  • will support worship in all ELCIC congregations regardless of size, location, style of music, ethnic background. Variety and flexibility are a priority.
  • will be available in different formats (print, CDs, web delivery).
  • will continue to unfold over time, in response to changing mission needs.
  • will have at its centre a new primary book of worship intended to replace Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW).

A new book of worship:

  • Content decisions are subject to a carefully framed liturgical review process in the ELCA, and, by ELCA invitation, the ELCIC is a partner in this review process. The ELCIC Program Committee for Worship (PCW) will report on the process to the National Church Council (NCC).
  • Publication is anticipated in October 2006.
  • A new "book" will be available in both print and electronic form.
  • A new book will provide a "core" rather than a comprehensive collection of hymns and liturgical material. Material included will be selected because of its benefits to the whole church. The surrounding family of resources will provide many ways to supplement a new book of worship.
  • A new book of worship will reflect what we hold in common.

Why publish a book in what some people consider to be the "electronic" age?

  • A new book provides a tangible sign of what we hold in common, fostering a sense of shared identity.
  • A new book will provide a reminder of our unity in the midst of worship diversity.
  • A new book will provide all worshippers access to the core of texts and music that shapes and nourishes faith in individuals and communities. Access should not be limited to worship planners if everyone has a stake in how worship comes to expression.
  • While an increasing number of congregations produce weekly worship folders that include much, if not all of the service, it is still true that most ELCIC congregations rely on a book or books for use in worship, including the singing of hymns.

How will most congregations afford this investment in a new primary book of worship?

  • Many, if not most, congregations have a history of purchasing primary worship materials in ways that do not burden their regular budget. Memorial gifts, local fundraising projects, and special offerings are among the ways to invest in materials that will serve the mission of the church for the next generation.

Who decided we need a new book?

  • In November 2000 the ELCA Church Council affirmed the recommendation to undertake a comprehensive and cohesive approach to developing and delivering primary worship resources in response to the mission needs of a changing church. Their action set in motion the five-year project known as Renewing Worship and, in the context of that project, it was decided to work toward the publication of a new book. In March 2001 NCC endorsed full participation by the ELCIC in the project, and the ELCIC was graciously invited into the process by the ELCA.

What will happen at the 2005 National Convention regarding Renewing Worship?

  • On Friday morning, 22 July, there will be a Renewing Worship breakfast, a chance for all to hear more details of the process and to ask questions, prior to the plenary time. During the plenary session, voting members will hear a report with recommendations that reflect an underlying premise of Renewing Worship, namely, that worship renewal is about more than new worship resources.

Will voting members vote on the contents of the new book, that is, approve the new book?

  • No. Decisions about proposed contents have been shaped by the participation of individuals and congregations throughout the last five years. Input is still welcome and should be sent to renewingworship@elca.org . There is no “vote” on the specific contents of a new book of worship. Rather, the ELCIC has an authorized process in place that seeks to maximize the likelihood that primary worship resources will benefit the whole church. The ELCIC National Convention in July is one of many venues (along with the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August) for input to the process, and to the future development of worship resources.

What if my favourite hymn is not in the new book?

  • Remember that this is a core volume rather than a comprehensive collection. There will be more hymns and songs than in LBW. Many are from LBW, With One Voice, and other resources that are familiar. There will be many additional songs that reflect our hope and intention of being a more multicultural church, a part of the global Christian community. Still, the absence of a favourite hymn is not cause for concern, because all of our “favourites” will most likely be available in some form within the family of resources.

Can we still recommend changes to the proposed list of hymns?

  • Yes, recommendations may still be sent to renewingworship@elca.org or to Renewing Worship, ELCA, 8765 W. Higgins Road, Chicago, IL 60631. It is important to know that the proposed collection of hymns was developed carefully, with the needs of the whole church (both ELCA and ELCIC) in mind and with the help of thousands of people who have been involved in Renewing Worship.

What settings of the liturgy will be included?

  • Worship renewal does not abandon what is old for the sake of something new, but recognizes the best of a treasured tradition, bringing it to rich expression, while being faithful in the midst of change. A new book is likely to include some settings that have served us very well for a generation and continue to be important to many congregations of the ELCIC. A new book will also include settings that are new to us. Assessment of responses to provisional settings that were tested is still underway. Active consideration of additional material will ensure inclusion of liturgical settings that are of the highest quality.

Will the material from Renewing Worship series of provisional resources appear in more lasting resources?

  • More lasting resources, like a new book of worship, are developed in light of feedback from provisional materials. Many materials published as part of the Renewing Worship process will be revised prior to any final publication as a result of widespread feedback.
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