Evangelical Lutheran Worship Reflects Church-wide Diversity (April 2015; Volume 4, Issue 4)
Reflecting awareness of and attention to the differences that shape and enrich our worshiping assemblies in various contexts, Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) is the primary resource of the ELCA. Borrowing from resources like Libro de Liturgia y Cántico and This Far By Faith, ELW seeks to reflect a cultural diversity that reflects congregational life across the church.
Differences within particular communities of faith – cultural, ethnic, generational, economic, and theological – contribute to the diversity of worship practices. Differences from place to place bring even more riches to our church. The content of ELW was developed collaboratively with the participation of people and congregations across North America. It draws on the various perspectives, experiences, and pieties that reflect the breadth of the church today.
The variety of hymns, songs, and liturgical settings will engage communities of faith in every corner of the church, contributing to a deeper sense of connection. Offering great flexibility for planning, this worship book enables assemblies in a wide variety of contexts to gather around the means of grace using a richly diverse yet common repertoire of prayer and song. (from Augsburg Fortress)
There are two ways to think about diversity and variety in worship. On one hand, you can think about the comfort that can come from worship that is familiar. On the other hand, you can think about the new and fresh understanding that can come from new words or singing old words to new music. The ten settings for Holy Communion contained in the ELW represent a mix of these.
When we first started using the new hymnal last year, we used a setting most of us were familiar with. This familiarity of music and words allowed us to get used the unfamiliarity of the new book and some extra page turning. Starting on the Second Sunday of Easter (April 12), we are going to switch that up. We are going to begin using ELW Setting #2, which will provide us with new music, but less page turning.
I know that this new setting will come with a steep learning curve, but I hope that you will be gracious with yourselves and the assembly as a whole as we learn together. To help us along, we have planned a couple of opportunities to practice. Please plan to join us for as many of these opportunities as possible:
Sunday, April 12, 9:00-9:15am
Sunday, April 12, after worship
Sunday, April 19, 9:00-9:15am
But you can also begin learning on your own by pulling out your ELW and clicking on these linked resources:
- Kyrie & Hymn of Praise (YouTube)
- Online Music Files (clickable links!)
I am sure that this new setting will grow on you and will work to enhance our worship experience if you give it a chance. Thank you for your partnership and courage!