Grace be yours and peace.
It is my privilege to report on the ministry of the Program Committee for Worship (PCW), a standing committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Constituted by the ELCIC’s National Church Council early in 2002, the PCW recommends policies and develops standards and resources for worship. The PCW is composed of three persons: Karen Johnson-Lefsrud (Victoria, BC), Jann Boyd (Saskatoon, SK) and André Lavergne (New Hamburg, ON).
Kolleen Karlowsky-Clark, a Program Coordinator having responsibility for worship worked with us through February, 2003. Assistant to the Bishop Paul Johnson currently relates to the PCW.
Although we have been working for less than a year, we have been very busy. This PCW chronicles its work in Agenda for Worship. Agenda helps PCW members to monitor committee work, assists the PCW in setting the agenda for successive meetings, and keeps the ELCIC constituency apprised of our endeavours. Agenda is regularly circulated across the ELCIC to people engaged in the worship work of the church. Agenda is posted at Lift Up Your Hearts www.worship.ca, the ELCIC’s national worship web site. The following material, drawn from the current (February 18, 2003) Agenda for Worship, represents some of the PCW’s significant endeavours:
The ELCIC has standing in the ELCA’ s Renewing Worship Project. The Canadian dimension, coordinated by Karen Johnson-Lefsrud and André Lavergne, is called ELCIC + Renewing Worship. Some 30–40 ELCIC members, are currently working on various aspects of the project which will see the creation of resources to succeed the Lutheran Book of Worship. Four trial use resources are out, including Congregational Song: Proposals for Renewal, Principles for Worship, Holy Baptism and Related Rites and Life Passages: Marriage, Healing and Funerals.
The PCW has begun to publish a series of articles on matters of worship and spirituality called ELCIC + Worship Matters.The first collection of ELCIC + Worship Matters articles bears on the issue of the every-Sunday celebration of Holy Communion and is called Reclaiming Our Birthright: Pastoral Letters on the Every-Sunday Celebration of Holy Communion. These pastorals have been written by bishops, pastors and seminary teachers.
Michael Mills, OSA, has been named the 2002 Companion of the Worship Arts. The conferral will take place on Friday, June 13, at Camrose, Alberta, in connection with the 2003 ELCIC National Convention.
The PCW is preparing a National Worship Conference having joint Anglican and Lutheran participation around the theme of Breaking Bread… Breaking Boundaries. It will be held in Toronto, July 22–25, 2004. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is being contemplated as a venue for the 2006 NWC.
Established in 1995 by Pastors André Lavergne (editor) and Wendell Grahlman (webmaster), Lift Up Your Hearts www.worship.ca is a web site dedicated to worship, spirituality and the arts. There are some 2000 links and over 300 documents making it one of the largest such web sites on the globe.
A worship planning team is at work on worship for the 2003 National Convention. The PCW is profiling Renewing Worship resources. On the Friday evening, the PCW is hosting a hymn festival featuring renowned church musician David Cherwien. The highlight of the evening is the investiture of The Rev Michael Mills, OSA, as the 2002 Companion of the Worship Arts. In connection with the convention, the PCW will do an every-pastor distribution of resources by hand. The package will include such items as camera-ready masters for the Birthright Letters ; the current issue of Agenda for Worship; a publicity piece and registration materials for Breaking Bread… Breaking Boundaries; promotional material for the 2003–2004 ELCIC Sunday Bulletin Series ; a current information piece on the ELCIC + Renewing Worship project; nomination form for the Companion of the Worship Arts; more.
The PCW reviewed the provisional Order for the Ordination of a Bishop. Requests were subsequently made to liturgical specialists in the Anglican Church of Canada and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for comment. Jann Boyd then took these comments, together with material from the Church of Sweden, material from a number of churches in the Anglican Communion, and observations made in connection with the first uses of the trial rite (BC and SK), and synthesized a clarified rite called The Ordination or Consecration of a Bishop. The rite was itself put through a careful process of review and refinement and has been commended to NCC.
A new series is in the works for 2003-2004 which will feature the work of ELCIC pastor and photographer Bill Bulger (Hinton, AB). The photos will specifically illustrate the gospel reading. The photograph, the pointed psalm, a list of daily devotional readings and a calendar of upcoming festivals and commemorations will appear on the bulletin proper. The devotional readings will be coordinated with those used in Eternity Today. A camera-ready Sunday readings insert will be included for each week.
The PCW oversees ecumenical work related to the catechumenate. Clement Mehlman is the ELCIC representative in, and a board member of, the North American Association for the Catechumenate (NAAC) and serves as the NAAC webmaster.
Pastor Dennis Becker (Oshawa, ON) serves as editor for Eternity for Today, the ELCIC’s quarterly daily devotional magazine and a project of the PCW. It is anticipated that, beginning in Advent, 2003, the series of daily readings will appear in a listing on the 2003–2004 ELCIC Sunday Bulletins.
Pastor Paul Johnson (Winnipeg, MB) is the ELCIC person responsible for worship at the General Assembly to be held July 21-31, in Winnipeg. Pastor Eric Dyck (Montreal, PQ) is sacristan, as he was in Hong Kong. The PCW has designed the opening service. The liturgy is to take place at St. Boniface Cathedral-Basilica. André Lavergne has created a narrative eucharist incorporating an Affirmation of Baptism to take place by the Red River.
The ELCIC is active in the work of the CCT, a gathering of American and Canadian denominational and other worship people. CCT created the Revised Common Lectionary and other materials related to the worship life of the ecumenical church. André Lavergne represents the ELCIC. The CCT recently published a volume entitled Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) Prayers. André Lavergne was one of a number of Canadian contributors. NCC has authorized RCL Prayers for trial use through 2005.
In addition to the above-mentioned highlights, the PCW is active in a number of ecumenical endeavours and, in particular, shares in the worship work of the church with the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC). Several French-language ACC rites have been approved for use in the ELCIC. The ELCIC’s Michael Mills (Toronto, ON) holds an appointment on the ACC’s Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee (FWMC).
The PCW maintains open lines of communication with a number of societies and associations, including the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians (ALCM), the Canadian Churches Coordinating Group on Worship (CCCGOW), the afore-mentioned Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), the English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC), the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada (Hymn Society), the North American Academy of Liturgy (NAAL / Academy), the North American Association for the Catechumenate (NAAC), the Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO) and Societas Liturgica (Societas).
The members of the Program Committee for Worship are grateful to the church for the opportunity to be about our common worship work. We are especially grateful to pastors Kolleen Karlowsky-Clark and Paul Johnson for their collegial support from the National Office, and to Bishop Ray Schultz for his confidence and ongoing interest in our work.
We are also deeply grateful to the many pastors, bishops, seminary teachers and lay people, from across the ELCIC, who have lent of their time, talent and expertise to the Renewing Worship project, to the crafting of the Birthright Letters and to many other PCW endeavours. Thank you. Finally, I would also like to thank my PCW colleagues—Jann and Karen—for their terrific partnership in this wonderful enterprise.
André Lavergne, Chairperson
ELCIC Program Committee for Worship