August 7, 2008

Mission in Worship: National Worship Conference 2008

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:59 pm by elcic2

Was it Order or Chaos? Those amazing three days in Montreal at the end of June! Was it world-renowned liturgical theologian Gordon Lathrop’s talk of the mischief that happens in our Order? Or other keynote speaker Karen Ward’s mention of letting the worship emerge from the assembly that was Order & Chaos? Or, waking up at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning to the People’s Gospel Choir of Montreal proclaiming Resurrection from out of the tombstones on Mount Royal? Chaos when your tired bones lift up to go tell it on the mountain in a power prayer breakfast. Or is prayer Order? What about getting out of one city and travelling to 400 year old Quebec City? In Quebec it was the chaos of language and the order of the Word. Perhaps the surest thing was participants sharing images and words around the font at the closing worship. And where in the heat of summer, did snow cones at registration fit the Order of Anglicans and Lutherans gathering to experience new dimensions in worship? Read the rest of this entry »


July 7, 2008

The Maroon Bus Riders

Posted in Highlights at 9:10 am by elcic2

The following is a collection of comments on the 2008 Worship Convention from some of the individuals who were riding on the maroon bus from Quebec City.

  • As an Anglican, I am grateful for the ways in which our full-communion relationship inspires, challenges, and moves me.
  • Great place to have a conference!
  • Karen Ward is open yet introverted, quiet yet validating, a teacher but mostly an encourager. Bless her!
  • I have learned to clothe the gospel in many colors, many styles and shapes, and most of all, to set the gospel free. Thank you, Order and Chaos team! – Randall
  • There were several profound moments for me. Two in particular stand out: Karen Ward’s assertion that, whatever the idiom, ministry needs to be “whole-hearted” and authentic, and Gordon Lathrop’s assertion that “Christ is the sacrament.” I think I feel that everything else can build on that! – Karen J.
  • A comment was made during Karen’s first plenary session in the Q&A section: “We have to consider, what is worship?” Without a good biblical understanding of what God desires in our worship, is it possible our litugy becomes too focused on “our” performance of it? – Jay D.
  • It is helpful to have gained a much more useful understanding of the “postmodern” definition and the connection with the emerging church.
  • Useful to experience the contrast in styles of the two main presenters and yet the strength of their similar bases of faith.
  • Poignant and pertinent fresh images and metaphors of the elements of worship.
  • I appreciated the two speakers. Quite different but their material and delivery complement on another. Good ideas to take home.

July 1, 2008

Using Worship to Reach Out

Posted in Highlights at 11:14 am by elcic2

The National Worship Conference has given me a foundation that I believe will help unify the sometimes differing opinions of people on our worship committee, and indeed in the congregation, but that will also allow the flexibility that allows us to reach out to other people. We are on a journey in the Liturgical Movement which places us today in a time of contextulization. We have some general principles for liturgical revision: Liturgy needs to be transcultural, contextual, cross-cultural, and counter-cultural. And we have an expanded but clear definition of LIturgy: A public work, voluntarily undertaken by the ekklesia, for the common good of all the cosmos. All that and more in a wonderful setting. I am already looking forward to Vancouver in 2010 (in the summer).

– posted by Lindsay Hognestad, Trinity Lutheran, Regina

June 28, 2008

Highlights in Pictures

Posted in Photos at 12:44 pm by elcic2

Relaxing on the way to Quebec.










– Photos by Rev. Paul Johnson

The Glory of Gatherings

Posted in Highlights at 11:30 am by elcic2

Eric Dyck just thanked the organizing “working group” for the conference – underscoring that it really was a working group, with everybody on it working very hard in their various responsibilities to fashion the orderly functioning of the gathering.

But beyond the order of agenda, speakers, workshops and worship is the fabulous chaos of relationships. It’s the sort of place where I meet friends from across the country, both Anglican and Lutheran – and even a UCC national staff person – and, most importantly, meet new friends. And that’s the stuff, the relationship building stuff, that is the glory of these gatherings. I’ve met and learned from Lutherans who are working in inner city missions and an Anglican “emergent church” mover and shaker, creative young people from both churches with the sort of passion that gives me hope for the future of our churches. Read the rest of this entry »

June 27, 2008

What a Wonderful Day!

Posted in Highlights at 9:07 am by elcic2

What a wonderful day! In addition to the joy of connecting and reconnecting with sisters and brothers in Christ, my highlight today has been our keynote addresses by Gordon Lathrop and Karen Ward. Together they have so thoughtfully opened up the theme and invited us into reflection and conversation about worship. Looking through such lenses as art, literature, theology, past and present culture, electronic media, and lived experience, they have given us perspective on where we have been – and where we are today – in our liturgical understandings and practices.

Karen reminded us today that we see signs all around us that people are spiritually hungry, yet one of the last places that many of them expect spiritual encounter is the Christian church. Gordon spoke to the heart of worship: in the meal and bath, word and prayer, Jesus Christ is with us! We who assemble in the presence of the risen Christ know this is a place of life! How does/can this truth come to those who are searching for profound experience? This and so much more to consider . . .

– posted by Carolyn Speakman

June 26, 2008


Posted in Highlights at 3:58 pm by elcic2

In back of the Anglican Cathedral in Montreal is a lovely public square. Weekday daytimes its benches and tree-shaded spots are filled with local office workers and homeless people alike catching a break, a smoke, a cup of coffee, some spare change. A bust of its namesake, Raoul Wallenberg, stands at the focus of one of two ordered gathering centres within the square. In the other, a burbling fountain marks the focus. The square is surrounded by office towers, department stores, restaurants and pubs, and sits atop one of the most expansive of downtown Montreal’s several-stories-down underground shopping malls.

We’d checked in to our various residences and picked up our nametags and great conference bags, Montreal tourist brochures and conference itinerary information, and made our way to Wallenberg Square for the opening Eucharist and first gathering of the conference. Bit by bit we came from our various places, from the chaos and rush of travel, check-in, finding our places and directions to the conference site, to gather – and, as these things happen, these national gatherings, gathering meant seeing familiar faces, friends not seen perhaps since the last conference 2 years ago, or from much longer ago. Hugs and other warm greetings, shouts of surprise, new introductions being made, the marks of relationship being shown.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Rich Diet and a Full Meal

Posted in Highlights at 3:05 pm by elcic2

We began early today with morning prayer at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, and then trooped downhill to Fulford Hall at Christ Church Cathedral once more. We spent the morning with Gordon Lathrop and Karen Ward, an hour with each, then, after a quick lunch we got another hour with each of them. It’s a rich diet and full meal. Karen shares with us what she’s doing, along with her members, at her ’emerging church’ in the Fremond neighbourhood of Seattle, Washington. The faith community she serves is actually associated with both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Episcopal Church (TEC) south of the border, and she is a pastor on the roster of the ELCA. Gordon is professor emeritus at Philadelphia’s Lutheran Theological Seminary (ELCA) and known around the world and across the oikumene (the household of the faith) as a solid liturgical scholar; he played a key role in the new generation of worship resources which includes Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Now, late afternoon, we have split up into a variety of workshops. I’m sitting in one with about forty people, led by the Rev. Dr. Richard Leggett of the Vancouver School of Theology (VST) on ‘Principles of Liturgical Revision.’ This is where the ELCA, with ELCIC involvement, began the whole process of what was first called ‘Renewing Worship’ and led eventually to Evangelical Lutheran Worship and its attendant resources.

– blog post and picture from Rev. Paul Johnson

Keynote Speakers – June 26

Posted in Highlights at 2:30 pm by elcic2

Rev. Dr. Gordon Lathrop speaks to conference attendees.

 Rev. Karen Ward addresses conference.

 “Anyone remember one of these?” asks Rev. Ward.

– Photos by Rev. Paul Johnson

The Worship Conference Begins!

Posted in Highlights at 2:11 pm by elcic2


We began in Wallenberg Square, part of the Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican) in downtown Montreal. Gathering before the liturgy began, the assembly watched local break dancers and visited, happily renewing old friendships, Anglican, Lutheran, Prince George to Philadelphia, excited about the next few days. As the music died and the dancers faded away, we were invited to gather together for a time of prayer, remembering Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who worked hard to save many Jews from the Nazis during WWII, and is remembered as righteous among the nations by Israel. For his efforts he was arrested by the Soviets and disappeared forever in their injustice system. So we prayed mightily for never again, and then confessed that indeed it had happened again, in many ways, in many places, even now in some parts of the world.

We gathered around the fountain to remember and give thanks for the gift of baptism, receiving absolution, wet and graceful forgiveness, and then processed along the sidewalk to the sound of drums, drawing some curious looks from passersby and from young and old enjoying the cathedral lawn in the middle of that cement jungle. The opening Eucharist was a rich and diverse experience, containing many elements of both order and chaos combined in creative and very imaginative ways. The preacher was the Rev. Dr. Gordon Lathrop (from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Amercia – ELCA), a renowned liturgical scholar. The presider was our local host, Bishop Barry Clarke, the Anglican Bishop of Montreal, and the Rev. Dr. Mark Harris, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)’s Eastern Synod, was present also, representing Bishop Michael Pryse, our ‘local’ ELCIC host. The role of Assisting Minister was confidently and pastorally fulfilled by Bonnie Weppler, recently returned to Canada after ten years of service as an ELCIC long-term missionary in Papua New Guinea. The meal was wonderful, a deep sense of joyful community in Christ.

After the liturgical celebration of community in Christ we paraded once more, informally, but back to the courtyard, breeze ruffling the trees, fountain splashing happily, a long, leisurely time of healthy foods, beverages to suit the tastes of all, and rich, rich fellowship. It was all a great beginning to the 2008 National Worship Conference of the ELCIC and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC).

– blog post and pictures by Rev. Paul Johnson, Assistant to the Bishop, National Office of the ELCIC