Thursday, February 28, 2008

Swedish Eucharistic Prayer

Here is an English translation of the Eucharistic Prayer used in the Church of Sweden as published on its web site and as I've inserted it in my Altar Book.

Praise be to you, Lord of heaven and earth.

You have revealed your mercy towards your people
in giving your only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish,
but have eternal life.

We give thanks for the redemption you have prepared
for us through Jesus Christ.

Let Your Holy Spirit come into our hearts
to enlighten us with a living faith.

Sanctify by your Spirit this bread and wine,
which earth has given and human hands have made.

Here we offer them to you,
that through them we may partake
of the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On the same night in which he was betrayed,
he took bread, gave thanks,
broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
”Take, eat.
This is my body, which is given for you.

Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, he took the cup,
gave thanks, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
”Drink this, all of you.
This is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me.”

Therefore, heavenly Father, we celebrate this supper
in remembrance of your Son's passion and death,
his resurrection and ascension.

We will eat the Bread of Life and drink the Cup of Blessing
until the day when he comes again in glory.

We ask you:
remember the perfect and eternal sacrifice
through which, in Christ,
you have reconciled us with yourself.

Grant that we may be united into one body,
and be made a perfect living sacrifice in Christ.

Through him, and with him, and in him,
by the power of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father,
for ever and ever.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Requiescat in pace:
+William H. Lazareth, STS

The initial announcement on Monday morning was brief:
Dean Rodney Eberhardt of the Metro New York Chapter has informed me that the Most Rev. William H. Lazareth, STS, departed this earthly life at 12:10 PM on Saturday February 23, 2008. A private funeral will be held in Bar Harbor, Maine for the family. The current plans are to hold a memorial sevice (date to be determined) in Eastertide to be held at St Matthew's Lutheran Church, White Plains, NY. When the date and further information is available, the information will be given to Bishop Lazareth's fellow members in the Society.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord + Yea, for they rest from their labors.

Frank C. Senn, STS,
We have lost a giant in the Faith.

You can read a the obituaries from Carthage College and the ELCA News Service. They refer to much of his career as a seminary professor at Mt. Airy, author, parish pastor, world-renowned theologian (particularly for his work with the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches, the first Bishop of the ELCA's Metropolitan New York Synod, and still a teacher in "retirement."

None of the obituaries have yet mentioned that Bishop Lazareth was one of the early subscribers to the Rule of the Society of the Holy Trinity, one of two retired ELCA Bishops (now both departed from this life) to do so. He participated as he was able in the STS Metro New York and Wisconsin Chapters and by occasionally representing the Society while addressing theological conferences.

I first knew of Dr. Lazareth some 30 years ago (ouch!) when I was a young layman in the Lutheran Church of America, while he headed theDepartment for Church in Society, Division for Mission in North America, and you'll find some of his work in my library, both books and LCA studies. I was privileged to meet him a couple of times, in 1993 when he was one of the Hein-Fry lecturers and in 2004 when he was one of the STS speakers at a Colloquium on the Ministry sponsored by the Society and Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne entitled “The Lutheran Ministry in Light of the Great Tradition.”

Bishop William H. Lazareth, STS, churchman (1928-2008). There are few like him left in the ELCA. Much to our loss.

    In paradisum deducant te angeli:
    in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres
    et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
    Chorus angelorum te suscipiat,
    et cum Lazaro quondam paupere aeternam habeas requiem.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lutheran Lite vs. Luther

Light Side is the section of The Lutheran magazine where people send in "funny" anecdotes. The current issue's Light Side, headlined "At the communion rail," includes this:
A couple in our congregation had their visiting grandson, Henry, then 5, hold the bucket for empty plastic communion cups while they served communion. The next morning Henry said to his grandma: “Next time I’ll serve the drinks and you can do the trash.”

Cheryl Geller
Minot, N.D
Think on this for a moment.

Empty plastic communion cups tossed in bucket. Five-year-old sees trash. Grandma and friends think this is so cute.

Such is the state of Lutheranism in 2008.

Then there's Herman Sasse's reference to a description of Dr. Luther's personal conduct as celebrant:
In many churches in which he celebrated the Lord's Supper there remained for a long time memories of his conduct, e.g., in the Church of Our Lady in Halle during his last journey to Mansfeld. Long afterwards they were still telling of this celebration, one of the last, if not the last of his life.
The great number of communicants had wearied his aged arms; at one point his quivering hand caused him to spill a little of the consecrated wine on the floor. Luther put the chalice down on the altar, fell to his knees, and sucked up the wine with his mouth so that it should not be trodden under foot, whereupon the whole congregation broke out in sobbing and weeping.
(We Confess: The Sacraments, pp. 133-134, referencing K. Loewe, quoted by K. Anton, Luther und die Musik [1928], p. 59)
Such was the state of Lutheranism in the 1540s.

It is said that actions speak louder than words. What do Luther's actions say about the Sacrament? What has young Henry's congregation taught him about the Means of Grace? Which seems right and salutary to you?

(Hint: trash vs. reverence)

"...whereupon the whole congregation broke out in sobbing and weeping."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lutheran CORE News 2.1

February 12, 2008
(Please copy and distribute as widely as possible.)

New web site!
Lutheran Core has a new web site - Thanks to Jerry Youngquist in North Branch, Minn., for designing and building the new site. Your feedback and suggestions for improving the site are most welcome. Send your comments to

We would like more information added to our blog -, which is linked to the "News" menu on our web site. Please read the blog, comment on anything there, and pass it on to others.

There is also a Lutheran CORE group on Facebook –! We urge you to join the 29 members now in the group. It is a great way to interact with some of the younger folks who also are dedicated to reform within the ELCA.

+ + +

New Advisory Council
We welcome a group of outstanding leaders in the ELCA who have agreed to serve on our Advisory Council. Surely you will recognize some of the names on this list:
Mr. Alan Beaver, Salisbury, North Carolina, member of Lasting Word, North Carolina Synod
Rev. John Beem, Miltona, Minnesota, former Bishop of East Central Wisconsin Synod
Dr. Robert Benne, Professor Emeritus Roanoke College, Virginia, and Director of the Center for Religion and Society
Dr. Carl Braaten, Sun City West, Arizona, Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology and Senior Editor of Pro Ecclesia
Rev. James R. Crumley, Jr., Chapin, South Carolina, former Bishop of the Lutheran Church in America
Rev. Paul Gausmann, Pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, York, Pennsylvania and member of Lutherans Reform! in the Lower Susquehanna Synod
Rev. Jeffray Greene, Pastor of American Lutheran Church, Rantoul, Illinois and Editor of FOCL Point, Fellowship of Confessional Lutherans
Rev. Gary Hatcher, Pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church, Greene, Iowa and member of call to Faithfulness in the NE Iowa Synod
Rev. George Mocko, Towson, Maryland, former Bishop of Delaware-Maryland Synod
Rev. Dennis Nelson, Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, West Covina, California and member of the Evangelical Mission Network
Dr. James Nestingen, St. Paul, Minnesota, Professor Emeritus, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota
Rev. Richard Niebanck, Delhi, New York, Former Secretary for Social Concerns, Department of Church in Society, Division for Mission in North America in the Lutheran Church in America
Rev. Russell Saltzman, Pastor of Ruskin Heights Lutheran Church, Kansas City, Missouri, and former editor of Forum Letter
Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Columbus, Ohio, former Bishop of Southern Ohio Synod and Chair of ELCA Conference of Bishops
Rev. Beth Schlegel, Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, York, Pennsylvania
Rev. Fred Schumacher, Manchester, New Jersey, Executive Director of the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau
Rev. Morris Vaagenes, Shoreview, Minnesota, Pastor Emeritus of North Heights Lutheran Church, Roseville, Minnesota
We will gather this group for an initial meeting in late April and invite them to consider how they can support the work of Lutheran CORE. This group is particularly qualified to comment upon the draft social statement on human sexuality and the Bible study materials being released for congregations. We are hoping that they can add ideas from their own areas of expertise.

+ + +

Steering Committee
The Steering Committee has met twice since our last newsletter, once by conference call and once at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church near Columbus, Ohio.

We clarified some administrative issues and reaffirmed our financial commitment to reimburse the WordAlone Network for their services to us. Lutheran CORE steering committee members also will attend meetings of the ELCA church council.

In October 2002 the ELCA outreach office in Chicago acknowledged a relationship with an independent Lutheran organization, Lutherans Concerned/North America (a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered group). Lutheran CORE is seeking similar recognition by a churchwide office. The appropriate paperwork has been submitted and we have sought advice from appropriate ELCA officials on how to apply for this status. It will not constitute endorsement by the ELCA, nor will it establish any control by the ELCA over how we operate. It may allow for donations to be made to Lutheran CORE using the Simply Giving program.

+ + +

Annual Gathering
The annual gathering of Lutheran CORE will again be held in conjunction with the WordAlone Network annual convention. We will meet during the first workshop time on Monday afternoon, April 14, at Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley, Minn. The Steering Committee will meet Monday evening and Tuesday morning after the event. Our friends and supporters are always welcome at steering committee meetings.

You must pre-register with WordAlone to reserve a lunch on April 14. For registration information for the WordAlone convention, please watch their website –

The annual gathering of LC3 will be held during the second afternoon workshop session at Calvary on April 14.

+ + +

Unauthorized ordinations
We are concerned that some ELCA bishops are doing nothing about unauthorized ordinations of persons not in compliance with the ELCA’s standards. In particular, there appears to be no discipline for congregations who ordain and call these persons. As we receive information, we hope to publicize it in this newsletter. Please email specific, verifiable information to Pastor Steve Shipman at,

+ + +

News from the field
In spite of icy road conditions that kept several Lutheran CORE representatives and a number of people from greater upstate New York from attending, about 80 persons met in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, Feb. 2 for the WordAlone Regional Mission event. Surely the groundhog saw his shadow if he dared to come out of his home. Paull Spring sent a manuscript he had planned to present in person and there was much discussion afterwards.

Lutherans Reform! in the Lower Susquehanna Synod in Penn. met in January. with seventeen people in attendance. Updates were made to the suggested list for nominations for various synod and churchwide offices. The group’s new web site is A synod wide event is planned on Mar. 31 at Messiah Lutheran Church in Lebanon, Penn., which will introduce congregations to the reform group’s work. Contact Pr. Paul Gausmann at for more information.

The Indiana-Kentucky Renewal Network sponsored an open forum on Feb. 9 at Christ the Savior Lutheran Church in suburban Indianapolis. The theme of the gathering was "Speaking the Truth in Love - Reforming the Reform." Paull Spring was the keynote speaker, and there were additional presentations and workshops on the network’s ministry and its goals for the ELCA. More than fifty people participated. The group is an organized, active, and growing renewal movement within the Indiana-Kentucky Synod. The group has also asked to be a member group of Lutheran CORE, bringing the total to nine member groups.

Please email the editor with reports of local gatherings. We wish to encourage people around the country with news of the many good things that are happening in the work of reform.

+ + +

Thanks for your donations
We are overwhelmed by the generosity of many people. The steering committee was pleased to hear a report that a large congregation in California joined our growing base of congregational supporters and voted to make a generous contribution. Please learn the process for including Lutheran CORE in your congregation's budget and help us expand our mission of working for reform in the ELCA. We also welcome and need individual gifts in any amount, which have sustained us thus far.

It will not be inexpensive to gather the Advisory Council, and already we are looking at major expenses for our presence at the Minneapolis churchwide assembly in 2009. Our steering committee donates their time, but most need travel reimbursement for meetings and other events including ELCA church council meetings.

Our relationship with the WordAlone Network allows us to avoid many distractions from our mission of reform. While we still hope to secure our own 501(c)(3) non-profit status in the future, for now we operate administratively within WordAlone. Please send your contributions to:

        Lutheran CORE
        c/o WordAlone Network
        2299 Palmer Drive, Suite 220
        New Brighton, MN 55112

Make checks payable to WordAlone Network, and write "Lutheran CORE" on the memo line. Contributions to Lutheran CORE are tax deductible as permitted by law.

+ + +

Pastoral letter
In closing we share a portion of a letter Pr. Tom Renquist wrote to the members of Lord of the Hills Church in Centennial, Col., where he serves. He indicated that 25 years ago he supported the ordination of practicing homosexuals. He continued:
In that congregation we began the discussion by inviting in homosexual Christians who told us, “This is the way God made me, so it must be good.” And precisely there is the misstep: beginning with our human experience. Building our theology on the human experience is a foundation of sand. Eighty years ago, when the Swiss theologian Karl Barth first began his Church Dogmatics, he made just such a false start. Thank goodness, he recognized his mistake after his first volume and started all over again:
…in this second draft I have excluded to the very best of my ability anything that might appear to find for theology a foundation, support, or justification in philosophical existentialism. The Word or existence?
Since we all do know homosexual persons – and like them and love them! – it is so tempting to begin with the human experience: here is X, who so obviously has gifts for the ordained ministry in the parish; whether he has a homosexual partner or not, should we not ordain him and make use of his gifts? Once again it is the argument: “This is the way God made me; therefore it must be good.”

But that is an approach that stays stuck in Genesis 1 and 2 (the Stories of Creation) and totally forgets Genesis 3 (the Story of the Fall into Sin). None of us are as God intended us to be; sin has tainted us all. In fact, that was the sin of Adam and Eve – and therefore the sin of us all – the desire to exalt ourselves and be like God. To this audacious presumption of humans to become God, God answers with the gracious good news of the Gospel: God became human!
His entire letter is posted on our web site at

With such thoughtful, compassionate, and dedicated supporters, there is hope for the ELCA. Keep our bishops, pastors, congregations, and leaders in your prayers. There are no limits on what the Holy Spirit can accomplish. As we observe Lent, recall that the whole Christian movement began with one lonely man dying on a hill outside Jerusalem. We who believe that the power of God raised Jesus can scarcely begin to imagine what this God can do with the ELCA.

Pastor W. Stevens Shipman, steering committee member and communications committee

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Moved by Statistics and Personal Accounts

Daniel J. Lehmann, editor of The Lutheran magazine, leads his editorial in the current (January 2008) issue:

Words pack a punch

Emotion, action just two responses

If you read no other line in this issue of The Lutheran, make it the following: Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes—one child every five seconds.

Reviewing the draft of this month's cover story ('There really is hope') in the dark, cold, early evening hours of December, my eyes watered. That staggering number stopped me. Because I had just completed the main piece a few minutes earlier, I knew that leaders in this field contend hunger can be eradicated. Yet it is not.

Hopefully others will be moved by the statistics and personal accounts in the package of articles on hunger. And act.

That's what a magazine such as The Lutheran is supposed to do: tell stories about our church that inform, challenge, lift up, edify and occasionally cause a stir.
I was first moved by such stories when I was 15 and a layman of our congregation gave a Temple Talk on the just established World Hunger Appeal of the Lutheran Church in America. Ever since the Hunger Appeal has been a regular part of my offering and, since 1974, Lutherans have been assisting the hungry abroad and at home with direct relief and teaching them to help themselves.

Yes, there are times when the stories speak too much of "advocacy" (or political lobbying, which has been part of the Appeal's efforts from the beginning), but there are few better ways to alleviate hunger, both immediate needs and over the long term. We have not eliminated hunger; that was a naïve hope 34 years ago that forgot the effects of human sinfulness. But Lutherans have made a difference, a big one.

But Mr. Lehmann's editorial arrived in my mailbox in a particular context -- conversations on ALPB Forum Online (here and here) and on the "Whither ELCA" group on LutherLink about the March for Life and the story of the ELCA Board of Pensions Medical plan's coverage of all abortions, no questions asked, for the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. The issue within the ELCA was turned into, "Should an ELCA Social Statement (namely, the one on Abortion) help determine church policy and practice. Alas, the answer to that has, thus far, been an emphatic no. At least when it comes to abortion and our medical plan.

Given that context, I did a little figuring. And in the United States of America (the land of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness), one child is aborted about every 25 seconds. Worldwide it is 126,000 every day, or about 87 every minute.

Every minute, 11 children die of hunger, and the ELCA (quite rightly) goes to considerable effort to prevent as many of those as we can. As for the 87 who, in that same minute, are prevented from being born, we are not only silent, we are complicit.

"Hopefully others will be move by the statistics and personal accounts... And act."