Last week, we published a fine new worship planning resource, In These or Similar Words: Crafting Language for Worship.
This resource was published to help guide individuals and groups who wish to prepare new worship texts for their communities.
- some discussion of foundational principles for evaluating sources of language and images used in such texts;
- individual and group exercises to identify and describe your local worshiping community’s makeup, values, and sensibilities;
- brief commentaries about “what’s going on” in specific liturgical texts within the services of Holy Communion and Holy Baptism in Evangelical Lutheran Worship;
- examples of locally crafted language for worship for illustration and inspiration;
- and reproducible pages with practical tips and helps for the actual process of writing new texts.
This resource, created by a team of fourteen people, has been in the works since January 2013. Here is a description of their work from the book’s preface:
“In January 2013, fourteen people gathered for a three-day writing retreat at the Calvin Center, twenty miles south of Atlanta, Georgia. Those days included worshiping together; talking about liturgy, language, the church, and current cultural contexts; quiet time for writing; and group time for assessing honestly and constructively the writing that was produced. The idea was to develop a body of material that could serve as a practical guide to crafting liturgical language for a specific context, as well as a variety of illustrative examples. This book is the result of that collaborative effort. Everyone who contributed to this resource did so thinking of a variety of local contexts and situations. We composed flexible prayers. We adapted a number of improvisation techniques, as used by musicians, to structure improvised speech. We experimented with fresh language and fine-tuned it. We wrote prayers that minimized the assembly’s reliance on paper.
Everyone involved in the project had a profound respect for the liturgical texts as presented in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, and sought to keep the spirit of these texts at the heart of our work, while also leaning into the freedom and flexibility that are intended in our principal worship resource, but often overlooked in our actual use of it. As a result, the writing process felt less like a typical workshop and much more like worship.”
Augsburg Fortress Sr. Editor Suzanne Burke and Associate Director/Worship and Music in the ELCA churchwide office Scott Weidler served as contributors and co-editors. Here is the talented line-up of pastors, church musicians, liturgists, and worship leaders from a variety of contexts across the ELCA who participated in this retreat and creation of this worship planning resource:
Tracey Breashears Schultz
Richard Bruxvoort Colligan
Scott A. Moore
Peter J. L. Perella
Martin A. Seltz
Jared R. Stahler
Copies of In These or Similar Words are available for purchase via our website or by calling our sales and service team at 800-328-4648. Or, if you’d like a preview, a free sample is available on our website by clicking the sampler tab.
If you are attending the ELCA Worship Jubilee, Called to be a Living Voice, in Atlanta in July or one of our several Augsburg Fortress Summer Music Clinics, you will be able to purchase copies on site.
Thank you to the team who spent so much time crafting this helpful resource!
Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress