“We are church,
we are Lutheran,
we are church together,
and we are church for
the sake of the world.”
– ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
As the ministry of publishing of the ELCA, we often measure our work against this inspirational statement from our presiding bishop, Elizabeth Eaton.
We are church: to us, this means that we are called to create resources that are used to assist congregations, synods, seminaries, and others as they proclaim the gospel through their ministries.
We are Lutheran: our publishing is rooted in the grace-based, both-and theology of our heritage while as a reforming tradition we are always looking to the needs of the church for the future.
We are church together: We collaborate with individual creative partners all across the ELCA and well beyond to other Lutheran expressions around the world, our full communion partners, and other Christian and interfaith partners in ministry.
We are church for the sake of the world: Many of the resources we create inspire congregations in their missional outreach serving God’s people in their neighborhood and through global partnerships.
Today, I was reminded of our work as we are “church together.” One of the ways we are church together, both within the ELCA and through full communion partnerships is in the ways we use the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) as a standard preaching and teaching framework. On any given day, thousands of people around the world are reading from, inspired by, and proclaiming the Gospel in concert as they use this common set of Scripture. For me, it provides a rich meaning to being “one body in Christ.” While we recognize that not every congregation in this tradition uses the RCL consistently, the vast majority do and find this common framework helpful.
One of the ways that use of the RCL can be lifted up, no matter what the age of a congregation’s members is through an alignment of the preaching in worship with the teaching in faith formation gatherings. We take this consistency of messaging seriously through our publishing programs. Our Sundays and Seasons resources, both print and online, provide RCL liturgy, music, visual art and preaching resources. Our Lectionary for Worship and worship planning calendar resources assist worship planners and leaders. And, for congregations that use a printed worship bulletin, we offer RCL bulletin inserts for adults and for children Bread for the Day, our annual devotional book, connects individuals with the RCL on a daily basis. And, to make sure that faith formation can easily be linked to the readings and preaching in worship, we have two RCL-based Sunday School resources for children: Spark Lectionary and Whirl Lectionary.
As you might imagine, I was delighted when I saw this post on Facebook from the Rev. Kevin Strickland, Asst. to the Presiding Bishop, Executive for Worship for the ELCA:
And, in a follow up email, he went on to say:
“I have used a variety of resources over the years that are lectionary based for children’s Sunday school and other faith formation opportunities, but after reviewing the whirl curriculum and seeing it first hand at the congregation I am a member of, I was more than pleased. Whirl is one of the best lectionary based children’s curriculum I have seen. Children are engaged in the liturgical year, but more importantly, they learn how the calendar of their own lives is marked and loved by God each and everyday through these connections made in this resource.”
If you are trying to connect what is happening in worship with what is happening in faith formation, consider Pastor Strickland’s affirming words for this curriculum. You can download a free sample lesson to try out in your congregation! And, we offer free webinars to learn more and have your specific questions answered. Our webinar schedule is found at gatherlearnlead.org
Thank you, Kevin, for lifting up this important and every effective faith formation resource!
Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress