Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lutheran Bishops for Anglican Dioceses

For those of us who went to Emmanuel while Jim was lecturing at LTS, here is an article on the national website.

Lutheran bishops for Anglican Dioceses

At the beginning of my ministry out here (which is also the beginning of my ordained ministry), Jim was interim for the local Lutheran church. It was a real blessing for me as I struggled to get through that first year with as few mistakes as possible. Being in the same diocese, I run into Jim frequently. I continue to be blessed by his support.

I also very much enjoy Cindy and have had her out here to preach. She spoke at our joint celebration of 30 years of women in the priesthood and the anniversary of the Waterloo Declaration.

At one point, the Anglican and Lutheran congregations here talked about sharing ministry. It didn't go through but it is still a possibility for the future. We still share worship on the 3rd Sunday of the month. The Presbyterians have also joined us in that worship. I am learning a fair amount - especially how not to get in a panic over not being familiar with everything - having all my i's dotted and my t's crossed before I go out to participate in the worship. The Lutheran pastor who is here now is quite laid back about the whole thing so I am also learning to function without always wearing my vestments. I haven't quite got the knack of drinking coffee while giving the sermon although I have learned to talk without a script. I'm not saying I always do it well, but I am learning.

Our hardest adjustment came in the first year. Easter fell on the third Sunday which opened the question of where do we celebrate Easter. I brought it to vestry. We agreed that we should continue the pattern of third Sunday worship. It was interesting celebrating in another tradition. We were somewhat disconnected by the differences but it was a good experience.

We worship in each other's churches. January, February, and March we worship at the Lutheran Church. April, May, and June we worship at the Presbyterian church. These are just one Sunday a month. And then the whole of July we worship at the Anglican Church and the whole of August we worship at the Lutheran Church. September, October, and November we worship together once a month at the Anglican Church. The Lutheran and Anglicans share the Lenten and Holy Week services. There are a couple of these latter services that are also ecumenical such as the Tenebrae (which is usually hosted by the Roman Catholics) and the Easter Sunrise service (which rotates between the participating services). The Anglicans and Lutherans co-sponsor Monday School which has developed into a community church school.

I've developed a system. If you drive by the church and see a red sign you know the service is at the Lutheran Church. If you drive by and see an orange sign you know the service is at the Presbyterian Church.

I usually try to do something a little different at each of the Anglican services. Last week we had the blessing of the school children. We used praise music that I've taught the children at Monday School. The children came up to lead the songs that had actions. We said special prayers. Then I had the children come into the middle of the congregation. We all laid hands on their backpacks (I had them bring their back packs to church) and we blessed the backpacks and the children wearing them. One young boy went back to his mom and said, "Mom, God is glowing in my backpack." It was a high energy service and somewhat chaotic but I came home feeling energized.

But a little more on topic. I firmly believe that if the Anglican Church wants to continue in rural Saskatchewan we are going to have to look at shared ministries. Our PAL (Presbyterian, Anglican, and Lutheran) group is struggling within their individual communities. It is astounding the amount of energy that is present when the three join together. The singing is awesome. The chatter and laughter before the service is life-giving. On top of that we are learning to accept other traditions and to value the communities to which those traditions belong. It's not always easy as shown by the joint worship that first Easter. We are so strongly nurtured and familiar with our own traditions. But, the good far outweighs the struggles.

I see by the watch on my wrist that it is time to go to the LTC service so I had best quit writing.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

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