COVID-19 and Gathering for Worship

Our Saskatchewan Synod (ELCIC) churches will follow the direction of our Health authorities and will not be gathering for worship during the COVID-19 pandemic. But we will still be the church. We will still worship together. Your congregation may be livestreaming their services through the internet. Often you are invited to join breakout rooms for virtual ‘coffee time’ afterward. Or your congregation may have decided to invite members to join one of the services offered online. National church has collected that list. Online worship services Continue reading →

COVID-19 and Passing the Offering Plate

Our churches have always depended on funding the ministry of the congregation by gathering 52 Sundays each year and ‘passing the plate’. During COVID-19 we will not be able to gather together in our churches for an extended period of time. During that time we will need to find alternative ways of funding our congregations. Our national and synodical treasurers met by video conference to discuss this. They produced a concise, practical guide to “Giving Alternatives” during COVID-19. The treasurers also provided  a sample template Continue reading →

COVID-19 Resources from the ELCIC

National church has collected a webpage of resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. The page includes joint letters posted during the COVID crisis from the ELCIC national bishop and synodical bishops. The page includes resources for worship by posting links to congregations that are posting services online. It includes letters from the National and synodical treasurers on giving alternatives when ‘passing the plate’ is not an option. The treasurers also provide an update for congregations on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. The page also includes letters Continue reading →

After Holy week

For each of the last three weeks, I have worked with the pastoral team to connect by video conference with about 70 of our pastors/deacons in active calls and contracts. I have been so impressed with the way the roster has supported each other in dealing with this so strange world we are facing. I have also been so impressed with our roster stepping up in their faith communities to minister in this time: both our congregational pastors reinventing worship and pastoral care in the Continue reading →

A lesson from The Last Jedi

When the temperature dipped below -30 last Christmas, Kathy and I decided it would be a good day to head out to the local Theatre. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was showing. Heading out to a Star Wars movie brought back some memories. Back in the first years of our marriage a friend had convinced us to give the first of the Star Wars movies a look. Neither of us were much for science fiction, so were reluctant participants. But we found that the special Continue reading →

A story told–once again

In those days, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. The tax was in the newspapers everywhere. The foreign overlords, the Romans, were decreeing that a new tax would be paid, on the one hand, for the roads and aqueducts that the Empire was building; and on the other to pay for the occupying soldiers who kept the country under the power of the Empire. To enact the tax, the Empire decreed that everyone was to go back Continue reading →

A word for the middle of a story

Reflecting on Romans 8.28 Let me tell you a story lifted from the middle of the Abraham and Sarah narrative. You may remember how the story started. It began with a move. God called the couple from the life they knew to a life ahead that they did not know. At the beginning, God made promises to the couple. One promise was that they would be blessed with many many, many children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. It was quite a story, this story of Continue reading →

It’s about time

Something is happening in our time. First a memory of another time. I remember attending Reformation services as a child. Sometimes, as I remember, we gathered in large, “noisy” Reformation rallies with other congregations. Sometimes they were quieter gatherings inside our congregation. But, large or small, as I recall, they felt like a service of Lutheran ‘triumph’. Although these lines of a Mighty Fortress, “The Spirit and the gifts are ours; Through Him who with us sideth,” actually referred to “the world with devils filled”—it Continue reading →

Wind in the cathedral

That my joy may be in you It was Saturday night at a confirmation retreat at Kinasao, north of Prince Albert. We gathered in a wondrous cathedral: a floor of beach-sand, a ceiling of moon and stars and clear night-sky, a folding table for an altar, with a loaf of bread, a chalice of wine, and a Bible. Behind the altar a wondrous picture: the lake covered in a layer of ice. The congregation gathered: a hundred teenagers and a dozen adult leaders, each holding Continue reading →

Making a home in sacred story

Allan Bloom, in The Closing of the American Mind, made this observation about his grandparents’ home. My grandparents, he said, were not educated people by our standards, nor were they wealthy. But their home was spiritually rich, he added, “because all the things done in it, not only what was specifically ritual” found their origin in the depths of sacred scripture.   One such story in which the Christian faith community makes its home is told every year during Holy Week. The story comes in Continue reading →