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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: RogerMartim on April 20, 2014, 05:55:18 PM

Title: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: RogerMartim on April 20, 2014, 05:55:18 PM
Not sure if this has been discussed before on this Forum and if so, I apologize.

Where did the practice of the pastor saying/chanting the Verba over the communion elements at the side of the altar rather than in the center come from?

To me it seems a bit strange and somewhat off-putting. While not quite the same analogy, but wouldn't it be akin to a host/hostess at a dinner table sitting off to the side blessing the food to his/her dinner guests? One would assume that Christ at the Last Supper had his disciples gather around him and not off to the side. The pastor does everything else at the center of the altar. Why not with the communion elements?

A Blessed Easter to one and all.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Dave Benke on April 20, 2014, 08:21:18 PM
Not sure if this has been discussed before on this Forum and if so, I apologize.

Where did the practice of the pastor saying/chanting the Verba over the communion elements at the side of the altar rather than in the center come from?

To me it seems a bit strange and somewhat off-putting. While not quite the same analogy, but wouldn't it be akin to a host/hostess at a dinner table sitting off to the side blessing the food to his/her dinner guests? One would assume that Christ at the Last Supper had his disciples gather around him and not off to the side. The pastor does everything else at the center of the altar. Why not with the communion elements?

A Blessed Easter to one and all.

"Many?"  Where are you located?  I have not seen this practice, and I've been around awhile.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: LutherMan on April 20, 2014, 08:26:01 PM
Yep.  I'd like to see a link to this 'LCMS' practice.  Dr. Benke is a seasoned LCMS churchman, so if this is a widespread practice I am sure he would have seen it...
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: RogerMartim on April 20, 2014, 08:28:28 PM
I'm in Minnesota. I lived on the East Coast for 35 years and I can say that I've never seen this unique practice at any LCMS churches there. It just seems to be the practice here.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: BrotherBoris on April 20, 2014, 08:35:15 PM
Not sure if this has been discussed before on this Forum and if so, I apologize.

Where did the practice of the pastor saying/chanting the Verba over the communion elements at the side of the altar rather than in the center come from?

To me it seems a bit strange and somewhat off-putting. While not quite the same analogy, but wouldn't it be akin to a host/hostess at a dinner table sitting off to the side blessing the food to his/her dinner guests? One would assume that Christ at the Last Supper had his disciples gather around him and not off to the side. The pastor does everything else at the center of the altar. Why not with the communion elements?

A Blessed Easter to one and all.

I have never seen a Lutheran pastor recite the Verba at the side of the altar. In every instance that I have ever witnessed, he has stood at the center of the altar to do so. I realize I'm just one person and have a limited experience, but I have witnessed celebrations of the Holy Eucharist in the following Lutheran groups:
1. the former Lutheran Church in America
2. the former American Lutheran Church
3. the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
4. the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
5. the Evangelical Lutheran Synod
6. the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
7. the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church

In every instance, the pastor stood at the center of the altar for the consecration. In most of the churches listed above, the pastor wore at least a stole and alb.  In some of them he also wore a chasuble.  In the ELS, I recall seeing the cassock , surplice and stole frequently. In the WELS, the black Geneva gown was common, although the alb and stole seem to be getting more widespread there.  In the Apostolic Lutheran Church, the pastor wore a suit and used no vestments at all.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: carlvehse on April 20, 2014, 08:38:04 PM
I'm in Minnesota...  It just seems to be the practice here.

In which specific Minnesota LCMS churches have you witnessed this consecration practice?
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: RogerMartim on April 20, 2014, 08:53:54 PM
My apologies for broaching this subject again. In googling Communion practices in the LCMS, I see that I asked this same question here in 2010 (didn't remember that I had). Some have said that they are aware of this practice but there was a thread drift and my question wasn't really answered. Obviously it must not be a widespread practice but it is done at my mother's church of which I am not a member. I will do some more research to see if I can't get to the bottom of this.

http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=2837.0
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: David Garner on April 20, 2014, 08:57:21 PM
In reading through that thread, it looked to me like your question was answered.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: RogerMartim on April 20, 2014, 10:05:27 PM
Can you point out exactly where my inquiry was answered, Mr. Garner. I went through the postings again and I don't see where it was. The thread almost immediately drifted onto other liturgical matters that had nothing to do with the communion elements on the side of the altar where the Verba is said. As I said earlier though I will do some more research on this.

On another note though, I am wondering if it has to do with the placement of the altar. At my Mom's church the altar is against the "East" wall and the pastor does not face the people when prayers are addressed to God. At the Verba the pastor sort of stands sideways though. I am assuming that most LCMS churches nowadays have a free-standing altar where this would not be an issue.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: swbohler on April 20, 2014, 10:12:16 PM
Not sure if I understand the question.  Are you asking about the pastor not being the middle?  Or the bread and wine?  Or both?
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Birkholz on April 20, 2014, 10:16:22 PM
I've seen this done in several Midwestern LCMS parishes.  In fact, it was the practice at my current congregation before I arrived.  I think it comes from not having the weekly Eucharist, and so the missal stand is always dead center, and then communion is set up to one side or the other (I've even seen the chalice on one side and the tower of individual cups on the other).

When I was working with the altar guild before my ordination/installation, I instructed that the Lord's Supper be set up in the middle, and we've done it that way since.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: RogerMartim on April 20, 2014, 10:18:24 PM
Both. The communion elements are on the right side of the altar. The pastor does the preface and proper preface in the center of the altar where the missal stand is (and I've never seen a book on it). Then he moves to the right and does the Verba after the Sanctus.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Dan Fienen on April 20, 2014, 11:24:00 PM
I'm sorry but I fail to see how this becomes an issue.   Arguments could and have been made as to whether a freestanding altar or one integrated into the liturgical east wall of the chacel is more authentic/has better symbolism/is more properly Lutheran etc.  Similarly, we could discuss the proper placement of the elements on the altar or the proper place at the altar for the officiant for the Verba.  But is this an issue of more import than personal preference or the meaning assigned to the choices?  Just what, if anything, of importance is at stake here?

Dan
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: LutherMan on April 20, 2014, 11:55:34 PM
I'm sorry but I fail to see how this becomes an issue.   Arguments could and have been made as to whether a freestanding altar or one integrated into the liturgical east wall of the chacel is more authentic/has better symbolism/is more properly Lutheran etc.  Similarly, we could discuss the proper placement of the elements on the altar or the proper place at the altar for the officiant for the Verba.  But is this an issue of more import than personal preference or the meaning assigned to the choices?  Just what, if anything, of importance is at stake here?

Dan
Roger Msrtim wants to slander the church of his birth much like John Mundinger does...
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on April 21, 2014, 12:43:06 AM
I have never seen this practice.  I was going to say I'd never heard of such a bizarre practice, but I have a post on that other thread. ;)

My guess, and it is only a guess, is that the pastor prefers to be over the elements he is consecrating, and that it is easier to move himself to the side than the elements to the center of the Altar. 

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Tim Schenks on April 21, 2014, 01:42:20 AM
Not sure if this has been discussed before on this Forum and if so, I apologize.

Where did the practice of the pastor saying/chanting the Verba over the communion elements at the side of the altar rather than in the center come from?

To me it seems a bit strange and somewhat off-putting. While not quite the same analogy, but wouldn't it be akin to a host/hostess at a dinner table sitting off to the side blessing the food to his/her dinner guests? One would assume that Christ at the Last Supper had his disciples gather around him and not off to the side. The pastor does everything else at the center of the altar. Why not with the communion elements?

A Blessed Easter to one and all.

I've never heard of that.

I've seen pastors sort of lean off to the side so that everyone can see the elements on the altar. Maybe that's what it was. Not sure why they do that either.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Dave Benke on April 21, 2014, 07:56:41 AM
Both. The communion elements are on the right side of the altar. The pastor does the preface and proper preface in the center of the altar where the missal stand is (and I've never seen a book on it). Then he moves to the right and does the Verba after the Sanctus.

The simple answer is to move the missal-less missal stand.  This sounds not like a liturgical practice, but more a local custom based on the way the altar looked at the time of Pastor Schmidt (Erhard Sr.) in 1927 in all the pictures from that Golden Age.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: FrPeters on April 21, 2014, 08:08:48 AM
There was an era when some seminary instruction suggested turning to the side for the consecration so that the people could see what the Pastor is doing.  I have heard and seen this a couple of times.  Strange indeed.  Interesting that one of the occasions was done by a Pastor opposed to versus populum altar and insisted on ad orientem but defeated the whole thing by turning to the side facing the side wall during the consecration.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on April 21, 2014, 08:53:36 AM
exactly... don't know whether it was taught or not... but it was done, not to stand in the way and yet but yet not having a free standing altar and not wanting to turn and hold and show...  recall, pastors communed only when other pastors were present because self-communication was not considered proper or polite, in fact that is why pastors used to commune last, it is not polite to eat first in non-altar meals... and lay people did not do any of the distribution... as odious or old such practices seem to me or others, they did have some logic to them, although the theology was probably, anti-RomanCatholic and anti-new things...  Harvey Mozolak

There was an era when some seminary instruction suggested turning to the side for the consecration so that the people could see what the Pastor is doing.  I have heard and seen this a couple of times.  Strange indeed.  Interesting that one of the occasions was done by a Pastor opposed to versus populum altar and insisted on ad orientem but defeated the whole thing by turning to the side facing the side wall during the consecration.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: John Mundinger on April 21, 2014, 10:21:18 AM
Roger Msrtim wants to slander the church of his birth much like John Mundinger does...

LutherMan - I have not slandered the church of my birth.  I have spoken critically about specific issues which reflect on the reality that the LCMS is no longer the denomination it was when it was the church of my birth.  We ought to be able to engage issues about which we disagree without getting personal about it.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: RogerMartim on April 21, 2014, 12:23:55 PM
LutherMan, I asked a simple question of a communion practice at some LCMS parishes including the one that I grew up in. How is that slander?
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 21, 2014, 12:27:15 PM
LutherMan, I asked a simple question of a communion practice at some LCMS parishes including the one that I grew up in. How is that slander?

It's not. For I do not see what the big deal is that you needed to ask about it in 2010 and again now. In fact, why don't you ask the pastor why he does that rather than asking us to speculate about it?
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: RogerMartim on April 21, 2014, 04:26:08 PM
Pastor Kirchner,

Upstream I apologized for bringing up this thread again. I had forgotten that I had asked this same question FOUR years ago. Not sure why you found it necessary to respond the way you did, but I'll let bygones be bygones.

Quite frankly though I am surprised that so many LCMS pastors and folks are not aware of this particular communion practice. I guessed that I just assumed that it was a fairly common practice.

I am still researching a document that corroborates this particularity. And yes, maybe I'll check in with the pastor at my Mom's church to ask why this continues. I am suspecting that the Altar Guild has more power than the pastor (just joking).

A Blessed Easter to you and all the participants here.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Tim Schenks on April 22, 2014, 01:01:07 AM
recall, pastors communed only when other pastors were present because self-communication was not considered proper or polite, in fact that is why pastors used to commune last, it is not polite to eat first in non-altar meals... and lay people did not do any of the distribution...

As this thread is about LCMS Communion Practice... When I was on our Board of Elders I encouraged my own pastor to Commune himself, even with a lay assistant present. He has done so if there was low attendance but most of the time still has a lay elder Commune him first, then he Communes the assistant, then the rest of the congregation.

I can remember our pastor 30+ years ago Communing last. The day school principal/music director Communed him as they thought his being on the Commissioned Minister roster meant he had a Divine Call or something.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Weedon on April 22, 2014, 08:36:47 AM
If one is to "say the black" and "do the red," LSB's altar book is clear that the pastor first communicates himself and then the others. This matches Luther's instructions in Formula Missae.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: David Garner on April 22, 2014, 08:50:28 AM
Can you point out exactly where my inquiry was answered, Mr. Garner. I went through the postings again and I don't see where it was. The thread almost immediately drifted onto other liturgical matters that had nothing to do with the communion elements on the side of the altar where the Verba is said. As I said earlier though I will do some more research on this.

On another note though, I am wondering if it has to do with the placement of the altar. At my Mom's church the altar is against the "East" wall and the pastor does not face the people when prayers are addressed to God. At the Verba the pastor sort of stands sideways though. I am assuming that most LCMS churches nowadays have a free-standing altar where this would not be an issue.

Several people indicated the practice arose from having the Altar Book in the center of the altar due to the lapse of the historic practice of every-Sunday communion.  It wasn't a definitive answer (and I'm not sure there is one), but it is an answer, and one that strikes me as reasonable.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on April 22, 2014, 08:58:44 AM
If one is to "say the black" and "do the red," LSB's altar book is clear that the pastor first communicates himself and then the others. This matches Luther's instructions in Formula Missae.

Will, you are correct theologically-- I always use someone else's illustr. of the person putting on their own oxygen mask first on plane before helping the kid or someone else seated next to them with theirs... also strengthened to strengthen but the old pastors (in the 40s and 50s) who did not often commune except at pastoral circuits, conferences and conventions went by the American etiquette thing of not serving yourself first and getting someone else to serve them without grabbing the dish and cup themselves.  Then there was this thing that got tossed around that I heard that pastor's commune last with the chalice to show that there is nothing wrong with common cup and they are not afraid of it after all have communed (course you can also show that by consuming the remaining consecrated wine afterwards anyway).  There was a strong personal rubric going on in those days that still is there in many places... I see it all the time in the south, where I now find myself.   Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Weedon on April 22, 2014, 09:13:36 AM
And that personal rubric as you so eloquently put it, is one of the reasons that I champion simply following the book's rubrics as the practice of submission to one another. There are certainly things I do not like in the rubrics, things I would have written differently. But to set aside what Weedon wants seems a singularly wholesome practice for me. My Synod has adopted this book and it seems a wholesome thing to submit to the way it teaches me to offer up the Lord's gifts. Our Synod doesn't and can't insist on everyone doing it this way, for that would at its heart defeat the very nature of a healthy submission and it would become an ungodly coercion. But I think for our pastors, it is a wholesome practice to commend: "Say the black, do the red."
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: John_Hannah on April 22, 2014, 09:16:55 AM
Can you point out exactly where my inquiry was answered, Mr. Garner. I went through the postings again and I don't see where it was. The thread almost immediately drifted onto other liturgical matters that had nothing to do with the communion elements on the side of the altar where the Verba is said. As I said earlier though I will do some more research on this.

On another note though, I am wondering if it has to do with the placement of the altar. At my Mom's church the altar is against the "East" wall and the pastor does not face the people when prayers are addressed to God. At the Verba the pastor sort of stands sideways though. I am assuming that most LCMS churches nowadays have a free-standing altar where this would not be an issue.

Many people think that it's a Bible, such as you find in most protestant churches.

Several people indicated the practice arose from having the Altar Book in the center of the altar due to the lapse of the historic practice of every-Sunday communion.  It wasn't a definitive answer (and I'm not sure there is one), but it is an answer, and one that strikes me as reasonable.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: FrPeters on April 22, 2014, 09:48:53 AM
Twice in the last half dozen years or so I have had LCMS Pastors in the congregation who told me that they almost did NOT commune BECAUSE I communed myself -- in their view a scandalous practice, from Rome, and presuming self-sufficiency and pride on the part of the Pastor.  When I showed them the LSB rubric as well as Luther's instructions and a few other things I have collected over the years they looked absolutely shocked and said that in all their years from seminary to that moment they had never encountered a Lutheran self-communion in the Divine Service.  To which I responded in shock that it is always surprising to me when we Lutherans have adopted anecdotal theology and practice as the norm and ignore our own theology and practice informed by the Lutheran Confessors....
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on April 22, 2014, 10:03:10 AM

When I showed them the LSB rubric as well as Luther's instructions and a few other things I have collected over the years they looked absolutely shocked and said that in all their years from seminary to that moment they had never encountered a Lutheran self-communion in the Divine Service.


Similarly for me, and not solely regarding the celebrant's communing, as over the last couple of years when I've re-read the rubrics of the Common Service (in either the CSB or the SBH), rubrics our eyes went over week-after-week but, apparently, which we never saw because they didn't fit with the piety we, for one reason or another, practiced.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 22, 2014, 11:25:06 AM
Twice in the last half dozen years or so I have had LCMS Pastors in the congregation who told me that they almost did NOT commune BECAUSE I communed myself -- in their view a scandalous practice, from Rome, and presuming self-sufficiency and pride on the part of the Pastor.  When I showed them the LSB rubric as well as Luther's instructions and a few other things I have collected over the years they looked absolutely shocked and said that in all their years from seminary to that moment they had never encountered a Lutheran self-communion in the Divine Service.  To which I responded in shock that it is always surprising to me when we Lutherans have adopted anecdotal theology and practice as the norm and ignore our own theology and practice informed by the Lutheran Confessors....

Sometimes it's even worse than that, Pr. Peters. 6 or 7 years ago I covered a vacancy. The first Sunday, the elder who assisted, robed in alb, asked me if I would commune myself or if I would like one of them to commune me. I asked what the usual practice was (I try to maintain the status quo when filling a vacancy) and he responded, "[The previous pastor who had served them for many years] always communed himself first. But [the District guy who comes in and supposedly helps the congregation make a smooth transition, etc, who'd covered the vacancy for awhile prior to me taking over] told us that we'd been taught wrong, and he demanded that one of us commune him." I told them that they'd been taught correctly and that even the rubrics confirmed that. I communed myself, communed them, then we distributed to the congregation.

 :(
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Jim Butler on April 22, 2014, 02:21:49 PM
Twice in the last half dozen years or so I have had LCMS Pastors in the congregation who told me that they almost did NOT commune BECAUSE I communed myself -- in their view a scandalous practice, from Rome, and presuming self-sufficiency and pride on the part of the Pastor.  When I showed them the LSB rubric as well as Luther's instructions and a few other things I have collected over the years they looked absolutely shocked and said that in all their years from seminary to that moment they had never encountered a Lutheran self-communion in the Divine Service.  To which I responded in shock that it is always surprising to me when we Lutherans have adopted anecdotal theology and practice as the norm and ignore our own theology and practice informed by the Lutheran Confessors....

IIRC, Dan Porkorny used to commune himself when he was the presider at the Supper at CSL in the early 80s.

However, while I've never had a problem with the celebrant communing himself, I have to say that I've rarely seen it done. The Boston LCMS Pastors meeting (comprising two circuits) communes together monthly and the celebrant always asks one of the other pastors to commune him at the end. In my first parish, the senior pastor and I communed one another.

I've never communed myself and won't start now. But I have no problem with those who practice otherwise. The important thing is that pastors receive the supper for the strengthening of their faith and the forgiveness of their sins. I don't think how they do that or where they stand during the Verba really matters all that much.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: RogerMartim on April 22, 2014, 02:22:29 PM
Do I detect a thread drift?
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Tim Schenks on April 22, 2014, 02:35:44 PM
Do I detect a thread drift?

No. The thread is about Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 22, 2014, 02:38:04 PM
Do I detect a thread drift?

Well, your issue is completed, isn't it?  Rather than ask us to speculate about what is going on, upon suggestion, you stated that "maybe [you'd] check in with the pastor at [your] Mom's church to ask why this continues." You might even find out why it should continue.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Dave Benke on April 22, 2014, 03:55:37 PM
The way to hold the thread together is with this question, "Do those pastors who commune themselves do so from the center of the altar or off to the side?"  Concomitantly, "Do those pastors who are communed by another pastor or an assisting minister do so from the center of the altar or from the side?"  Finally, "Are pastors who are communing themselves doing so from behind the altar at the center or in front of the altar at the center, and why or why not?"

It's so easy when you think it through.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: RogerMartim on April 22, 2014, 04:19:21 PM
My original inquiry had to do with the consecration of the elements from the right side at some LCMS altars. I mentioned nothing about pastors communing themselves. That's a thread drift.

I am still awaiting a pastor friend of mine to respond back to me about the practice. When he does, I'll share with you with what he comes up with.

Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Tim Schenks on April 23, 2014, 01:23:37 AM
Perhaps the title of this thread should have been "Consecration of the elements from the right side at some LCMS altars?"
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 23, 2014, 03:46:14 PM
https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203655007844008&set=ms.10203655007844008.10203655007403997.bps.a.1686687935313.2098037.1481102180&type=1Is this what is meant by "off to the side" or on the right side?

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152346718509518&set=a.10150620004999518.416919.577494517&type=1

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203660265615449&set=a.1686687935313.2098037.1481102180&type=1



Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Dave Benke on April 23, 2014, 04:33:12 PM
Is this what is meant by "off to the side" or on the right side?

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152346718509518&set=a.10150620004999518.416919.577494517&type=1

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203660265615449&set=a.1686687935313.2098037.1481102180&type=1

Hmm.  That looks like it.  Why is that missal in the middle? 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 23, 2014, 04:41:22 PM
Is this what is meant by "off to the side" or on the right side?

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152346718509518&set=a.10150620004999518.416919.577494517&type=1

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203660265615449&set=a.1686687935313.2098037.1481102180&type=1

Hmm.  That looks like it.  Why is that missal in the middle? 

Dave Benke

Ask Pr. Wolfmueller (Colorado) or Pr. Mattsfield (Missouri).
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: wmattsfield on April 24, 2014, 02:14:33 PM
Is this what is meant by "off to the side" or on the right side?

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152346718509518&set=a.10150620004999518.416919.577494517&type=1

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203660265615449&set=a.1686687935313.2098037.1481102180&type=1

Hmm.  That looks like it.  Why is that missal in the middle? 

Dave Benke

Ask Pr. Wolfmueller (Colorado) or Pr. Mattsfield (Missouri).

As the Pr. Mattsfield in question (thanks for dragging me into this, Don . . . ), the short answer is that it was the practice I inherited, I have only been here 2 1/2 years and it hasn't been a big priority to change. I have already made one change in communion practice, and prefer to move slowly with change and then, only one change at a time.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 24, 2014, 05:17:17 PM
Well said and done, Wade.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Dave Benke on April 25, 2014, 07:12:40 AM
Is this what is meant by "off to the side" or on the right side?

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152346718509518&set=a.10150620004999518.416919.577494517&type=1

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203660265615449&set=a.1686687935313.2098037.1481102180&type=1

Hmm.  That looks like it.  Why is that missal in the middle? 

Dave Benke

Ask Pr. Wolfmueller (Colorado) or Pr. Mattsfield (Missouri).

As the Pr. Mattsfield in question (thanks for dragging me into this, Don . . . ), the short answer is that it was the practice I inherited, I have only been here 2 1/2 years and it hasn't been a big priority to change. I have already made one change in communion practice, and prefer to move slowly with change and then, only one change at a time.

Then maybe the longer answer would have to do with why this was the practice prior to your arrival, ie, why the missal in the middle? 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: FrPeters on April 25, 2014, 09:17:47 AM
Quote
prefer to move slowly with change and then, only one change at a time

Coming out from Sem and before accepting this, my second parish, I told the folks right up front.  This is what we will be doing.  Weekly Eucharist... rich liturgical tradition of Lutheranism... restoration of the chalice... renewed catechesis...  Then I just did it.  I taught for about 6 months in every venue available before the Weekly Eucharist but the rest was done all at once.  Folks told me afterwards that they understood the changes and it was easier for them to become accustomed to them in lump sum than to take it in dribs and drabs.  One guy put it bluntly.  If you don't change it right away and live with it for a while, then why change it later.  If you could live with it then, why can't you live with it now.  I have never forgotten it and have front loaded all the liturgical changes since...
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Weedon on April 25, 2014, 09:17:59 AM
I think that's not too hard to surmise, Bishop. The norm for the time when the practice began was probably once a month communion (or less). So most Sundays, the missal stand stood in the middle bearing the Altar Book. I'd be willing to wager that what was usual (for the p. 5 or 32 Sundays) became thought of as simply the norm even for a p. 15 Sunday. I remember for some time after we had gone to the weekly Eucharist, the elders persisted in moving the missal stand to the center of the Altar after the Divine Service as they assisted with cleaning up afterwards.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Matt Staneck on April 25, 2014, 09:25:02 AM
Fr. Peters, I keep in mind what I heard at the sem, namely that you should not move the baptismal font in your first year. I also took away with me the truth that the Church has all the time in the world. The world acts desperate and needs things, "NOW!" (if not yesterday). The Church can afford to be patient. Not stagnant, but patient. While front loading changes may have worked where you are and have been, I would be tossed into the East River if I front loaded changes. Different strokes.

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 25, 2014, 09:44:10 AM
Indeed. You might have gotten by with telling folks "This is the way it's going to be," but you are not the pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in West Plains, MO. Pastor Mattsfield is. Responding to his way of handling the teaching and practice there with your personal anecdote, which to me manifests a criticism of his pastoral care, is not helpful.

Furthermore, Dr. Nagel taught us that we might need to preach Jesus into them for 4 or 5 years before making any major changes in the congregation. Now, whether having the communion vessels in the center rather than the right side of the altar is a major change will be different in different congregations. Whether having them on the right side is wrong is yet another question, to which I answer "No." Which is why I questioned the way this thread was initiated.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on April 25, 2014, 10:26:08 AM
the last two posts urge long and careful introductions of new things...

two points that speak at odds with what used to be very good counsel...

nothing moves slow today, even in the church.  Contemporary worship, change of liturgies, bulletin formats and worship books happen overnight as well as new models changing yearly in the suburban church parking lot...  cell phones are changed more often...

sometimes slow change never happens, gets sidetracked, pastors move before their goals are ever attained...

if I go in to a church that does not have weekly communion, as a called pastor and even now as an interim, I say... let's talk about this, pray about, do some education and within the year or less go to weekly communion... otherwise I am not the one you want for a pastor...

Pastors change zillions of things on their whims, they get shaking when restoring the historic liturgy, weekly Eucharist, Baptism in the Assembly and such important stuff... wrong

Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 25, 2014, 10:50:08 AM
My new congregation has a fan shaped arrangement, basically with the chancel in one corner of a large square sanctuary with four sections of pews shaped like, say, two fifths of a pie. The communion rail is rounded like an arc of a big circle, and the free standing altar/ambo (we have no lectern) is curved to match the communion rail. So the reader/presider and sometimes preacher stands behind a smaller arc shaped altar/ambo facing the people. The missal stand is in the middle because if it were off to one side the pastor would be facing only half the congregation or standing slightly away from and at an odd angle to the altar when he was doing the readings or communion liturgy. So the communion vessels are to both sides of the missal stand and the pastors stands in the middle whether he is doing the communion liturgy or the readings. We have communion every Sunday but not every service on Sunday, and even if we move to remedy that in the future I think there is no way to avoid having the missal stand in the middle of the altar with the communion ware on both sides. Not that big a deal to me. 
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 25, 2014, 10:56:58 AM
No choice...gut the sanctuary and rebuild. Now!   ;)
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on April 25, 2014, 10:57:04 AM
Peter, may well be a very artful placement of the vessels.  Of course, everyone today has their own take on art and some are more artless than others (not speaking of your arrangement at all).  Even stranger in some ways than some of the placements mentioned on the topic is the mess that passes for an altar at convention, conclaves, conference gatherings and the like when there has to be (or so it seems) a dozen ciboria, two dozen chalices cause some are for intinction, some for common communing, several containers of gluten free, and the large set that was donated by the Scmilla family for using every year at convention.  Looks like most of our kitchen counters after the family Easter luncheon.  Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 25, 2014, 11:51:17 AM
Of course if the pastor were just to memorize the liturgy, there'd be no need for a missal stand. Just sayin' . . .  8)
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 25, 2014, 11:52:56 AM
Of course if the pastor were just to memorize the liturgy, there'd be no need for a missal stand. Just sayin' . . .  8)
True. I often don't use the missal stand at all for the liturgy, but it is still there. And since we also use it for the Scripture readings, well, that is more memory work than I care to take on.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Weedon on April 25, 2014, 12:00:37 PM
then again, it may just be where Lutherans historically left the missal:

http://www.gloriachristi.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/2hamburg_lutheran_divine_service.jpg
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-diqFXY5RDDo/UUm9oxoMWjI/AAAAAAAAA9M/v0yf35saNpA/s1600/First+Lutheran+service+in+Brandenburg+1539.jpg
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 25, 2014, 12:12:11 PM
then again, it may just be where Lutherans historically left the missal:

http://www.gloriachristi.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/2hamburg_lutheran_divine_service.jpg
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-diqFXY5RDDo/UUm9oxoMWjI/AAAAAAAAA9M/v0yf35saNpA/s1600/First+Lutheran+service+in+Brandenburg+1539.jpg

Pietists!  ;)
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on April 25, 2014, 12:12:26 PM
I moved the (marble) Baptismal Font to the front of the center aisle before my first Sunday.  OTOH, though the weekly Eucharist was a topic during my interview, it took 12 years to implement it.

As for the the placement of furnishings, etc., my general rule is, "The architect wins."

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on April 25, 2014, 12:13:40 PM
the only thing folks about paintings is that painters have a habit of painting what they see also in their minds eye not only what certain photographic representations might admit.   Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: FrPeters on April 25, 2014, 03:26:54 PM
By all means slow to change things that are not central. . . but the move to weekly Eucharist, the preaching on baptism life and the centrality of the Eucharist to our piety, the start of catechetical renewal, these are not NEW but ANCIENT, not trend but confessional identity and I think we can hasten these along a bit.

I preached on the Eucharist so often and pointed to an empty altar so often that in a couple of months people were saying that if I pointed to the altar and there was nothing on it one more time, they would go crazy.  It was time for the weekly Eucharist.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on April 25, 2014, 03:56:21 PM
Right on.  Harvey Mozolak

[quote author=FrPeters link=topic=5437.msg335193#msg335193 date=1398454014

I preached on the Eucharist so often and pointed to an empty altar so often that in a couple of months people were saying that if I pointed to the altar and there was nothing on it one more time, they would go crazy.  It was time for the weekly Eucharist.
[/quote]
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Dave Benke on April 25, 2014, 04:11:42 PM
I think that's not too hard to surmise, Bishop. The norm for the time when the practice began was probably once a month communion (or less). So most Sundays, the missal stand stood in the middle bearing the Altar Book. I'd be willing to wager that what was usual (for the p. 5 or 32 Sundays) became thought of as simply the norm even for a p. 15 Sunday. I remember for some time after we had gone to the weekly Eucharist, the elders persisted in moving the missal stand to the center of the Altar after the Divine Service as they assisted with cleaning up afterwards.

Interesting -
a) they went back to the old habit
b) they were elders, not the altar guild.  My deacons and elders can and do "clean up," but the altar guild and acolytes are the major movers and cleaners.
c) we had the double benediction deal at my home congregation in Milwaukee - p. 5 benediction followed by shortish p. 15 and subsequent second benediction for those who stayed.  I'm trying to remember if the missal was in the middle and the elements on the edge, but that could have been the case.  Except that our pastors chanted Matins and the p. 5/15, so were "high" church for those parts at that time.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 25, 2014, 04:54:23 PM
Our church has an all male "board of deacons" (what was called the board of elders in my other church) whose duties include doing the altar set-up and clean-up for communion services as well as assisting with distribution. Not sure how that started, but I see no reason to change it.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Dave Benke on April 25, 2014, 05:24:54 PM
Our church has an all male "board of deacons" (what was called the board of elders in my other church) whose duties include doing the altar set-up and clean-up for communion services as well as assisting with distribution. Not sure how that started, but I see no reason to change it.

Whatever works.  On the other hand, you're not saying by that practice that women may not serve in a Missouri Synod congregation as assisting minister or on the altar guild. 
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Dan Fienen on April 25, 2014, 10:13:47 PM
As I prepare for my installation this coming Sunday I'm concerned, what if I discover to my horror that the tradition at my new church has the Missal Stand in the middle of the Altar, the Elements on the right side and the pastor pronouncing the Verba from the right side.  Is changing this a hill to die on?  Is this an issue to stake the viability of my continued ministry?  What is at stake with where the Elements are placed on the altar and where the pastor stands?
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 25, 2014, 11:22:40 PM
As I prepare for my installation this coming Sunday I'm concerned, what if I discover to my horror that the tradition at my new church has the Missal Stand in the middle of the Altar, the Elements on the right side and the pastor pronouncing the Verba from the right side.  Is changing this a hill to die on?  Is this an issue to stake the viability of my continued ministry?  What is at stake with where the Elements are placed on the altar and where the pastor stands?
At my last church I had never done the 11 pm Christmas Eve service as associate pastor, so my first year as senior pastor I discovered that the altar was so covered in poinsettias that the actual communion ware was on a cart next to the altar. I changed that long standing tradition immediately. Even though it is adiaphora, the symbolism of decorations displacing the elements was such a bad object lesson that I thought it worth changing by fiat even as a newbie.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: John_Hannah on April 26, 2014, 06:39:57 AM
I think I would do the same. That was gross.
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Norman Teigen on April 26, 2014, 07:40:16 AM
I would hope that the people in this new congregation would defer to your good judgment.  It is possible that the arrangements were carelessly made by an unthinking volunteer.  Placement of the altar makes for an interesting study in church history . 
Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Jim_Krauser on April 26, 2014, 08:05:22 AM
then again, it may just be where Lutherans historically left the missal:

http://www.gloriachristi.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/2hamburg_lutheran_divine_service.jpg (http://www.gloriachristi.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/2hamburg_lutheran_divine_service.jpg)
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-diqFXY5RDDo/UUm9oxoMWjI/AAAAAAAAA9M/v0yf35saNpA/s1600/First+Lutheran+service+in+Brandenburg+1539.jpg (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-diqFXY5RDDo/UUm9oxoMWjI/AAAAAAAAA9M/v0yf35saNpA/s1600/First+Lutheran+service+in+Brandenburg+1539.jpg)

Books were much larger then weren't they.  And what with retables etc. mensas were often smaller.
Sometimes practices of one era were born of practicalities that have no reason or purpose in our own.
Yet they linger.

Title: Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on April 26, 2014, 08:10:52 AM
Very understandable...   I think there many things that should/must/ought to be squelched quickly because to continue them is to continue really bad symbolism or implications (even if all folks do not see it at first)...  to continue them is to buy into them.   But it is a hard choice, parental decisions about habits and patience and education...   Harvey Mozolak

At my last church I had never done the 11 pm Christmas Eve service as associate pastor, so my first year as senior pastor I discovered that the altar was so covered in poinsettias that the actual communion ware was on a cart next to the altar. I changed that long standing tradition immediately. Even though it is adiaphora, the symbolism of decorations displacing the elements was such a bad object lesson that I thought it worth changing by fiat even as a newbie.
[/quote]