Author Topic: Liturgical oddity  (Read 2944 times)

Richard Johnson

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Liturgical oddity
« on: August 09, 2016, 02:42:49 PM »
So I'm sitting in a nearby cafe for lunch with an older woman who invited me to share her table. She tells me about a friend of hers who was assigned an internship in a congregation in my synod, in an area where there are only a few congregations and not many retired or other pastors not currently under congregational call. This intern discovered, after he got there, that the pastor of the congregation was going on Sabbatical from January 1 to Holy Week, leaving him (unsupervised) in charge of everything. Odd enough, surely.

Then the question became, "What about the sacrament?" My bishop (who's generally a low church kind of guy) said there were three options. (Stop now and see if you can figure them out before reading on.)

The first would be to "hire" a pastor to come in weekly to preside at the Eucharist, leaving the intern to preach etc. Obviously an expensive option, and because of the congregation's location, not a lot of available pastors hanging around looking for work.

The second would for the bishop to license the intern to preside at the Eucharist--legal in the ELCA, unfortunately, but to his credit, the bishop didn't want to do this because he didn't want to set a precedent in the synod.

The third: The intern would attend the Wednesday evening Eucharist at the local Episcopal congregation, take hosts and wine with him so that the celebrant there could consecrate them, and then haul them back to the Lutheran congregation for distribution the following Sunday.

Is that about the oddest thing you've ever heard? I have no theological objection to the concept of "reserved sacrament," but this seems like something VERY different from that. Seems hard to justify. So I'm thinking, "what would I have done?" The best I could come up with was to engage a celebrant for Sundays every couple or three weeks and consecrate enough elements for use on the Sundays when the intern was left to his own devices. That would seem to me to be more justifiable theologically and liturgically, so that the elements were actually "reserved" for use in the same community.

Oh, and string up the pastor who would go on sabbatical for a quarter of the year when she's agreed to supervise an intern. Or string up the seminary that would approve that, assuming they knew it ahead of time. Of course the best solution, if it could have been worked out, would be to have an actual ordained person to serve as "sabbatical pastor" for those three months--to preside, yes, but also to give some supervision to the intern.
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Jeremy Loesch

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Re: Liturgical oddity
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2016, 03:07:32 PM »
That's an interesting lunchtime conversation that you had. 

First of all, I have no idea what I would have done. 

Secondly, your last paragraph resonates with me.  The intern has been put in an awful situation, either by the supervising pastor or the seminary or both.  Sure, it may be a learning experience, but not all learning experiences are created equal.  With sabbaticals that I am familiar with, a substitute pastor was contacted to serve during the time of the sabbatical.  Throwing the responsibility on the intern or vicar is not a good practice.

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J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Liturgical oddity
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2016, 03:21:59 PM »
Unsupervised "learning" leads to sophomoric hubris.

Shame on that Seminary.
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Chuck

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Re: Liturgical oddity
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2016, 04:18:40 PM »
Oh, and string up the pastor who would go on sabbatical for a quarter of the year when she's agreed to supervise an intern. Or string up the seminary that would approve that, assuming they knew it ahead of time. Of course the best solution, if it could have been worked out, would be to have an actual ordained person to serve as "sabbatical pastor" for those three months--to preside, yes, but also to give some supervision to the intern.
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DCharlton

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Re: Liturgical oddity
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2016, 04:29:50 PM »
Is that about the oddest thing you've ever heard? I have no theological objection to the concept of "reserved sacrament," but this seems like something VERY different from that. Seems hard to justify. So I'm thinking, "what would I have done?" The best I could come up with was to engage a celebrant for Sundays every couple or three weeks and consecrate enough elements for use on the Sundays when the intern was left to his own devices. That would seem to me to be more justifiable theologically and liturgically, so that the elements were actually "reserved" for use in the same community.

How about having the bishop, at a Eucharist at which he presides, consecrate enough elements for that congregation?  Or, do Morning Prayer or Service of the Word when the intern was alone?
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Liturgical oddity
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2016, 04:54:07 PM »
A confession: 6 months into my internship (1974), my supervisor left for another call. A neighboring pastor was assigned as my "supervisor," but he was a mission developer and didn't believe he could leave his fledging congregation twice a month (when we did communion).


The congregation's practice, which I didn't/don't agree with, was that the whole congregation spoke the Words of Institution when we used the SBH liturgy. (Didn't use Eucharistic Prayers much back then.) The other communion services used the 4th Setting from CW2 - an experimental folk liturgy by John Ylvisaker before LBW came out. None of the pastors in the area were familiar with that liturgy. Our congregation council's decision was to have me preside at these services, which I did. Until the bishop found out. He asked the council president, "How's the exchange going?" Answer, "What exchange?" So, from then on the ordained administrator of a nursing home in the next town came twice a month to lead the congregation in reciting the Words of Institution, before they called a new pastor, my last month of internship.


On another topic, I just read that John Ylvisaker has entered hospice care. He had been battling cancer for 14 years at the Mayo clinic.
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Re: Liturgical oddity
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2016, 08:37:44 PM »
I am not ordained, but almost was. That is... odd. In the Roman Catholic Church it could never have occurred. In the Episcopal Church, not likely. It sounds unusual even in ELCA. What to do about it? I don't even know. The suggestion for the Bishop to consecrate a sufficient amount each week for that congregation makes the most sense. But an any pastor that would AGREE to go on sabbatical like that should be, well, reconsidered in terms of their future curacy...

May God have MERCY on that poor sorry Intern... I feel for him...

evangelical catholic

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Re: Liturgical oddity
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2019, 08:01:29 PM »
Can one mix unconsecrated hosts into the reserved Sacrament?  I've noticed several ELCA parishes identify in the bulletin that Host-only is complete Real Presence

Charles Austin

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Re: Liturgical oddity
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2019, 08:29:43 PM »
It is.
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Richard Johnson

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Re: Liturgical oddity
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2019, 08:54:29 PM »
Can one mix unconsecrated hosts into the reserved Sacrament? 

No.
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evangelical catholic

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Re: Liturgical oddity
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2019, 09:04:27 PM »
Does the consecration need to be within the Eucharist?  A pastor could come by and consecrate the Elements privately. Luther may raise some legitimate questions.

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Re: Liturgical oddity
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2019, 09:18:28 PM »
Lutherans have always been of mixed mind and some uncertainty on the whole idea of “consecration,” that is, when does The Presence begin and does it end and if so, when?
We have not been consistent in teaching and practice.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2019, 09:22:56 PM by Charles Austin »
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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Liturgical oddity
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2019, 07:59:13 AM »
 I had a two year vicarage in a mission church. I preached every Sunday but did not baptize or consecrate the Sacrament of the Altar. Once per month, I preached at my supervisor's church and he preached at the mission and presided over Sacraments.
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Eileen Smith

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Re: Liturgical oddity
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2019, 08:50:23 AM »
Can one mix unconsecrated hosts into the reserved Sacrament?  I've noticed several ELCA parishes identify in the bulletin that Host-only is complete Real Presence

I hope I am understanding your second comment correctly and while not quoting from Lutheran Confessions the following is from The Use and Means of Grace:

44 In accordance with the words of institution, this church uses bread and wine in the celebration of the Lord 's Supper. Communicants normally receive both elements, bread and wine, in the Holy Communion .


Background 44D Some communicants suffer from allergic reactions o r are recovering from alcoholism . As suggested by the 1989 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America A Statement on Communion Practices, it i s appropriate for them to receive only one of the elements . Their pastor may assure them that the crucified and risen Christ is fully present for them in , with, and under this one element . While our confessions speak agains t Communion " in one form,"s ° their intent is to protest the practice of withholding the cup from the whole assembly. The confessional concern is to make both the bread and the wine of the sacrament available to the faithful, and not to inhibit them .

MaddogLutheran

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Re: Liturgical oddity
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2019, 09:49:25 AM »
Does the consecration need to be within the Eucharist?  A pastor could come by and consecrate the Elements privately. Luther may raise some legitimate questions.
Another way to answer the core question here is to state that Lutherans avoid separating the act of consecration from the proclamation to the faithful gathered.  That's the underlying principle at work in Luther's reforms of the mass:  in the language of the people, and audibly speaking the Eucharistic Prayer and Verba to the assembly (no silent canon, no private masses).  I would say that's why we avoid what today's Roman Catholics call a communion service, where someone (a deacon or eucharistic minister) distributes hosts consecrated at an earlier mass.  I'll defer to the church historians among as, but I believe I recall correctly that the shortage of ordained clergy in colonial America is what led to the "dry mass" tradition, as Lutherans did not celebrate holy communion unless led by someone authorized to preside.  What Pr. Engelbrecht describe was probably not very different from the practice 300 years ago.  Coupled with the now discarded regulatory requirement of intention commune before the service (ensuring an examination/confession of sins), eucharist services became rare.

I don't think this philosophy of consecration/proclamation should be interpreted as an absolute rule.  There is wisdom in the practice which preceded the medieval church's innovations to which Luther objected, of bringing consecrated elements to those who could not attend the chief Sunday service (the sick and elderly).  Of course the Lutheran take on that includes repeating the Verba before distribution in yet making clear it is not a re-consecration, and therefore can be done by lay ministers.  Of course, the contemporary response to a shortage of ordained pastors in particular geographic areas has been synod's "licensing" lay people to preside at holy communion.
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