Author Topic: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In  (Read 2958 times)

James_Gale

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Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« on: April 07, 2020, 06:03:26 PM »

Bishop Selbo today sent a letter to all NALC pastors regarding virtual communion.  You can read it here.


Here is the crux of Bishop Selbo's letter:

For the sake of the unity of the North American Lutheran Church and the greater Church catholic, for the purpose of allowing our own NALC Ministerium the time to think and pray through the implications, pro and con, of this significant change in practice, and for the greater purpose of ensuring that our witness to the world of the saving power of Jesus Christ, offered to us through His cross and in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, is not divided, I request that we place a moratorium on the virtual sharing of the Lordís Supper, until we have allowed ourselves sufficient time to come to a thoughtful and prayerful and collective understanding around such an important and significant question.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2020, 06:05:19 PM by James_Gale »

Richard Johnson

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Re: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2020, 07:52:21 PM »
Good for him--and I find this a pleasant surprise; he's pretty "low church" in his own background and practice.
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TERJr

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Re: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2020, 08:50:37 PM »
Good for him--and I find this a pleasant surprise; he's pretty "low church" in his own background and practice.

I thought it was very well done and honest. Perhaps in being elected bishop he actually became a bishop? I did find his appeal to unity to be a tad ironic.

Dave Likeness

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Re: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2020, 09:15:08 PM »
The use of the terms "low church" and  "high church" may apply to Methodists
and their conduct of the Divine Service.  Low church will would be a gathering of
Methodists in a rural, white wooden church where the pastor wears a black robe &
the congregation sings along with an electric organ. Yet those in the pews are
fed the Word of God from the pulpit as they glorify God with their hymns of praise.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2020, 09:20:45 PM by Dave Likeness »

Richard Johnson

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Re: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2020, 09:33:22 PM »
I don't quite take your point. Are you saying that "low church/high church" is a distinction that doesn't apply to Lutherans (or anyone besides Methodists)?
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

readselerttoo

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Re: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2020, 09:45:50 PM »
Wondering out loud here:   I wonder what the churches did during the years of the 1918 pandemic, the Spanish flu?  Any anecdotal evidence recorded anywhere that anyone knows about and would share?

Perhaps this has been addressed on another thread.

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Re: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2020, 09:54:39 PM »
Wondering out loud here:   I wonder what the churches did during the years of the 1918 pandemic, the Spanish flu?  Any anecdotal evidence recorded anywhere that anyone knows about and would share?

Perhaps this has been addressed on another thread.

Here in my town, the churches were ordered to shut down, and most of them did. The local Episcopal rector was actually arrested for removing his face mask while conducting a funeral. Interesting story about one of the early rectors of my current church, written up for the local paper by a member of the congregation who's something of a local historian:  https://www.theunion.com/news/gage-mckinney-flu-pandemic-led-to-pastors-conviction/
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Dave Benke

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Re: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2020, 09:58:24 PM »
Wondering out loud here:   I wonder what the churches did during the years of the 1918 pandemic, the Spanish flu?  Any anecdotal evidence recorded anywhere that anyone knows about and would share?

Perhaps this has been addressed on another thread.

Here in my town, the churches were ordered to shut down, and most of them did. The local Episcopal rector was actually arrested for removing his face mask while conducting a funeral. Interesting story about one of the early rectors of my current church, written up for the local paper by a member of the congregation who's something of a local historian:  https://www.theunion.com/news/gage-mckinney-flu-pandemic-led-to-pastors-conviction/

That's quite a story!  What I checked out was the funeral information.  36 funerals in 1918-19 labeled Complications/Pneumonia and once in awhile Flu.  It was all the same thing, but because it wasn't talked about publicly in some circles, they (maybe the ME?) labeled it Complications.  We could check the Atlantic District archives except they're currently under wraps.

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Re: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2020, 10:13:19 PM »
Several years ago the Journal of the Lancaster County (PA) Historical Society published an article about the Spanish Influenza.

I recall reading that the local newspapers had columns written by clergy for family devotions on "churchless Sundays"; and that the Priest of St. Mary's Catholic Church drew considerable public ire for keeping a side door (but not the main doors) of the edifice unlocked, allowing those who wished to be able to attend daily and Sunday Mass.
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Re: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2020, 11:25:03 PM »
Wondering out loud here:   I wonder what the churches did during the years of the 1918 pandemic, the Spanish flu?  Any anecdotal evidence recorded anywhere that anyone knows about and would share?

Perhaps this has been addressed on another thread.

Here in my town, the churches were ordered to shut down, and most of them did. The local Episcopal rector was actually arrested for removing his face mask while conducting a funeral. Interesting story about one of the early rectors of my current church, written up for the local paper by a member of the congregation who's something of a local historian:  https://www.theunion.com/news/gage-mckinney-flu-pandemic-led-to-pastors-conviction/

That's quite a story!  What I checked out was the funeral information.  36 funerals in 1918-19 labeled Complications/Pneumonia and once in awhile Flu.  It was all the same thing, but because it wasn't talked about publicly in some circles, they (maybe the ME?) labeled it Complications.  We could check the Atlantic District archives except they're currently under wraps.

Dave Benke
Iíll have to follow up with pastor ... the first Sunday with streaming worship and Bible Class a member of the congregation had provided pastor with some brief historical information that the worship at the congregation was suspended for a period during 1918-19 ... I donít think exact dates were given ... but since it was the first topic in the first zoom Bible Class, I may have been distracted by technology or a comfortable chair. ;)


While not a project for this week, it is statistically significant to know how many funerals were labeled Complications/Pneumonia/flu in 1916/1917 and/or 1920/1921.  Data from these years would would establish a statistical baseline.  For example .. if the average number of funerals labeled Complications/Pneumonia/flu in 1916/1917 and/or 1920/1921 was 18-20, then the there were roughly double the deaths due to that pandemic .... if the average number of deaths from these causes was only 8-10,  number of deaths due to the pandemic was 4 times greater.

Health care a hundred years ago was no where near what it is today, so numbers we consider shocking today could have been an unfortunate Ďnormalí for our ancestors 100 years ago.

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2020, 11:51:38 PM »
Wondering out loud here:   I wonder what the churches did during the years of the 1918 pandemic, the Spanish flu?  Any anecdotal evidence recorded anywhere that anyone knows about and would share?

Perhaps this has been addressed on another thread.

Ah, the disadvantage of no longer serving a congregation that was around in that time with the communions recorded in the parish register.  I do know, though, that Communion was offered (in that Iowa Synod congregation) only 4-5 times a year.  Lutherans certainly wouldn't have been in a dither after 3 weeks.

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Re: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2020, 02:55:21 AM »
Wondering out loud here:   I wonder what the churches did during the years of the 1918 pandemic, the Spanish flu?  Any anecdotal evidence recorded anywhere that anyone knows about and would share?

Perhaps this has been addressed on another thread.

Ah, the disadvantage of no longer serving a congregation that was around in that time with the communions recorded in the parish register.  I do know, though, that Communion was offered (in that Iowa Synod congregation) only 4-5 times a year.  Lutherans certainly wouldn't have been in a dither after 3 weeks.


Lutherans almost always can find something to get in a dither about.
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John_Hannah

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Re: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2020, 09:23:06 AM »
Bishop Selbo shows uncommonly (for Lutherans) sound "episcopal common sense." (Surprised to know that his background has been "low church" since it hardly shows in this statement.)

Blessed Holy Week to all.   Peace, JOHN
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Steven W Bohler

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Re: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2020, 09:34:41 AM »
Bishop Selbo shows uncommonly (for Lutherans) sound "episcopal common sense." (Surprised to know that his background has been "low church" since it hardly shows in this statement.)

Blessed Holy Week to all.   Peace, JOHN

I agree.  Humility and wisdom are both apparent in the letter.  The same things I see in our President Harrison.

Daniel Lee Gard

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Re: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2020, 10:56:53 AM »
I appreciate Bishop Selbo's words. Pastors are struggling to find ways to fulfill Word and Sacrament ministry in circumstances we did not anticipate. But the choices made by one pastor will affect the ministry of others and thus need to follow mutual conversation. Eucharistic practice in a crisis will have repercussions after the crisis has passed. I hope that NALC pastors will heed his words.