Committee to develop resources for `diverse worship`

A new eight-member committee has met twice — once in February and again in May — to prepare for developing resources in “diverse worship” for the Synod.

The group’s assignment is a step toward carrying out a resolution adopted by delegates to the Synod’s 2004 convention.

Titled “To Affirm Responsible Use of Freedom in Worship,” that resolution called for the LCMS Commission on Worship to “initiate a process leading toward the development of diverse worship resources” in the Synod and “affirm[ed] respect for diversity in worship practices as we build greater understanding of our theology of worship and foster further discussion of worship practices that are consistent with that theology.”

The committee’s members, appointed by the Commission on Worship, are “creative people who are involved in leading congregations and others in diverse approaches to worship — from traditional to never using a hymnal,” said Rev. William Otte of Rochester, Minn., the worship commission’s representative on the committee.

After noting that the Commission on Worship’s major assignment of spearheading development of Lutheran Service Book is nearly complete, Otte told Reporter that the new committee “will not talk much about traditional worship, but a diversity of worship approaches and styles.”

Plans call for the committee to hold another meeting this year before submitting a progress report for next year’s Synod convention.  Committee members also are sharing ideas via a dedicated Web discussion list.

Otte said that members have discussed a number of possibilities for resources.

“We want to help the church define what worship is in general, to help people discover what is Lutheran about worship,” he told Reporter.  “And, to that end, we want to identify material that will lead us to that, rather than leading us astray doctrinally.”

He said the committee is “leaning toward providing some kind of annotated, doctrinally sound resource list — Web-based, rather than hard-copy.  We’re exploring elements including hymns and songs, visual and sound enhancements like projectors and electronic devices, drama, dance — you name it.”

The committee does not see addressing ethnic or cultural diversity in worship as part of its assignment, according to Otte.

“That’s a whole different ballgame,” he said.

Making up the committee are four church musicians and four parish pastors, including Otte. 

The musicians are Beth Schult of St. Charles, Mo.; Jonathan Schultz, Broken Arrow, Okla.; Mary Voigt, Houston; and Robbie Robinson, Santa Clarita, Calif. 

The other pastors are Rev. Douglas Dommer, Tomball, Texas; Rev. James Pierce, Freehold, N.J.; and Rev. David Buuck, Minnetonka, Minn.

Posted June 5, 2006

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