Archive for the ‘American Lutheran Church (1930-1960)’ Tag

Beloved of God: Worship Supplement 2000   9 comments

Worship Supplement 2000 Spine

Above:  The Spine of Worship Supplement 2000

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor




Beloved of God:  Let us draw near with a true heart, and confess our sins to God our Father, asking Him, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to grant us forgiveness.

Worship Supplement 2000, page 1



In July 2013 I wrote twenty-one posts in the U.S. Lutheran Liturgy series here at BLOGA THEOLOGICA.  Now, almost two years later, I return to that series with this entry, in which I turn to the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLC).  Some historical background is essential to placing this denomination within the context of U.S. Lutheranism.

I recall an expression I heard while growing up in United Methodism in southern Georgia, U.S.A.

There are Baptists then there are Baptists,

I learned.  The same principle applies to Confessional Lutherans.  The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) is conservative, but the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), with German immigrant origins, and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), with Norwegian immigrant roots, stand to its right.  To their right one finds the Church of the Lutheran Confession.

The LCMS has experienced occasional schisms, mostly to its right.  (Most denominational schisms have occurred to the right, not the left, for they have usually happened in the name of purity, not breadth, of doctrine.)  The Orthodox Lutheran Conference (OLC) broke away from the LCMS in 1951, citing doctrinal drift in the form of the first part of the Common Confession (1950) with The American Lutheran Church (1930-1960).  The OLC experienced subsequent division, reorganizing as the Concordia Lutheran Conference in 1956.  Some congregations became independent, others defected to the WELS in 1963, and others joined the Lutheran Churches of the Reformation, another LCMS breakaway group, in 1964.

The Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America (1872-1967, although inactive from 1966 to 1967), was an umbrella organization of Confessional Lutheran denominations.  It member synods varied over time, with some denominations leaving it due to doctrinal differences, but it consisted of four synods toward the end.  Those were the LCMS, the ELS, the WELS, and the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (SELC).  The WELS and the ELS departed in 1963, after years of condemning the LCMS of consorting with heretical Lutheran denominations, such as the 1930-1960 and 1960-1987 incarnations of The American Lutheran Church.  The SELC merged into the LCMS, becoming the SELC District thereof, in 1971.

The Church of the Lutheran Confession, formed in 1960, attracted members from the LCMS, the Concordia Lutheran Conference, the ELS, and primarily from the WELS.  Its raison d’etre was to oppose unionism, or ecumenism with alleged heretics, and to stand for pure doctrine, as it understood it.  That purpose continues, as the official website of the denomination attests.


Although some CLC pastors have prepared liturgies, the two official service book-hymnals of the denomination are The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) and Worship Supplement 2000.  The Lutheran Hymnal (1941), a product of the former Synodical Conference, remains one of the most influential hymnals in U.S. Lutheranism.  The denominations which authorized it have published official successors to it–the LCMS (with its SELC District) in 1982 and 2006, the WELS in 1993, and the ELS in 1996.  Nevertheless, The Lutheran Hymnal remains in use in some congregations of those bodies as well as in the CLC.

Worship Supplement 2000 Cover

Above:  The Cover of Worship Supplement 2000

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Language and hymnody move along, however, hence the existence of Worship Supplement 2000.  The volume contains three services, a small selection of Psalms, and 100 hymns.  The book itself is a sturdy hardback measuring 23.4 x 15.5 x 1.8 centimeters, making it taller, wider, and thinner than my copy of The Lutheran Hymnal.  The paper is thick, of high quality, and the fonts are attractive and clear.

TLH and WS2000

Above:  My Copies of The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) and Worship Supplement 2000

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Worship Supplement 2000:  Services

The three services are Service of Word and Sacrament (Settings 1 and 2) and the Service of the Word.  The two Services of Word and Sacrament follow the same pattern:

  • Preparation for Worship–Entrance Hymn, Invocation, and Confession and Absolution;
  • The Service of the Word–Kyrie, Gloria in Excelsis, Prayer of the Day, First Lesson, Psalm of the Day, Second Lesson, Creed (Nicene or Apostles’), Hymn of the Day, Sermon, Offertory, Offerings, Prayer of the Church, and the Lord’s Prayer (traditional or contemporary language); and
  • The Service of the Sacrament (except for the last two parts, optional most Sundays)–Sanctus, Words of Institution, Agnus Dei, Distribution, Thanksgiving, Hymn and Benediction.

Setting 1 is an updated version of the basic service from The Lutheran Hymnal.  Setting 2 is a more recent rite with different language.

A Service of the Word follows a similar pattern, minus the Holy Communion, of course:

  • Hymn
  • Invocation
  • Confession and Absolution
  • First Lesson
  • Second Lesson
  • Apostles’ Creed
  • Hymn of the Day
  • Sermon, Homily, or Bible Study
  • Prayers
  • Lords Prayer
  • Hymn
  • Benediction

As with other Confessional Lutheran worship resources, the church is “Christian,” not “catholic,” in the Creeds.

The Eucharistic rites, consistent with most Confessional Lutheran practice, lack the Canon, present in Roman Catholic and Anglican liturgies.

The theology of absolution of sin in Worship Supplement 2000 interests me.  I, as an Episcopalian of a certain stripe, accept the language “I absolve you” easily.  As with my fellow Episcopalians, there is a range of opinion regarding this matter among Lutherans.  Worship Supplement 2000 contains both the “I absolve you” form and the mere announcement of divine forgiveness.  This practice is consistent with the usage of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod in its Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996) and with The Lutheran Hymnal (1941).  The two forms of absolution continues in most subsequent LCMS resources, although the Hymnal Supplement 98 (1998) provides only one absolution:

Upon this your confession, I, by virtue of my office as a called and ordained servant of the Word, announce the grace of God to all of you, and in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

–Page 6

Historic practice in most of the denominations which merged over time in phases to constitute the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) was for the presiding minister to announce God’s forgiveness of sin.  With the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), however, the option of the minister forgiving sins entered the liturgy.  It has remained.  James Gerhardt Sucha’s unofficial supplement to the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), The Service Hymnal:  A Lutheran Homecoming (2001) lacks the “I forgive you” language.

The practice in the WELS, however, is to use only the “I forgive you” form of the absolution.

Worship Supplement 2000:  Psalms

Portions of Psalms arranged topically fill pages 25-42 of the book.  The presentation of these texts is such that a congregation may either read, sing, or chant them.  The texts come from, in order, Psalms 24, 96, 81, 51, 118, 2, 51, 45, 91, 30, 100, 23, 66, 84, 38, 85, 146, and 121.

Worship Supplement 2000:  Hymns

Worship Supplement contains 100 hymns, #701-800.  The arrangement of these begins with the church year (#701-740) then moves to topics (frequently doctrines):

  • Worship and Praise (#741-748)
  • Baptism (#749-753)
  • Lord’s Supper (#754-755)
  • Redeemer (#756-763)
  • Church (#764-768)
  • Evangelism (#769-773)
  • Word of God (#774-775)
  • Justification (#776-779)
  • Ministry (#780-781)
  • Trust (#782-785)
  • Consecration (#786)
  • Morning (#787)
  • Stewardship (#788-789)
  • Marriage (#790-791)
  • Thanksgiving (#792-793)
  • Christ’s Return (#794-795)
  • Evening (#796)
  • Hymns of the Liturgy (#797-800)

Many of the hymns are absent from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) for various reasons, including chronology.  Thus some Brian Wren texts appear in Worship Supplement 2000.  However, certain hymns which were old in 1941 and absent from The Lutheran Hymnal are present.  So are some hymns which are present in The Lutheran Hymnal.  Their versions from 2000 contain updated translations and modernized pronouns.  I commend the editor for avoiding “seven-eleven” songs, which come from the shallow end of the theological gene pool and are popular with devotees of contemporary worship.

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty TLH 1941

Above:  “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor


Praise to the Lord, the Almighty WS2000

Above:  The First Page of “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” from Worship Supplement 2000

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Notice the updated language and the altered tune.

Worship Supplement 2000:  Acknowledgments and Indices

Worship Supplement 2000 ends with copyright acknowledgments and with indices.  There are two indices–first lines and hymn tunes.


Worship Supplement 2000, as a book, has much to commend it.  This statement applies to the quality of the binding, the thickness of the paper, and the readability of the fonts as much as to the contents.  I write this despite that, according the Church of the Lutheran Confession, I am probably going to Hell.  (And I think of myself as an observant Christian!)  The matters of my salvation, however, reside in the purview of God, not any denomination.









I have provided some documentation via hyperlinks.  A list of books I have used to prepare this post follows.

American Lutheran Hymnal.  Columbus, OH:  Lutheran Book Concern, 1930.

Christian Worship:  A Lutheran Hymnal.  Milwaukee, WI:  Northwestern Publishing House, 1993.

Christian Worship:  Supplement.  Milwaukee, WI:  Northwestern Publishing House, 2008.

Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Publication of the United Lutheran Church in America, 1918.

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary.  St. Louis, MO:  MorningStar Music Publishers, Inc., 1996.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 2006.

Hymnal for Church and Home.  Third Edition.  Blair, NE:  Danish Lutheran Publishing House, 1938.

Hymnal Supplement 98.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1998.

Lutheran Book of Worship.  Minneapolis, MO:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1978.  Reprint, 1990.

The Lutheran Hymnal.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1941.

The Lutheran Hymnary.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House.  1935.

Lutheran Service Book.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 2006.

Lutheran Worship.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1982.  Reprint, 1986.

Service Book and Hymnal.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1958.  Reprint, 1961,

The Service Hymnal:  A Lutheran Homecoming.  Edited by James Gerhardt Sucha.  Boulder, CO:  Voice of the Rockies Publishing, 2001.

With One Voice:  A Lutheran Resource for Worship.  Minneapolis, MO:  Augsburg Fortress, 1995.

Worship Supplement.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1969.

Worship Supplement 2000.  Compiled and Edited by John C. Reim.  Eau Claire, WI:  Church of the Lutheran Confession, 2000.  Reprint, 2007.


Holy Art Thou: The Service Book and Hymnal (1958)   14 comments

Service Book and Hymnal (1958)

Above:  My Copies of the Service Book and Hymnal (1958) and The Lutheran Liturgy (1959), July 22, 2013




Holy art thou, almighty and Merciful God, Holy art thou, and great is the majesty of thy glory.

Thou didst so love the world as to give thine only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life; Who, having come into the world to fulfill for us thy holy will and to accomplish all things for our salvation, IN THE NIGHT IN WHICH HE WAS BETRAYED, TOOK BREAD; AND WHEN HE HAD GIVEN THANKS, HE BRAKE IT AND GAVE IT TO HIS DISCIPLES, SAYING TAKE, EAT; THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH IS GIVEN FOR YOU; THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.


Remembering, therefore, his salutary precept, his life-giving Passion and Death, his glorious Resurrection and Ascension and the promise of his coming again, we give thanks to thee, O Lord God Almighty, not as we ought, but as we are able; and we beseech thee mercifully to accept our praise and thanksgiving, and with thy Word and Holy Spirit to bless us, thy servants, and these thine gifts of bread and wine, so that we and all who partake thereof may be filled with heavenly benediction and grace, and, receiving the remission of sins, be sanctified in soul and body, and have our portion with thy saints.

And unto thee, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory in thy holy Church, world without end.  Amen.

–The Prayer of Thanksiving, as printed on page 11 of the Service Book and Hymnal (1958)



This post, being Part XI of an ongoing series, flows from previous entries, links to which I have provided here:



The Service Book and Hymnal (1958), prepared and authorized by eight denominations, superceded five official hymnals-service books:

  1. The Common Service Book (1917), of The United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA);
  2. The Hymnal and Order of Service (1925), of the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church; used also by the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since 1930;
  3. The Hymnal for Church and Home (1927, 1938, and 1949), of the two Danish-American synods, The United Evangelical Lutheran Church and the American Evangelical Lutheran Church;
  4. The American Lutheran Hymnal (1930), of The American Lutheran Church (1930-1960); and
  5. The Lutheran Hymnary (1935), of The Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The Service Book and Hymnal also superceded (for the hymnody, at least), The Concordia Hymnal (1932), which The Lutheran Free Church did not authorize but did encourage the use of as its unofficial hymnal.

One of the functions of multi-synodical U.S. Lutheran hymnals and service books has been to foster unity.  Thus new hymnals-service books across denominational lines have preceded mergers.  Examples include:

  • The Lutheran Hymnary (1913), four years before the merger;
  • the Common Service Book (1917), one year before the merger;
  • the Service Book and Hymnal (1958), before mergers in 1960, 1962, and 1963; and
  • the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), nine years before the merger.

The second American Lutheran Church formed by union in 1960; The Lutheran Free Church joined it three years later.  And the Lutheran Church in America came into existence via merger in 1962.  Thus the Service Book and Hymnal (hereafter abbreviated as SBH), became the hymnal of two denominations.



In 1944 the ULCA, pondering the revision of its Common Service Book (1917), resolved to cooperate with as many Lutheran bodies as possible in creating the next hymnal-service book.  The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, having published its Lutheran Hymnal in 1941 (, declined to participate.  The Joint Commission on the Hymnal, organized in 1945, got down to work with Dr. Luther D. Reed as the chairman.

Aside:  Reed’s account of the preparation process in The Lutheran Liturgy (1959 edition) is thorough without being tedious.  I, seeing no need to paraphrase all of that account here, refer my readers to that fine volume.

Among the issues the representatives of the eight denominations needed to resolve was the plethora of minute differences in their respective variations of the Common Service.  Muhlenberg’s dream of “one church, one book” lived in the minds of many who labored to make the SBH.  When all was accomplished, the Joint Commission had prepared a revolutionary yet traditional resource–a milestone of U.S. Lutheran liturgy.



The SBH (1958) contains 314 pages of liturgy and 602 hymns.  This volume, the new book of worship for about two-thirds of U.S. Lutherans, deserves much analysis, a short version of which follows.  The complete, book-length analysis comes courtesy of Luther D. Reed, in the 1959 edition of The Lutheran Liturgy.

The SBH Music Edition contains only part of the ritual.  Other material, such as the occasional services, comes bound separately and in the Text Edition.  I am writing based on the Music Edition, which refers one to the Text Edition for

the whole body of liturgical services.

–page x

The Calendar looks familiar from the Common Service Book (1917), with two additions which attract my attention.  All Saints’ Day (November 1) and the Feast of the Holy Innocents (1958) are new.

The Common Service is present, excluding all other rituals for the Holy Communion.  There are, however, two major differences between this variation on it and the 1888 original version:

  1. Although the Church is still “Christian” in the Creeds, there is a footnote which mentions that the use of “catholic” is “the traditional and generally accepted text.”  Reed’s disapproval of the continued substitution of “Christian” for “catholic” notwithstanding, at least he got an asterisk and a footnote to make an accurate point.  It was a partial victory.
  2. There is now a Lutheran Canon/Prayer of Thanksgiving.  Reed had proposed one in the 1947 edition of The Lutheran Liturgy (pages 336-337) after arguing for the existence of such a Eucharistic Prayer (on pages 331-336).  His 1947 proposed Prayer of Thanksgiving resembles the 1958 Prayer closely, for he and Paul Zeller Strodach collaborated on the final version, which I reproduced at the beginning of this post.  Variation of the 1958 Prayer of Thanksgiving appears in the Missouri Synod’s Worship Supplement (1969) and Lutheran Service Book (2006), the ecumenical Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), and Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

There are also the usual prayers and services one expects in such a Lutheran book:  Matins, Vespers, Collects, Introits, Baptism, Confession, Burial of the Dead, and Marriage.  The lectionary, which supports the services Eucharistic and otherwise, is a one-year cycle with three readings per day.



As I ponder the SBH in historical context, I recognize it as an intermediate step.  The Nicene Creed is still in the first-person singular and the Church is still “Christian,” for example, but that began to change by the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Most importantly from a liturgical point of view, the restoration of the Canon was a great step forward, one which the Missouri Synod accepted within eleven years, and which other more conservative synods have continued to reject.  Nevertheless, the ultra-conservative Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) added the canon to a service in its Christian Worship:  Supplement (2008).

The SBH was a great advance, one on which that which followed during the next twenty years built and expanded.

Next:  Lord of Heaven and Earth:  The Lutheran Book of Worship (1978).







Ambassador Hymnal for Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, 1994.

Christian Worship:  A Lutheran Hymnal.  Milwaukee, WI:  Northwestern Publishing House, 1993.

Commission on the Liturgy and Hymnal, The.  Service Book and Hymnal.  Music Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  United Lutheran Publication House, 1958.

Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church.  Philadelphia, PA:  The Board of Publication of The United Lutheran Church in America, 1917, 1918.

Concordia Hymnal, The:  A Hymnal for Church, School and Home.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1932.

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary.  St. Louis, MO:  MorningStar Music Publishers, Inc., 1996.

Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America, The.  The Lutheran Hymnal.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1941.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 2006.

Fevold, Eugene L.  The Lutheran Free Church:  A Fellowship of American Lutheran Congregations, 1897-1963.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1969.

Hymnal and Order of Service, The.  Lectionary Edition.  Rock Island, IL:  Augustana Book Concern, 1925.

Hymnal for Church and Home.  3d. Ed.  Blair, NE:  Danish Lutheran Publishing House, 1938.

Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship.  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Ministers Desk Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, 1978.

__________.  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Pew Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, 1978.

Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship for Provisional Use.  Contemporary Worship 2:  Services–The Holy Communion.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Education, Lutheran Church in America, 1970.

Lutheran Hymnary Including the Symbols of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, The.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1935.

Lutheran Intersynodical Hymnal Committee.  American Lutheran Hymnal.  Music Edition.  Columbus, OH:  The Lutheran Book Concern, 1930.

Lutheran Service Book.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 2006.

Melton, J. Gordon.  Encyclopedia of American Religions.  4h. Ed.  Washington, DC:  Gale Research, Inc., 1993.

Pfatteicher, Phiip H.  Commentary on the Lutheran Book of Worship:  Lutheran Liturgy in Its Ecumenical Context.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 1990.

Pfatteicher, Philip H., and Carlos R. Messerli.  Manual on the Liturgy:  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1979.

Reed, Luther D.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Service of the Lutheran Church in America.  Philadelphia, PA:  Muhlenberg Press, 1947.

__________.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Liturgy of the Lutheran Church in America.  2d. Ed.  Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1959.

Stulken, Marilyn Kay.  Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship.  Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1981.

Wentz, Abdel Ross.  The Lutheran Church in American History.  2d. Ed.  Philadelphia, PA:  The United Lutheran Publication House, 1933.

With One Voice:  A Lutheran Resource for Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 1995.

Worship Supplement.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1969.

I also found some PDFs helpful:

Christian Worship:  Supplement Introductory Resources.  Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 2008.

DeGarmeaux, Bruce.  “O Come, Let Us Worship!  A Study of Lutheran Liturgy and Hymnody.”  1995.

Schalk, Carl.  ”A Brief History of LCMS Hymnals (before LSB).”  Based on a 1997 document; updated to 2006.  Copyrighted by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

Zabell, Jon F.  “The Formation of Function of WELS Hymnals:  Further Conversation.”  For the National Conference of Worship, Music, and the Arts, July 2008.



Truly Meet, Right, and Salutary: The Common Service in The United Lutheran Church in America and The American Lutheran Church, 1918-1930   16 comments


Above:  Detail of the Pulpit and the Altar, St. James German Evangelical Lutheran Church, Altoona, Pennsylvania

Image Created by the Historic American Buildings Survey

Image Source = Library of Congress


Reproduction Number = HABS PA,7-ALTO,78–2




We would gladly behold the day when the One, Holy, Catholic, Christian Church shall use one Order of Service, and unite in one Confession of Faith.

–From the Preface to the Common Service (1888); Quoted in Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church (1917), page 308


It is truly meet, right, and salutary, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty Everlasting God.

–The Common Service (1888)



In U.S. Lutheran Liturgy, Part I (, I wrote about the process which culminated in the unveiling of the Common Service in 1888.  I chose not to write about that liturgy because I had already entered twenty-four pages of writing from a composition book.  In U.S. Liturgy, Part II (, I focused on the Common Service.  Now, in Part III, I write about it in The United Lutheran Church in America (1918-1962) and The American Lutheran Church (1930-1060).

I have been studying this material closely, trying to record information accurately as I have reviewed primary and secondary sources.  This has required a commitment of much time, for there are so many synods about which to read.  And, since I grew up United Methodist in southern Georgia, U.S.A., in the Baptist Belt, Lutherans were scarce, if present at all, when I was quite young.  My spiritual journey has taken me into The Episcopal Church.  Anglicanism and Lutheranism have many theological and liturgical similarities and considerable theological overlap, but my adopted vantage point is still one outside of Lutheranism.  If I have misstated anything, I can correct it.

The material is, by its nature, complicated.  I have tried to organize and format it for maximum ease of reading and learning, however.  So, without further ado, I invite you, O reader, to follow the proverbial bouncing balls with me.  Breaking up content into a series of posts should help in the process of digesting the material intelligently; that is my purpose and hope.



Dr. Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door at Wittenberg in 1517.  1917 being the 400th anniversary of that event, many U.S. Lutherans focused on the occasion to reduce factionalism and to establish a measure of organic unity.  That year three Norwegian synods merged to form the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America, which renamed itself The Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1946.  (I will write about this branch of U.S. Lutheranism in a subsequent post.)  And, in 1917, the General Synod (1820), the United Synod of the South (immediate roots back to 1863), and the General Council (1867) agreed to reunite the following year as The United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA).

The ULCA’s hymnal and service book was the Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church (1917) (CSB), prepared by the denomination’s three predecessor bodies and modeled after the General Synod’s Church Book, itself a towering liturgical achievement.  The CSB followed the Table of Contents of the Church Book closely, down to the CSB‘s Occasional Services, which resemble the Church Book‘s Orders for Ministerial Acts.

Fixed feasts interest me.  So I note that the General Synod’s Liturgy for the Evangelical Lutheran Church (1881) ( had only four such feasts:

  • Christmas Day (December 25),
  • the Circumcision of Jesus (January 1),
  • the Epiphany (January 6), and
  • Reformation Day (October 31).

The General Council’s Church Book had those also and added the feast days for St. Stephen, St. Michael the Archangel, the Conversion of St. Paul, the Presentation of Jesus, the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Apostles (including St. Matthias).  The Southern Book of Worship had all of these except the Feast of All Saints.  The CSB followed the lead of the Southern Book of Worship.  And none of these volumes recognized the Holy Innocents or the Confession of St. Peter.  As for the latter omission, I suppose that “…upon this rock…” was too hot a potato for people who did not want to call the Church “Catholic” as late as 1917.

The Icelandic Evangelical Lutheran Synod of America (formed in 1885) merged into the historically German-American ULCA in 1942.  Thus the ULCA became more heterogeneous.

The ULCA merged into the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) in 1962.  The LCA, in turn, helped to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 1987.



On August 11, 1930, three historically German-American denominations merged to form The American Lutheran Church.  The Buffalo Synod had formed in 1845.  The Iowa Synod had broken away from the Missouri Synod in 1854.  And the Joint Synod of Ohio and Other States had broken away from the Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Other States in 1818 ahead of the creation of the General Synod in 1820.  The American Lutheran Church was an ecumenically active denomination more conservative than The United Lutheran Church in America and more liberal than the Missouri Synod.

The Buffalo Synod used German liturgies initially.  Its first English-language hymnal and service book, produced with the Joint Synod of Ohio and Other States, was The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal (1880) (  The Sunday morning service in the 1880 edition resembled that of the Southern Book of Worship, but the same sort of material in the 1908 version ( looked very much like the Pennsylvania Liturgy of 1860 (  The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal also offered various forms for evening worship and provided an afternoon service.

The Iowa Synod published the Wartburg Hymnal for Church, School, and Home (1918) (  The Common Service formed the basis for the Communion and the Vespers liturgies there.

The American Lutheran Hymnal (1930), less stately and artsy than the Common Service Book (which came with calligraphy on some pages) offered fewer services than the CSB yet duplicated much material (such as the Common Service) from it.  Other liturgical material came from the 1908 and 1918 hymnals.

The American Lutheran Church (1930-1960) merged into The American Lutheran Church (TALC) in 1960.  TALC, in turn, helped to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 1987.



The three main predecessor bodies of The United Lutheran Church in America had prepared the Common Service.  They had been using it for decades when the Common Service Book (1917) debuted.  Adoption of the Common Service in the denominations which formed The American Lutheran Church in 1930 was gradual, however.  Immigrant patterns were giving way to a dominant American liturgy.










As much as possible I prefer to work with primary sources, although secondary sources frequently prove invaluable in making the best sense of those primary sources.  And I prefer to work with actual bound volumes as much as possible.  For this post, however, some of my sources has been electronic, and I have provided links to them.  So I consider those linked ones cited properly.  I did find certain bound volumes invaluable.  Those credits follow:

Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church.  Philadelphia, PA:  The Board of Publication of The United Lutheran Church in America, 1917, 1918.

Lutheran Intersynodical Hymnal Committee.  American Lutheran Hymnal.  Music Edition.  Columbus, OH:  The Lutheran Book Concern, 1930.

Pfatteicher, Philip H., and Carlos R. Messerli.  Manual on the Liturgy:  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1979.

Reed, Luther D.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Service of the Lutheran Church in America.  Philadelphia, PA:  Muhlenberg Press, 1947.

__________.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Liturgy of the Lutheran Church in America.  2d. Ed.  Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1959.

Stulken, Marilyn Kay.  Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship.  Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1981.

Wentz, Abdel Ross.  The Lutheran Church in American History.  2d. Ed.  Philadelphia, PA:  The United Lutheran Publication House, 1933.



The Inclusive Gospel of Jesus, Part I   2 comments


Above:  Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit, Cumming, Georgia, Pentecost Sunday, June 12 2011

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta


The Assigned Readings for This Sunday:

Acts 2:1-21 or Genesis 11:1-9

Psalm 104:25-35, 37

Romans 8:14-17 or Acts 2:1-21

John 7:37-39a

The Collect:

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Some Related Posts:

Fiftieth Day of Easter:  Day of Pentecost, Year A:

Fiftieth Day of Easter:  Day of Pentecost, Year B:

A Prayer for Those With Only the Holy Spirit to Intercede for Them:

Come Down, O Love Divine:

Come, Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove:

Invocation to the Holy Spirit:

Holy Spirit, Font of Light:

Prayer of Praise and Adoration for the Day of Pentecost:

Prayer of Confession for the Day of Pentecost:

Prayer of Dedication for the Day of Pentecost:

Like the Murmur of the Dove’s Song:

Spirit of God, Unleashed on Earth:

Pentecost Prayer of Adoration:

Pentecost Prayers for Openness to God:

Pentecost Prayers of Confession:

Come, Holy Spirit, Come!:

Come, Blessed Spirit! Source of Light!:

Come to Our Poor Nature’s Night:

Holy Ghost, With Light Divine:

Divine Spirit, Attend Our Prayers:

Come, Thou Holy Spirit Bright:


The LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS blog terminates each church year at the Day of Pentecost.  This practice makes sense because Pentecost Sunday is the last day of the Easter season.  There is another reason, however.  Liturgical renewal and restructuring for most of Western Christianity, beginning with the Roman Catholic Church in Advent 1969, has led to the labeling of the subsequent Sundays in Ordinary Time (beginning two weeks after Pentecost Sunday) as “after Pentecost” in lieu of the prior dominant practice, “after Trinity.”  (Disclaimer:  U.S. Methodists used to divide the post-Pentecost and pre-Advent time into two seasons:  Whitsuntude and Kingdomtide, with the latter beginning on the last Sunday in August.  And the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal (1958) lists Ordinary Time Sundays as both “after Pentecost” and “after Trinity.”)  Trinity Sunday, of course, is the Sunday immediately following the Day of Pentecost.  Anyhow, those who continue to observe Sundays after Trinity are liturgical outliers.  My own denomination, since its 1979 Book of Common Prayer and the process which led up to it, operates on the Sundays after Pentecost pattern.  It is what I have known.  The 1928 Book of Common Prayer is an artifact from which I have never worshiped.  Sundays after Trinity seem quaint to me.

So here we are, on the cusp of changing seasons and Sunday numbering (the Propers through 29 are almost upon us), pondering two opposite and assigned stories.  The Tower of Babel myth tells of linguistic differences causing confusion and thwarting human ambitions.  (We know from anthropology, history, and science that linguistic diversity is much older than the timeframe of the Tower of Babel story.)  The sin in the myth is pride, which God confounds.  Yet linguistic variety cannot confound God’s purposes in Acts 2 because God will not permit it to do so.  The proverbial living water of Jesus, whose glorification in the Gospel of John was his crucifixion–something humiliating and shameful by human standards–would be available regardless of one’s language.

Thus the Church was born.  It is always changing and reforming, adapting to changing circumstances and seeking to look past human prejudices and false preconceptions.  I prefer to include as many people as possible while maintaining liturgical reverence and orthodox (Chalcedonian, etc.) Christology.  I do, in other words have boundaries, but they are too large according to those on my right and too small according to those on my left.  That makes me something of a moderate, I suppose.  ”Left of center” might be more accurate.  Regardless of who is correct, may the church and its constituent parts follow the crucified and resurrected Lord and Savior, who transmuted shame and humiliation into glory, who ate with notorious sinners, whose grace scandalized respectable and respected religious authorities.  Or are we become modern counterparts of the scribes and Pharisees with whom Jesus locked horns?






Adapted from this post: