Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Why you need to come to Oktoberfest in Kewanee (Oct 9-11)

* A reverent celebration of the Mass with solid preaching.

* The chance to receive Holy Absolution before Mass.

* Prof. William Weinrich (see below)

* Sheboygan bratwurst cooked by a Sheboygan native for the Sunday banquet.

* Top notch German potato salad too.

* The best evening of drinking and theological discussion in the Missouri Synod.

* That point in the evening when Fritz puts on Hotel California and asks, "Now, what does this hymn mean?"

* Solemn Vespers to close your Sunday.

* A most gracious hostess in Mrs. Eckardt.

* Good company - a wonderful group of faithful pastors to bounce ideas off of, commiserate, and debate.

I could go on and on. Oktoberfest in Kewanee is simply what a general pastors' conference should be but what many, sadly, are not. It will refresh you for your busy fall and winter and send you home with some new theological thought to chew on - it always does!

REGISTRATION: $25 per person (students $20) $40 per couple — includes Sunday banquet and Monday continental and luncheon; no charge for children with parents.

To register, please call 309-852-2461 and leave your registration information (name[s] and address) or register by email with the the option of using PayPal with an account or a major credit card, by clicking here and putting "Oktoberfest" in the purpose line for the donation. Or you may pay the registration fee when you arrive. Please register ahead, even if you choose to pay when you arrive.

Featuring Dr. William Weinrich, Oktoberfest will begin as usual on Sunday night with Choral Vespers, a bratwurst banquet, and a big party. Monday features an all-day seminar with Dr. Weinrich. Dr Weinrich's topic will be "Baptism in the Gospel of St. John." Tuesday: Gottesdienst Central, topic TBA

Friday, June 17, 2011

High Mass Without Communion, Part Deux (or Del Två)

By Larry Beane

Back in January, this post concerning communion frequency in Sweden as reflected through the pastoral eyes of Bishop Bo Giertz generated a good bit of discussion.  The Rev. Eric Andrae, the Swedish-born LCMS pastor, scholar, author, translator, and president of the International Giertz Society has provided some additional insight, which he has graciously permitted to be published here.  Pastor Andrae is perhaps the world's leading scholar on the life and writings of Bo Giertz.

[Note: for full access to the recently-held conference on Scandinavian Lutheranism held at the St. Catharines Seminary, in which Eric Andrae was one of the speakers, click here - or as they say in Sweden: klicka här.] 

Fr. Andrae writes:

An excerpt from my first essay in A Hammer for God:

Giertz continually stresses the centrality of the Lord’s Supper in the life of the corporate Church, the body of Christ, and bemoans the lack of frequent celebrations in the Church of Sweden: “To where has Communion disappeared?”[1] “The Sunday morning service [högmässa] without communion is and will continue to unsatisfactory expedient emergency measure.”[2] Because of its gifts, Giertz calls for weekly Communion or, at the very least, bi-weekly.[3] “Therefore the Church calls for courageous sons and that God can give a stream of life in our devastated congregations and give us a wave of devoted spirituality, which can teach our Swedish people again to experience the Christian mass[4] [mässan] as the soul’s saving meeting with God.”[5] This is what a truly sound “awakening” is: It leads “people into a regular worship life and a faithful use of the sacrament of Communion.”[6]  (49).

An excerpt from Giertz’s Kyrkofromhet:

A service [högmässa] without communion is a drama where the last act is missing.  It is maimed worship [gudstjänst], both from the perspective of history and of a living piety.  To remove communion means to twist the development back to the synagogue’s position, to be satisfied with the service of the Word and abandon that which is Jesus’ own new creation, the genuine Christian sacrament with its deeper fellowship with God and its intimate and fervent experience of Christ. (99).

See also Giertz’s Christ’s Church, chapter 8 on “The New Covenant,” esp., 111-112, 119-121.

Along with Gunnar Rosendal, Giertz was one of the leaders of Kyrkligförnyelse, which sought to renew the liturgical, sacramental, and prayer life of the church.  See Giertz’s reflections as recorded in, again, my first essay in A Hammer for God, 23-25.

Eric R. Andræ, IGS President
16 June 2011

[1] Giertz, Kristi Kyrka, 154, my translation.
[2] Giertz, Kyrkofromhet, 100, my translation.
[3] Giertz desires the Lord’s Supper to be celebrated weekly, but because of the great number of members of one Swedish parish, he states that a sole pastor – in the interest of time - might not be able to commune everyone every week if the number increased dramatically.  See Giertz, Kyrkofromhet, 101. [This footnote does not appear in A Hammer for God.]
[4] Changed translation:  “service” appears in A Hammer for God.
[5] Giertz, Kyrkofromhet, 102, my translation.
[6] Giertz, Liturgy and Spiritual Awakening, 30.  Olof Herrlin, Bishop of Visby 1962 – 1980, adds that “the liturgy itself can awaken people.  Since God’s word is active within it, from the Introit to the Benediction, it possesses the power of the word to seize, to arrest, to regenerate” (Divine Service: Liturgy in Perspective, trans. Gene J. Lund [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1966], 24).

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Beautiful Custom of Unity from Russia

By Larry Beane, cross-posted at Father Hollywood.

Here is an expression of "walking together" in the faith (which is what the word "Synod" means) as expressed by the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church from the "unofficial blog of St. Andrew's Congregation" in Novosibirsk.  There are many reasons why such an expression of unity among the clergy would not work in the Missouri Synod:
  • The synodically approved cross would likely be a magenta corporate logo with a registered trademark notification.  
  • The "confessional" types would condemn a cross without a corpus to be Nestorian.
  • No matter what the cross would look like, it would be politicized. 
  • It would become a "Formula X" issue that would bring out the secret desire of every Lutheran pastor to be Martin Luther nailing the theses to the church door and burning papal bulls while shouting "Freedom of the Gospel!" at the top of his lungs.
  • It would have to be made so as to clash neither with traditional clerical garb nor khakis and polo shirts.
  • It would be required for deaconesses, DCEs, DCOs and other "Ministers of Religion - Commissioned" to also be presented with the same synodical pectoral cross, thus ruining it.
  • To work in the U.S., there would have to be a place for decals honoring one's favorite college or NFL team.
But for our brothers in Russia, the priestly pectoral cross works out well, and it is a beautiful traditional expression of both the Holy Office and the unity of the congregations served by these men.