Evangelical Lutheran Church in America - Practices - Worship

Worship

Published in 2006, Evangelical Lutheran Worship is the main hymnal used in congregations. Some congregations, however, continue to use the older Lutheran Book of Worship, and some even continue to use the older Service Book and Hymnal. Many congregations also make use of supplementary resources as well. Many ELCA congregations are classically liturgical churches. Their liturgy is rooted in the Western liturgical tradition, though Lutheran-Orthodox dialog has some minimal influence on Lutheran liturgy. Because of its use of the Book of Concord, including Luther's Small Catechism and its retention of many pre-Reformation traditions, such as vestments, feast days, the sign of the cross, and the usage of a church-wide liturgy, there are many aspects of the typical ELCA church that are very catholic and traditional in nature. Many Lutheran churches use traditional vestments (alb, cincture, stole, chasuble, cope, etc.). Since the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, most major parts of the ELCA's popular liturgies are worded exactly like the English Mass of the Roman Catholic Church. Many ELCA congregations use informal styles of worship or a blend of traditional and contemporary liturgical forms.

Springing from its revered heritage in the Lutheran Chorale, the musical life of ELCA congregations is just as diverse as its worship. Johann Sebastian Bach and African songs are part of the heritage and breadth of Lutheran church music. The musical portion of the Lutheran liturgy includes metrical psalter, metrical responses and hymns. Evangelical Lutheran Worship has ten settings of Holy Communion, for example. They range from plainsong chant, to Gospel, to Latin-style music. Congregations worship in many languages, many of which are represented in Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Other books used in ELCA churches include the Lutheran Book of Worship, With One Voice, This Far by Faith, and Libro de Liturgia y Cántico.

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