COVID Convocation Webinar Series: Church and Government

The LCC Ottawa Circuit “COVID Convocation Webinar Series” presents

Lutheran Theology and Political Resistance, with Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson

This will be a two part presentation

Part I: The Magdeburg Confession of 1550

  • Monday, October 5th at 6:30-8pm (Eastern)

Part II: How to Avoid Reading Romans 13 like a Nazi

  • Tuesday, October 6th at 6:30-8pm (Eastern)

Note: The two presentations will overlap a little. Both will have time for live Q&A and opportunity for practical present-day application.

>> Webinar HANDOUT for both sessions

>> Additional HANDOUT (follow-up from first session)

Introducing Dr. MacPherson

Dr. MacPherson serves as director of the Center for Apologetics and Worldview Studies and Professor of History and Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minn. He formerly served as senior editor for The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy and as a board member for the Evangelical Lutheran Synod Historical Society. His books include: Rediscovering the American Republic: The Quest for Ordered Liberty, Telling the Next Generation: The Evangelical Lutheran Synod’s Vision for Christian Education, and Studying Luther’s Large Catechism: A Workbook for Christian Discipleship. Learn more at www.ryancmacpherson.com.

Select bibliography

Dr MacPherson has published a number of articles on this topic, including:

Dr. MacPherson was recently a guest on Issues etc.

Register for this Webinar

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Essentially Serving – French Ministries in Confinement

by David Somers

(NOTE: This article originally published at https://www.canadianlutheran.ca/essentially-serving-french-ministries-in-confinement/ – Ed.)

QUEBEC – Physical distancing protocols and confinement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have created avenues for LCC’s francophone congregations that we may not have imagined or attempted before.

The fears surrounding the threat of COVID-19 have opened the door for genuine inquiries about members’ and contacts’ wellbeing. People are more receptive to the church’s questions and concerns about their wellness of mind, body, and spirit – and even welcome this type of contact, not just on a singular basis, but often as this virus remains among us. Frequent phone calls and ZOOM worship services; emailing daily devotions, weekly Bible studies and sermons for adults; as well as sharing videos and worksheets on each Sunday’s Gospel lesson for children have become the accepted normal for our francophone churches in Quebec – as we continue the work we ought to do, through new mediums.

The increased communication in depth and breadth has been well-received. Never before have our services been so consistently well-attended. Never before have so many families and their children been regularly following Sunday school instruction. Never before have we had so many catechumens at one time so faithfully participating in Christian instruction with the full and active support of their parents.

Never before have our services been so consistently well-attended. Never before have so many families and their children been regularly following Sunday school instruction. Never before have we had so many catechumens at one time so faithfully participating in Christian instruction with the full and active support of their parents.

In the case of the catechesis, all of the participating children are those of families that had rarely been seen in worship service in the past 1-4 years, but responded to the invitation to use this time in confinement as a chance to benefit from Christian education! Indeed, 10 households that had all but disappeared from the church are back as regular participants!

In hard-hit Quebec, as members, friends, families and colleagues have fallen ill and even passed away, requests for prayers increased, as did the congregations’ active response to them through phone calls, emails, and in the home. Our congregations continue to grow as praying communities, more than ever before.

When time for re-opening the churches in Quebec came in July, members began stepping up willingly and enthusiastically in Christian charity, with patience and helpfulness – a demonstration of an esprit de corps at a level not previously so prolongedly experienced among us.

When time for re-opening the churches in Quebec came in July, members began stepping up willingly and enthusiastically in Christian charity, with patience and helpfulness – a demonstration of an esprit de corps at a level not previously so prolongedly experienced among us.

During the confinement, we have increasingly taken advantage of the liturgical richness of the Lutheran Church through Matins and Vespers on ZOOM with their particular hymns, and appropriate prayers, such as the Suffrages. Pre-virus, the typical service twice a week in Montreal was one of three eucharistic liturgies. One example of the new opportunities to worship is Quebec Lutherans’ joining Good Shepherd in Moncton, New Brunswick, for Tuesday Vespers commemorating the minor festival of the week and catechetical instruction. Rev. David Milette is the liturgist and I offer the meditation. Another aspect of this increased use of the liturgical wealth is the commemoration of the saints and festivals of the Church – often forgotten – during those services. For example, in the month of August, the feasts of St. Lawrence, St. Mary, St. Bartholomew and the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist were celebrated. These services also serve as a way for Good Shepherd to reach out to the wider Acadian community in French and allows Quebec (and elsewhere) to support New Brunswick: a weekly mission trip by ZOOM!

It is indeed true: Built on the Rock the Church doth stand – even when church buildings are closed, even when we cannot congregate and commune as before, even when we cannot sing together in person. We can nevertheless worship as surely as ever.

Until Pentecost (and even now), we turned to our sister church in France for weekly live Bible studies and YouTube services (since France was set up for confinement services before us, we could simply join what they had already been doing for weeks). Confinement proved to be a great opportunity for members here to get to know that church more intimately than ever before. Special editions of daily devotions were produced by that church body and shared with us electronically. Then, as of Pentecost, we had joint (Qc-Mtl) Zoom Sunday Matins from Montreal (from my living room). When the church building where we meet was opened in July, services were held there Sundays (with ZOOM) and Mondays. Overall attendance has been higher at the Zoom services than in-church services. In all, we have increased the number of weekly services from 3 to 5 for the time being. A virtual choir (another COVID-19 era development) has been organized by a Montreal member. To celebrate the Reformation this year, it has taken on an international flavour with members of the church in France accepting Quebec’s invitation to join the choir. Francophone Lutherans in Haiti and the USA have also been invited to sing along.

In this horrible and cruel pandemic the Word has not only persisted but transformed, enlightened, strengthened and energized us like never before in an across-the-board way. Proclamation of the Word is not bound, but is flourishing. It is indeed true: Built on the Rock the Church doth stand – even when church buildings are closed, even when we cannot congregate and commune as before, even when we cannot sing together in person. We can nevertheless worship as surely as ever.

So now the church is being strengthened, if challenged, and can faithfully preach the Word and administer the Sacrament in new circumstances. We are not paralyzed by new constraints, but energized by them. The Word is no less effective in these times – indeed, all the more so, as more people are being regularly fed and edified by that abiding Word in times of trouble, a bulwark in the storm. We are not frozen in grief over the paradigm of how things used to be but, instead, pushed to the limits to joyfully, creatively, and fully be led forward in Faith to the glory of God.

The Church does not know what tomorrow will bring, but certainly knows how to live today – as it always has.

Dr David Somers

LCC MAL, French ministries

———————

Rev. Dr. David Somers serves as Missionary at Large for Lutheran Church–Canada’s French ministries in the province of Quebec.

“Go and Be Reconciled”: What does this mean?

(NOTE: originally published at https://www.goodshepherd.nb.ca/go-and-be-reconciled-what-does-this-mean/ – Ed.)

Good Shepherd, Moncton NB, is hosting a two week live, online seminar series over two Wednesdays on September 23 and 30th, from 6:30-7:30pm (Atlantic) each time.   This will take the place of our midweek online Bible Study for these two weeks.

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At a Glance

The Go and Be Reconciled: What Does This Mean? seminar can be presented as a half-day up to a full-day Bible study on reconciling relationships and resolving conflict. Each of the six lesson of the seminar reviews one of the six chief parts of Luther’s Small Catechism.During Good Shepherd’s midweek online Bible Study on Sept 23 and 30 (6:30-7:30pm), Pastor David Smilek (who is also our LCC Ottawa Circuit Counselor) will introduce this topic, and we hope to come back to it early next year for more.

Who Should Attend?

Everyone will Benefit!

In this engaging and inspiring presentation, you will see how God’s ministry of reconciliation is meant to be lived out in your daily life. You’ll learn practical ways to apply your Christian faith in family, business, church, and legal conflicts. Since all children of God are called to be peacemakers, this Bible study is appropriate for every Christian. Church leaders who have responsibilities for teaching and assisting others in their conflicts will find this seminar especially helpful for assisting others to respond to conflict in a biblically faithful manner.

The cross can remind us how we are reconciled

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Click here for an interactive page to learn more about it: https://www.aorhope.org/gabr-cross-diagram

More information about this seminar is available at https://www.aorhope.org/gabr-seminar

Join us for this special opportunity

Join our Seminar this evening and next week online as you would any of our studies or services by visiting www.GoodShepherd.nb.ca.  

(Please let us know if you have any trouble, it will help us keep it accessible to everyone.)

Review the Small Catechism this Pentecost Season

The Six Chief Parts of Christian, Biblical Doctrine: The Law, the Three Articles of the Faith, the Lord's Prayer, Holy Baptism, Holy Keys, and Holy Communion.

The Six Chief Parts of Christian, Biblical Doctrine: The Law, the Three Articles of the Faith, the Lord’s Prayer, Holy Baptism, Holy Keys, and Holy Communion.

Members of Lutheran Churches at their confirmation say that they have found the teaching of Luther’s Small Catechism to be a faithful summary exposition of the Bible’s teaching, and they pledge to remain faithful to this teaching for life.  After all, the Catechism is nothing but God’s own life-saving and life-giving +Word!

But it gets hard after a while even to remember these words unless they are periodically reviewed (same thing even happens with favourite Bible passages and stories).  A number of people have their catechism on their nightstand along side their Bible and perhaps their hymnal too.  But this foundation of Biblical doctrine intended to help us find our way through the many pages of Scripture without loosing sight of the Law and Gospel and of Christ our Saviour and God’s saving ways with His people too often quickly does become a vague impression or broken memory.

For the last number of years, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Moncton NB has been doing an annual catechism review during the long Pentecost Season that usually stretches from June to November, give or take a few Sundays.  This roughly six month period works out well for reviewing the Six Chief Parts on Sunday mornings during the Divine Service, each part having a natural “spot” where it fits best therein (for example, we review the Commandments before we confess our sins, and we review the Lord’s Prayer before we pray).  It even fits well with the times, as we review the mealtime prayers around (Canadian) Thanksgiving, and Confession and Absolution around Reformation (which was started over absolution vs. indulgences).

The Small Catechism in Stained Glass, from Faith Lutheran Church, Dartmouth NS (now St Andrew's, Halifax NS)

The Small Catechism in Stained Glass, from Faith Lutheran Church, Dartmouth NS (now St Andrew’s, Halifax NS)

Whether you can join us in person or not, we invite you to join us in reviewing our Small Catechisms this year.  To help, here is the schedule we will be following (though we may “adjust it” from time to time as needed!).

+ SDG! +

Feed My Lambs: 2012-2013 Daycare Chapel at Good Shepherd, Moncton NB

Pastor Milette teaching the little ones the Good News about God's love for us in Jesus, our Saviour, at Pentecost!

Pastor Milette teaching the little ones the Good News about God’s love for us in Jesus, our Saviour, at Pentecost!

“Feed My Lambs,” the Lord told Peter after Easter, as He was restoring the formerly Christ-denying disciple (John 21:15-19).  Jesus had told him this before — “When you have turned again,strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).

Every school year since 2006, in a partnership between Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and Kingswood Academy Daycare in Moncton NB, Pastor David Milette has been sharing the Good News that we have a Saviour in Jesus Christ, God’s Son with many of the daycare children — especially with those who are getting ready for Kindergarten!  As this school year comes to a close, Pentecost was observed among these happy preschoolers in a special way with rushing winds (from fans), tongues of flames (coloured ones), and most importantly a series of “recap” Bible Stories and different stanzas of hymns we have learned together all through the year.  Furthermore, these little lambs did a great job turning the tables on Pastor and telling him the Good News of God’s love for us using the words of the Apostles’ Creed!

For those who want to continue singing with their children at home (or learn some new songs), here is a sampling of some of the songs we learned together these past few years “in Chapel.”

+ SDG! +

Pentecost 2013: Adult Baptism and Confirmation at Good Shepherd, Moncton NB

Pentecost 2013: Adult Baptism and Confrmation at GSLC Moncton

Pentecost 2013: Elder Helmut Fittler, Pastor David Milette, and M and M, newly baptized and confirmed respectively.  Thanks be to God!

On the first Pentecost of the Chuch, the Saviour and Lord of the Church kept His promise and poured out His Holy Spirit in a special way upon His chosen apostles… and upon those who heard them!  And having proclaimed the death and resurrection of the Christ and brought them to repentance and faith in Christ’s name, three thousand were baptized that day.

On the festival of Pentecost 2013 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Moncton NB, the same Saviour and Lord kept His promise — He always does — and after having worked and strengthened repentance and faith in them through the Spirit-filled Good News of Christ crucified and risen, our Good Shepherd brought M. to Himself through Holy Baptism and M. to confess His God-given faith as a Baptized child of God!

Praise the Lord that He continues His Work of making disciples of ALL NATIONS today!

+ SDG! +