Questions on Church and Ministry

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How is the Lenten Season celebrated/practiced in the Lutheran religion? Do you abstain from any certain types of foods on certain days? In the Catholic religion, it is customary to "give up" something for lent like chocolate or something that you really enjoy. Is this practiced in the Lutheran Religion?

Generally, Lutherans do not “give up” something for Lent, although the practice is not unknown among Lutherans. Going without something can be helpful when it reminds us on a daily basis that the Lord Jesus gave up his life so that we might be freed from the curse of our sins. St. Paul reminded the Continued.

I was just wondering if you could tell me about the symbolism of the candles on the Advent wreath, and of the wreath itself if it applies.

As with many long-standing customs, the origins of the Advent wreath are somewhat debated. Some histories of the advent wreath say that Christians simply adapted an even earlier custom from pre-Christian Germanic tribes. Supposedly, then, these pagan people tried to break the darkness of winter with candles and invoke the sun god to return with Continued.

Could you explain to me how the call process for pastors and teachers works in WELS? Our pastor, whom we all love, currently has a call to another congregation, and of course we don't want to see him leave.

You are by no means the first church member who has had these kinds of thoughts. We are extremely grateful that you love your pastor and that the thought of losing him is emotionally unpleasant. No doubt it is equally and perhaps more unpleasant for the church that currently has no pastor and that has Continued.

Are there scriptural verses or examples that are the basis for not (generally speaking) doing funerals for non-believers and/or former members, besides Jesus saying "Let the dead bury their own dead."

The most pertinent passages would be those that are clustered about the so-called Great Commission (for example, Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, and Luke 24:46-47). Also very applicable are all passages calling us to love God and our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39, Romans Romans 13:8-10). Assuming that the calling body has not spoken on this issue to Continued.

Did Jesus have female disciples?

By etymology the word “disciple” (in Greek as well as in English) means “student.” In the New Testament its connotations aren’t quite so academic as our word “student,” and so maybe “follower” would be a better translation. Jesus certainly had (and has!) many women among his “disciples” (Matthew 28:19, Acts 6:1, Acts 11:26, etc.). On Continued.

Hello! Please explain how come sometimes we will stand for the readings during church service and other times we will not. Pastor says, "Out of respect for Jesus' words, please stand." But another reading will be from the Bible, etc. and we will not stand. Please explain. Thanks!

Christian Worship:  Manual, the “handbook” for our hymnal, explains:  “The congregation stands for the reading of the Gospel.  In the past soldiers put down their weapons and kings removed their crowns when the Gospel was read.  Christ—his life, his words of law and gospel, his suffering, his death, his resurrection, his ascension, his assignment to Continued.

I am in need of some answers to the hymn "The Old Rugged Cross." Being a lifetime Lutheran I have never seen it in TLH or CW. The message it portrays is that I am saved by a Rugged Cross. I don't think so. Would appreciate all the info you could send my way.

You are correct in noting that “The Old Rugged Cross” did not appear in The Lutheran Hymnal or Christian Worship.  Does the hymn portray that we are saved by a rugged cross?  One of the verses speaks of loving the “old cross where the dearest and best For a world of lost sinners was slain.”  Continued.

What is the difference between a Synod and a Ministerium? What is meant by Unionism?

A ministerium is a group of ministers united for a common cause.  They only—and not their congregations—would belong to the ministerium. A synod describes congregations, with its called workers and laity, joined together and committed to a common calling. Unionism refers to joint worship and religious work of people who are not united in doctrine.

I understand that we need to be careful about asking others who are not of our fellowship to support our ministries. This is the reason often given for why we don’t have fundraisers outside of our own church family . . . bake sales, craft fairs, and the like. Yet many of our area Lutheran high schools are connected with thrift stores whose mission is to support those high schools. Is this okay? How can this practice be justified in light of the warning against seeking funding from those outside of our fellowship?

You are correct in noting that congregations are rightly concerned about the impression fundraising in the community can give to people in the community who are not part of the congregation.  Congregational fundraising in the community can reinforce what many wrongly think in the first place—that “all the church is concerned about is money.”  Congregational Continued.

What is the WELS' stance on the calling of a woman to be the Assistant Principal in a Pre 3 - 8 Church School with male called workers on staff?

WELS congregations look to maintain the scriptural roles of head and helper in all areas of congregational life including, and especially, called positions. When it comes to teaching positions, the WELS Conference of Presidents has tasked the WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools to consider the leadership positions that can be held by women following biblical Continued.

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