Tag Archive for: Together12212021

A special 2021 Christmas message

WELS Christian Aid and Relief responds to South Central tornadoes

On Dec. 10, tornadoes caused devastation across the South Central part of the United States. Rev. Daniel Sims, director of WELS Christian Aid and Relief, reports: “At this time, we are unaware of any of our WELS congregations or members who have been directly impacted by this storm. Praise God for watching over his people!”

Because no WELS congregations are near the affected areas, WELS Christian Aid and Relief is currently not planning to mobilize volunteers for onsite disaster relief work. “Because we don’t have the deep resources or infrastructure of FEMA or the Red Cross, it’s very difficult to go into areas where we don’t have a congregation nearby to use as our ‘home base’ for volunteers,” says Sims. “However, we will continue to look for opportunities to go to the area and help those in need.”

To support those affected by the tornadoes, WELS Christian Aid and Relief has sent a gift of $10,000 to Direct Relief, which has people on-site and active in providing disaster relief in the form of medical aid.

Sims is thankful for the response from WELS members wanting to help: “We are grateful for your support and your messages of care and concern. Your love for those who are hurting is obvious. May the Lord continue to bless our efforts to ‘do good to all people’ (Galatians 6:10).”

To help those affected by the tornadoes, you can make a financial gift through WELS Christian Aid and Relief’s disaster fund at wels.net/CARgift (designate the gift to “disaster relief”). Stay updated on relief efforts at wels.net/relief.



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Introducing the new hymnal

About 45 percent of WELS congregations have ordered Christian Worship: Hymnal and accompanying resources since its release in September. Most materials are now available and are being shipped to congregations and individuals who have preordered or are currently ordering. Christian Worship: Service Builder, a digital tool to help congregations with planning worship and generating service folders, is projected to be released the week after Christmas.

Resources are available to help people become familiar with some of the key new hymnal features and to help pastors guide congregations through their first use of Christian Worship materials. Resources include:

  • Introduction scripts and a dedication rite.
  • Video presentations that highlight hymns, psalms, and liturgies included in the new hymnal.
  • Concert videos.

Some congregations are planning to purchase the new hymnal and resources in 2022, including St. John, Burlington, Wis. But even though St. John hasn’t yet bought the hymnal for its sanctuary, it already has started to introduce its members to it.

In November St. John hosted a hymnal introduction seminar where more than 100 people gathered to hear presentations as well as sing selections from the new hymnal and psalter. Both books were available for attendees to examine and use—and even buy. “This hymnal is something that will touch the lives and worship of all the members of the church,” says Rev. Kirk Lahmann, St. John’s pastor. “Because of this seminar, people were able to walk away saying, ‘I really understand why this is important,’ and that generates excitement.”

Now the church is working to raise money to buy hymnals for all the pews and enough psalters for the choir to use.

Once the hymnals are in the pews, the introduction process will continue. For worship services, Lahmann plans to distribute a simple outline to congregants and then have members use the hymnal to follow along rather than a service folder. “We need to learn how to navigate the book,” says Lahmann. “If we want this to be a book that is used in worship and the home, then let’s learn how to use it.”

Rev. Bryan Gerlach, director of the Commission on Worship, comments: “We recognize that congregations can be at very different stages of evaluating and obtaining new hymnal resources. Some preordered before the books were even in print for review. Some, like Burlington, waited longer. Others might not explore options yet for months. That’s okay. Whenever a congregation is ready, the online resources will help them explore the great benefits of the new hymnal suite of resources.”

Learn more about Christian Worship: Hymnal as well as access hymnal introduction resources at christianworship.com. Northwestern Publishing House also has published shipping updates.



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