01 February 2009

Contemplating a Change...

For last year and this, come Sunday afternoons from September until Judica, I have offered the Service of Prayer and Preaching on Sundays at 5 p.m., and used it as my primary vehicle for Catechism instruction for both the children in the public school and any adults who are inquiring into the Lutheran confession of the Christian faith. But next year I am contemplating a change from Prayer and Preaching to Vespers.

Vespers is obviously the more historic service and was used for Catechism instruction also in Lutheran lands on Sunday afternoons or evenings. Prayer and Preaching is somewhat modeled on the old Catechism Service of Missouri, but it has additions too - additions that in the long run I am not certain are worth the effort. I speak especially of the Canticles. All the effort we have put into learning them! And still we are rather weak at singing them. How much better to have learned the Magnificat! I am a firm believer that anyone who learns Vespers will simply fall in love with that liturgy; I must confess that I've not fallen in love with Service of Prayer and Preaching - not after all these times using it.

I know I will never go back to putting catechetical instruction in a classroom again - the church IS the natural and right place for it. But I think a change to Vespers would be in every way "meet, right, and salutary." I wonder if the brothers and sisters have any further thoughts?


wmc said...

Agreed. I've done the same with the SPP and found that it began to wear thin after a few short weeks. Through-composed canticles don't have the staying power of chant, in my opinion. All in all I think Vespers is a better vehicle.

I'm still not sure about the classroom vs the sanctuary when it comes to catechesis. There are plusses and minuses to each. The sanctuary affords a more liturgical context, but the classroom is more conducive to in-depth discussion in my experience. Plus, I like to use pedagogical devices such as PowerPoint (Keynote, actually), which is out of place in the sanctuary.

William Weedon said...

Keynote...and you call ME a boomer???!!!!

Actually the sanctuary setting is wonderful; and it does not stifle discussion. We have a quite lively back and forth, and I almost don't miss the blackboard at all.

Anonymous said...

I've used SPP this year, mostly at the encouragement of my colleague Rev. Sean Smallwood, who used it in Canada. After using it for six months, I'm about ready to throw it out the window. The canticles just don't fly. The only thing I really like is the praying of the three primary texts of the catechism. That would be easy to add to vespers.


wmc said...

Keynote...and you call ME a boomer???!!!!

To my knowledge, the pedagogical use of visuals is not generational.

Pr. Lehmann said...

I use SPP in the sanctuary, and, due to past history, am fully equipped to use PowerPoint there (and I do).

Cheryl said...

Personally, I really like the Old Testament canticle from the Service of Prayer & Preaching. But then I've had a bit longer than most to come to appreciate it since I happen to live with the composer. :-)

Still, I've come across a number of others who like both it and the SPP as a whole as much as I do. I hope anyone who hasn't yet tried it will give it a chance before deciding one way or the other.

Rev. Jacob Sutton said...

I can appreciate the good intentions behind such a service, and that the canticles were composed with some lovely music.

BUT - the service as a whole just does not flow well. It is sort of pieced together, sort of an "all star collection" of every bit and piece of Lutheranism we might like to cobble together in a service.

It just doesn't jive with how things go in our other prayer offices.

And a big question was - if one decided not to catechize on say, the Our Father, where was there a place later on in the prayers to include it? One can always force it back in of course, but it's not there in the hymnal itself. It was strange to pray the Our Father and Creed before hearing the sermon in a prayer office. Not impossible or illegal, just foreign and not following the logic of other services.

When we used this service during my 4th year at the FW Seminary, it frustrated many in attendance. It was given a few months of use. It was too long, and had to be truncated to fit in the time allowed (and not cut into coffee hour!). Students stopped attending if that service was on the schedule (rightly or wrongly), so up until the new dean of the Chapel came on (after my graduation), its use was discontinued. I can testify to this because I was the Sacristan of the Chapel. From students currently there whom I have spoken to, its re-intro has been met with less than enthusiastic response.

Barb the Evil Genius said...

Do you catechize on Sunday mornings? Ours is Saturday mornings, and we are meeting in the home of our pastor emeritus. Our church is in a bad neighborhood, and the mother of one of the students absolutely refuses to come to church for anything other than Sunday morning services.