Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Eucharistic Practices in the Electronic Age

Expand Messages
  • Art Hebbeler
    Friends Bear with me, as this might be longer than normal. I need some help thinking through this liturgically, theologically, and practically. During CPE a
    Message 1 of 12 , Dec 2, 2000
      Friends

      Bear with me, as this might be longer than normal. I need some help
      thinking through this liturgically, theologically, and practically.

      During CPE a couple of summers ago, and since then during internship and
      this final term at the seminary, I have been doing a good deal of work in
      geriatric care. More specifically, with the "sandwich generation" of those
      adults who provide care for elder parents AND their own children. A
      consistent issue has been the significant (some say drastic) changes in the
      worship life of seniors moving from their homes to assisted living
      facilities.

      For those unaware, assisted living is designed for adults who otherwise
      might be living independently, but need assistance in (generally) three or
      fewer of these areas: eating/cooking, medication, bathing, transport,
      finance, cleaning. In short--generally able adults who don't need full
      time care, yet don't desire or can't afford in-home care from 30 minutes to
      2.5 hours a day.

      The adults in assisted living, and their children, have shared with me a
      great frustration that whey are unable to regularly participate in Sunday
      morning worship "just like we used to." For them, it's ok that a pastor
      comes in on Thursday at 3:30pom, but they would rather have worship on
      Sunday AM. In light of this common challenge, I have been looking at ways
      to address this issue. Please note, because of a whole host of
      insurance-related issues, I am specifically EXCLUDING the option of
      transporting seniors from the assisted living facility to the church each
      Sunday AM (which would be my preference, but that's another issue).

      Looking at the growing technology available, I see the Internet as one
      possible solution to assist in a 2-way "closed-circuit" extension of
      worship from the physical church building to the assisted living center
      (and, indeed, even into the home of shut-ins, but that, too, is another
      issue). Without getting into all the techie stuff, the model looks
      something like this: The worship service is broadcast via the Internet to
      the assisted living center (actually, anyone who could get on the Web site,
      but again, that's not the issue here). At the assisted living center, one
      or two camera sent back video and audio to the church for display on one or
      more large monitors in the church. This allows both parts of the
      congregation to see and hear each other, and allows those at the assisted
      living center to participate as readers, etc. A few (1-3?) members of the
      congregation would also be at the assisted living center to assist with the
      worship and techie issues, should the arise.

      Given that many large congregations already do something like this in-house
      on major festivals when they have overflow crowds spilling from the
      sanctuary to fellowship hall, the acceptance of this type of community
      worship is well-established. My theological challenge comes most with the
      Eucharist. As I struggle with the issue, I can make a reasonable case that
      the distribution at the assisted living center should be with
      preconsecrated elements, just as one would do for a home
      communion. However, since the community is gathered together, albeit
      electronically, I can also make a case (though not as strong) that the
      bread and wine need not be consecrated, since the community is together and
      the Eucharistic prayer is offered for all in the community, and there is
      nothing "special" in the physical contact of the presider with the bread
      and wine.

      Please understand that I am NOT suggesting that simply placing bread and
      wine on the TV set during the televised Mass is OK. My thoughts are around
      those gathered in INTENTIONAL community. Perhaps those in larger
      congregations who do broadcast (video or audio) within the church building
      might offer how they handle this in-house. If there were multiple ordained
      staff available, I think the issue might be moot, but I'm thinking in the
      context where there is one pastor available.

      I appreciate your thoughts and comments.

      Peace
      Art
    • Walt Knowles
      Art, Let me make a very quick response: I think that using the internet as a broadcast medium is great; from a technical perspective, I think that I would use
      Message 2 of 12 , Dec 2, 2000
        Art,
        Let me make a very quick response:
        I think that using the internet as a broadcast medium is great; from a
        technical perspective, I think that I would use telephone for the audio
        unless both sites (the church and the home) had high speed (> 128 Kb/sec)
        permanent internet connections.

        Sharing the eucharist in such a situation seems a lot like the sharing of
        the bishop's eucharist in Rome in the 4th+ centuries; in that case the
        subdeacon would run from the bishop's eucharist with bread to "ferment" the
        local eucharist. Since you probably won't have a priest/pastor at the home,
        the ferment doesn't work, but couldn't you have a lay eucharistic minister
        (forgive me--I haven't tracked this in the ELCA) hop in his/her car with the
        consecrated elements and make it to the home while communion is going on?
        The liturgy at the main gathering could wait and meditate until those at the
        home were ready to join in whatever post-communion devotions you have.

        And then if you really wanted to make the point, a few times a year you
        could go the other direction.

        Walt Knowles
      • Michael Harnois
        ... My thought exactly. -- Michael D. Harnois, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Washburn, IA mdharnois@home.com aa0bt@aa0bt.ampr.org I have
        Message 3 of 12 , Dec 2, 2000
          On Sat, 2 Dec 2000 09:34:21 -0800, "Walt Knowles" <waltk@...> said:

          > but couldn't you have a lay eucharistic minister (forgive me--I
          > haven't tracked this in the ELCA) hop in his/her car with the
          > consecrated elements and make it to the home while communion is
          > going on? The liturgy at the main gathering could wait and
          > meditate until those at the home were ready to join in whatever
          > post-communion devotions you have.

          My thought exactly.

          --
          Michael D. Harnois, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Washburn, IA
          mdharnois@... aa0bt@...
          I have always been among those who believed that
          the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety,
          because if a man is a fool the best thing to do
          is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking. --Woodrow Wilson
        • James O'Regan
          ... The matter here rests on what counts as liturgical action and what counts as incarnation. Is my presence on the phone radically different from my presence
          Message 4 of 12 , Dec 2, 2000
            Art asked and I snipped:

            > I can also make a case (though not as strong) that the bread and wine need
            > not be consecrated, since the community is together and the Eucharistic
            > prayer is offered for all in the community, and there is nothing "special"
            > in the physical contact of the presider with the bread and wine.

            The matter here rests on what counts as liturgical action and what
            counts as incarnation. Is my presence on the phone radically
            different from my presence in the room? Is my presence on an
            interactive TV screen likewise different?

            Liturgically, we have dealt with this before on the matter, I think I
            remember, of wine handling for a large crowd. There it was posited
            that there is something special about contact between presider and
            elements, viz. contact by gesture marks off what it is that the
            assembly accepts as and understands to be consecrated. Otherwise,
            everything is consecrated or nothing is (to be dramatic about it).

            On the matter of human presence and related to marking off, the
            question can revolve around "editing reality in space." Marking off
            relates to that but also the assembly-in-space has a unique context
            with which to work in its marking off - a spatio-temporal perception
            that is common. This fundamentally grounds all actyion. TV viewing
            of an action is already dramatically edited from a phenomenological
            and experiential point of view. The assembly and remote assembly
            simply don't experience the same event even though they witness the
            same action.

            Jesus had to be in the room for incarnating purposes otherwise he
            need only have been an image (pick your heresy) because bodily
            preence is different as a whole than virtual presence. Even something
            as narrow as a dataum received while one would think is a matter of
            simple referent capable of being reduced to paper in exactly the same
            way by either party remains in its full sense differently
            experienced.

            Reserved communion tries to takle the vestigal element of a remote
            receiver by holding in itself a physical fact of having been there in
            space and time at some point.

            The gathering of in situ and remote assemblies at the same liturgy is
            bolstered by reserved communion rather than diminished. The remote
            assembly remains remote and experientially can do nothing much about
            that. The reserved elements helps physicalize the source for it much
            more than an imitating of elements in the remote room.

            .





            James O'Regan
            http://www.jamesoregan.com
            tel 613-824-4706
          • jonwest@aol.com
            In a message dated 12/2/00 3:43:39 PM, oregan@jamesoregan.com writes:
            Message 5 of 12 , Dec 2, 2000
              In a message dated 12/2/00 3:43:39 PM, oregan@... writes:

              << Reserved communion tries to takle the vestigal element of a remote
              receiver by holding in itself a physical fact of having been there in
              space and time at some point.

              The gathering of in situ and remote assemblies at the same liturgy is
              bolstered by reserved communion rather than diminished. The remote
              assembly remains remote and experientially can do nothing much about
              that. The reserved elements helps physicalize the source for it much
              more than an imitating of elements in the remote room. >>

              Excellent insight!
            • Art Hebbeler
              ... Yes, but it also does not resolve the pastoral issue at hand here. The part of the congregation in the assisted living center doesn t want to be
              Message 6 of 12 , Dec 3, 2000
                At 10:08 PM 12/2/2000 -0500, jonwest@... wrote:

                >In a message dated 12/2/00 3:43:39 PM, oregan@... writes:
                >
                ><< Reserved communion tries to takle the vestigal element of a remote
                >receiver by holding in itself a physical fact of having been there in
                >space and time at some point.
                >
                >The gathering of in situ and remote assemblies at the same liturgy is
                >bolstered by reserved communion rather than diminished. The remote
                >assembly remains remote and experientially can do nothing much about
                >that. The reserved elements helps physicalize the source for it much
                >more than an imitating of elements in the remote room. >>
                >
                >Excellent insight!

                Yes, but it also does not resolve the pastoral issue at hand here. The
                part of the congregation in the assisted living center doesn't want to be
                considered NOT a part of the corporate Sunday morning worship. They are
                already FEELING separated from the community in general.

                While I understand and appreciate James' thoughts, I'm leaning the other
                direction pastorally. I would also lead from the assisted living center on
                some regular basis, so that the congregation would not always be the "lead"
                site.

                Someone suggested delaying worship. or sending someone from the
                congregation to the assisted living center with the elements. That might
                work if the two were close together, but not very practical given the
                distance involved in the particular location I am working.

                Thanks, all, for your comments. They have been most helpful. I guess the
                underlying question here is, in this age of technology, how do we define
                "together" in the context of the church.

                A blessed Advent to you all
                Art
              • Mary M. Gieseler
                You need a deacon! It would seem sensible and, I think, theologically sound (although you pastors will have to rule on this) to preconsecrate your elements,
                Message 7 of 12 , Dec 3, 2000
                  You need a deacon! It would seem sensible and, I
                  think, theologically sound (although you pastors will
                  have to rule on this) to preconsecrate your elements,
                  have your deacon (or do you have lay eucharistic
                  ministers?) to the facility to help with the techie
                  stuff, gather the people and greet them, and, at the
                  proper time, distribute the elements. The deacon
                  could "set the table" in the "viewing room", and
                  "wash the dishes"; at the dismissal the deacon could
                  dismiss his/her viewers, visit with them, etc. "just
                  like church".

                  If you're LCMS instead of ELCA, could your school
                  principal serve as your eucharistic minister? (Back
                  in my LCMS days, our principal assisted in distribu-
                  tion of the wine in the liturgy.)

                  Respectfully,

                  mmg (not yet a deacon)

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • John Dornheim
                  Everybody needs a deacon but makes sense is to dismiss the deacons from the table with the elements used at mass that morning. I am not sure how theologically
                  Message 8 of 12 , Dec 3, 2000
                    Everybody needs a deacon but makes sense is to dismiss the deacons from
                    the table with the elements used at mass that morning. I am not sure how
                    theologically sound it is for us to preconsecrate. There is, I would
                    offer, a difference however subtle to reserve elements rather than
                    preconsecrate.

                    John Dornheim


                    "Mary M. Gieseler" wrote:

                    > You need a deacon! It would seem sensible and, I
                    > think, theologically sound (although you pastors will
                    > have to rule on this) to preconsecrate your elements,
                    > have your deacon (or do you have lay eucharistic
                    > ministers?) to the facility to help with the techie
                    > stuff, gather the people and greet them, and, at the
                    > proper time, distribute the elements. The deacon
                    > could "set the table" in the "viewing room", and
                    > "wash the dishes"; at the dismissal the deacon could
                    > dismiss his/her viewers, visit with them, etc. "just
                    > like church".
                    >
                    > If you're LCMS instead of ELCA, could your school
                    > principal serve as your eucharistic minister? (Back
                    > in my LCMS days, our principal assisted in distribu-
                    > tion of the wine in the liturgy.)
                    >
                    > Respectfully,
                    >
                    > mmg (not yet a deacon)
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                    > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                    > liturgy-l-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                  • Ormonde Plater
                    ... Everybody needs the full ministry of the church, and all the ministries need to act together in harmony. A deacon is not a feeble substitute for a priest
                    Message 9 of 12 , Dec 4, 2000
                      > Everybody needs a deacon

                      Everybody needs the full ministry of the church, and all the ministries need
                      to act together in harmony. A deacon is not a feeble substitute for a priest
                      and should not be put in the position of pretending to be a priest without
                      the full functions of a priest.

                      Ormonde Plater
                      oplater@...
                    • John Dornheim
                      ... No argument here. I didn t mean to infer that deacons ought take the place of priests but serve in addition to a priest. FWIW, I often feel like a lone
                      Message 10 of 12 , Dec 4, 2000
                        Ormonde Plater wrote:

                        > > Everybody needs a deacon
                        >
                        > Everybody needs the full ministry of the church, and all the ministries need
                        > to act together in harmony. A deacon is not a feeble substitute for a priest
                        > and should not be put in the position of pretending to be a priest without
                        > the full functions of a priest.
                        >
                        > Ormonde Plater
                        > oplater@...
                        >
                        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                        > liturgy-l-unsubscribe@egroups.com

                        No argument here. I didn't mean to infer that deacons ought take the place of
                        priests but serve in addition to a priest. FWIW, I often feel like a lone voice
                        calling for a full office of ministry in the ELCA.

                        John Dornheim
                      • Pastor Robert White
                        ... While I want to sympathize with the desire to include those who cannot come to the place of worship, it seems to me that people cannot be together unless
                        Message 11 of 12 , Dec 5, 2000
                          On 3 Dec 2000, at 8:20, Art Hebbeler wrote:

                          > They have been most helpful. I guess the underlying question here
                          > is, in this age of technology, how do we define "together" in the
                          > context of the church.

                          While I want to sympathize with the desire to include those who
                          cannot come to the place of worship, it seems to me that people
                          cannot be together unless in fact they are. To me, together
                          suggests some sort of unmediated presence. TV doesn't cut it. No
                          matter what the "event" it is not the same watching it on a screen,
                          even if the screen is in the same room. When living in Washington,
                          we used to go to the Library of Congress to hear the Julliard string
                          quartet in a small performance hall; on rare occasion, we were
                          stuck in an overflow room with good closed circuit audio/video; it
                          just wasn't the same.

                          It seems to me that when the community becomes to large to fit
                          into one space, someone goes out to develop a new community.
                          When part of the community cannot gather, the community goes to
                          them.

                          For what it's worth, I chair the board of a largish agency proving a
                          variety of retirements living options. On one of our campuses, there
                          is an actual congregation to which the residents of the various
                          sorts of facilities have appropriate means of access. On one of the
                          others there is a chaplain who conducts Sunday morning worship.

                          Bob





                          + + + + + + + + + + +
                          Dicite pusillanimes confortamini:
                          ecce Dominus Deus noster veniet.

                          Tell the timid to take heart.
                          The Lord our God will come!

                          Pastor Robert White
                          Christ the Redeemer Lutheran Church (ELCA)
                          863 Silliman Ave.
                          Erie, PA USA 16511-2060
                          814-899-3264
                          email: xrredeem@...
                        • Doug Morrison-Cleary, OSL
                          In the end (and I am a committed techie with a few $tens of ks of computer, audio and video hardware and software) I have to agree with Bob. Incarnation is
                          Message 12 of 12 , Dec 5, 2000
                            In the end (and I am a committed techie with a few $tens of ks of
                            computer, audio and video hardware and software) I have to agree with
                            Bob. Incarnation is incarnation, its not virtual, that's any number
                            of heresies ;-)

                            The other question I have is why is it not possible to transport
                            people? I realize liability and insurance issues are becoming
                            increasingly debilitating in a variety of areas but I don't get this
                            one. The church I interned in (okay, 10 years ago, but I know they
                            still have it) had/has a small bus that picks up several members
                            including some from local groups homes for adults with disabilities.
                            As far as I know, they have never had problems getting insurance. I
                            don't doubt that you haven't carefully looked into this but I am very
                            curious <grin>. You also, Art, started with a comment about the
                            children of these older people... my first impression was that they
                            were wanting to be a part of this Sunday morning gathering. I assume
                            not though as they presumably would be able to transport their own
                            parents?!

                            Fascinating questions, thanks.

                            Grace and peace
                            Doug

                            *********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********

                            On 12/5/2000 at 6:21 PM Pastor Robert White wrote:

                            >On 3 Dec 2000, at 8:20, Art Hebbeler wrote:
                            >
                            >> They have been most helpful. I guess the underlying question here
                            >> is, in this age of technology, how do we define "together" in the
                            >> context of the church.
                            >
                            >While I want to sympathize with the desire to include those who
                            >cannot come to the place of worship, it seems to me that people
                            >cannot be together unless in fact they are. To me, together
                            >suggests some sort of unmediated presence. TV doesn't cut it. No
                            >matter what the "event" it is not the same watching it on a screen,
                            >even if the screen is in the same room. When living in Washington,
                            >we used to go to the Library of Congress to hear the Julliard string

                            >quartet in a small performance hall; on rare occasion, we were
                            >stuck in an overflow room with good closed circuit audio/video; it
                            >just wasn't the same.
                          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.