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Re: [liturgy-l] eucharistic quandary

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  • John Dornheim
    ... The explosion in the West must have been Frank Senn... Pure and simple, if the pastor is feeding both from the same loaf it cannot be either/or. Being
    Message 1 of 14 , Sep 5, 2001
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      Troy Mulvaine wrote:

      > I ask for your theological insight and advice concerning the following situation.
      >
      > I am currently serving an internship within the ELCA. At the Eucharist the celebrant breaks one loaf of bread and distributes it to the congregation. As each member of the faith comes forward they are given a piece from this one loaf, reminded it is the Body of Christ. As children (pre confirmation) come forward they are given a larger piece of this one loaf and told it is a special piece of bread for them.
      >
      > The Pastor has tried to convince me that these children are not receiving the bread, which is the Body of Christ, and are not participating in the eucharistic feast. I am not seeking a debate over the appropriateness of age for communion, but rather a theological explanation of how this children's bread is not the Body of Christ.
      >
      > I feel if we are going to give the children the bread, then be open and declare it for what it is: The One Body of Christ broken for all.
      >
      > I thank you for your kind consideration.
      >
      > Your servant in Jesus the Christ,
      > Vicar Troy A. Mulvaine
      >
      > mulvaine@...
      >

      The explosion in the West must have been Frank Senn...

      Pure and simple, if the pastor is feeding both from the same loaf it cannot be either/or. Being quite charitable, suffice me to say that your mentor is wrong.

      Welcome to the list. Also, welcome to the 21st century ELCA.

      John Dornheim
      co-moderator and erstwhile ELCA pastor.
    • Art Hebbeler
      ... And I presume the chalice-bearer gives the kids grape-flavored Jelly Bellies(tm)...... Grab a copy of the Statement of the Use of Means of Grace and take
      Message 2 of 14 , Sep 5, 2001
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        At 06:18 PM 9/5/2001 -0400, you wrote:
        >I ask for your theological insight and advice concerning the following
        >situation.
        >
        >I am currently serving an internship within the ELCA. At the Eucharist the
        >celebrant breaks one loaf of bread and distributes it to the congregation.
        >As each member of the faith comes forward they are given a piece from this
        >one loaf, reminded it is the Body of Christ. As children (pre
        >confirmation) come forward they are given a larger piece of this one loaf
        >and told it is a special piece of bread for them.
        >
        >The Pastor has tried to convince me that these children are not receiving
        >the bread, which is the Body of Christ, and are not participating in the
        >eucharistic feast. I am not seeking a debate over the appropriateness of
        >age for communion, but rather a theological explanation of how this
        >children's bread is not the Body of Christ.
        >
        >I feel if we are going to give the children the bread, then be open and
        >declare it for what it is: The One Body of Christ broken for all.
        >
        >I thank you for your kind consideration.
        >
        >Your servant in Jesus the Christ,
        >Vicar Troy A. Mulvaine
        >
        >mulvaine@...

        And I presume the chalice-bearer gives the kids grape-flavored Jelly
        Bellies(tm)......

        Grab a copy of the Statement of the Use of Means of Grace and take it in
        with you during your next pastor-vicar supervisory time. Ask your
        supervisor to explain how you are misunderstanding the document in light of
        practice.

        Or, if you are an adventurous soul, try one of these options:

        1. A the next worship & music meeting (ideally when your pastor is on
        vacation), ask them "Why do you do this?" Offer an appropriate reference
        from the SUMG as a discussion point. Works especially well if the
        chairperson thinks he/she knows it all.

        2. At your intern committee gathering, note that you are struggling with
        the theological significance of the practice, and ask them to help you work
        through its resolution. Suggest that you don't want to look foolish in
        front of the pastor (humble is a good POV here).

        Of course, Pr. Dornheim might suggest to you not to follow this
        advice. Then again, I'd never have done something like either 1 or 2 to
        him when I was his field ed student....but I did something like that on my
        internship.....

        Peace
        Art Hebbeler
      • Pastor Robert White
        ... Troy Your sacramantology is correct, your supervisor s highly suspect. But (and I speak from some experience) unless your supervisor is open to discussion,
        Message 3 of 14 , Sep 5, 2001
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          On 5 Sep 2001, at 18:18, Troy Mulvaine wrote:

          > I feel if we are going to give the children the bread, then be open and
          > declare it for what it is: The One Body of Christ broken for all.

          Troy

          Your sacramantology is correct, your supervisor's highly suspect.
          But (and I speak from some experience) unless your supervisor is
          open to discussion, you may want to tread gently.

          And you may want to remember that this is a remarkably porous
          medium for communication.

          Bob

          + + + + + + + + + + +
          Faith certainly tells us what the senses do not,
          but not the contrary of what they see;
          it is above, not against them.
          -------Blaise Pascal (1623-62)

          Pastor Robert White
          Christ the Redeemer Lutheran Church (ELCA)
          863 Silliman Ave.
          Erie, PA USA 16511-2060
          814-899-3264
          email: xrredeem@...
        • Troy Mulvaine
          John, Many thanks for your simple and to the point reply. I have grave reservations about my supervisors eucharistic practice and we have had a heated
          Message 4 of 14 , Sep 5, 2001
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            John,
            Many thanks for your simple and to the point reply. I have grave reservations about my supervisors eucharistic practice and we have had a heated discussion on the matter. His final theological explanation was that it was inclusive and that I would just have to do it.

            My supervisor and I stand on different grounds with my first participation in the eucharistic distribution to be in just two weeks. I continue to pray and be heart wrenched at fulfilling my internship requirements while maintaining my own religious integrity.

            A dear mentor of mine reminds me that we all have our moments on the cross. I am prayerful that this moment, so early in my ministerial studies will not prove to be one of them.

            Thanks again for your advice, and to all others who may contribute advice to me concerning this subject in the future.

            Your servant in the One Jesus the Risen Christ,
            Vicar Troy A. Mulvaine
            mulvaine@...

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: John Dornheim
            Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2001 6:51 PM
            To: liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [liturgy-l] eucharistic quandary

            Troy Mulvaine wrote:

            > I ask for your theological insight and advice concerning the following situation.
            >
            > I am currently serving an internship within the ELCA. At the Eucharist the celebrant breaks one loaf of bread and distributes it to the congregation. As each member of the faith comes forward they are given a piece from this one loaf, reminded it is the Body of Christ. As children (pre confirmation) come forward they are given a larger piece of this one loaf and told it is a special piece of bread for them.
            >
            > The Pastor has tried to convince me that these children are not receiving the bread, which is the Body of Christ, and are not participating in the eucharistic feast. I am not seeking a debate over the appropriateness of age for communion, but rather a theological explanation of how this children's bread is not the Body of Christ.
            >
            > I feel if we are going to give the children the bread, then be open and declare it for what it is: The One Body of Christ broken for all.
            >
            > I thank you for your kind consideration.
            >
            > Your servant in Jesus the Christ,
            > Vicar Troy A. Mulvaine
            >
            > mulvaine@...
            >

            The explosion in the West must have been Frank Senn...

            Pure and simple, if the pastor is feeding both from the same loaf it cannot be either/or. Being quite charitable, suffice me to say that your mentor is wrong.

            Welcome to the list. Also, welcome to the 21st century ELCA.

            John Dornheim
            co-moderator and erstwhile ELCA pastor.


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          • fcsenn@aol.com
            Dear Troy, If the children are received the consecrated bread, it is the body of Christ. Your pastor is totally wrong to deceive the children about what they
            Message 5 of 14 , Sep 5, 2001
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              Dear Troy,

              If the children are received the consecrated bread, it is the body of Christ.
              Your pastor is totally wrong to deceive the children about what they are
              receiving. The sacrament isn't whatever the pastor says it is, it is what
              the word of Christ designates it to be. The pastor as a minister of the word
              and sacrament has a responsibility to announce that reality and not lie about
              it. The bishop needs to be summoned to rectify this situation. Or, in the
              old Lutheran way of settling these issues, send the case to the theological
              faculty.

              FCSenn


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            • John Dornheim
              ... I think that one might question whether or not this is an appropriate setting for an internship. Unless of course, this is the only occasion of unothodoxy.
              Message 6 of 14 , Sep 5, 2001
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                fcsenn@... wrote:

                > Dear Troy,
                >
                > If the children are received the consecrated bread, it is the body of Christ.
                > Your pastor is totally wrong to deceive the children about what they are
                > receiving. The sacrament isn't whatever the pastor says it is, it is what
                > the word of Christ designates it to be. The pastor as a minister of the word
                > and sacrament has a responsibility to announce that reality and not lie about
                > it. The bishop needs to be summoned to rectify this situation. Or, in the
                > old Lutheran way of settling these issues, send the case to the theological
                > faculty.
                >
                > FCSenn
                >

                I think that one might question whether or not this is an appropriate setting
                for an internship. Unless of course, this is the only occasion of unothodoxy.

                What is the rest of the congregation's communion practice, out of curiosity?

                John Dornheim
              • Steven P. Tibbetts
                ... but rather a theological explanation of how this children s bread is not the Body of Christ.
                Message 7 of 14 , Sep 6, 2001
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                  Message text written by Vicar Troy A. Mulvaine:

                  >I am not seeking a debate over the appropriateness of age for communion,
                  but rather a theological explanation of how this children's bread is not
                  the Body of Christ.<

                  The best "theological explanation" I can come up with is that, just before
                  handing the Body of Christ to the child, Jesus leaves that piece of bread.
                  Either that or the bread is not the Body of Christ, even post-Verba, until
                  the pastor declares to a communicant, "The Body of Christ, given for you."

                  I've heard a lot of whacky ideas about Holy Communion, even from Lutherans.
                  This one qualifies as quite bizarre, and well beyond the pale to be in
                  concord with Lutheran sacramental theology. I can see you being hesitant
                  (as a Vicar) to draw this to the Bishop's attention, but perhaps the your
                  seminary's Contextual Ed dept. would find it enlightening to learn what one
                  of their "adjunct faculty" is teaching.

                  Appalled (and a mid-western explosion before Senn), Steven+

                  ================================================
                  Pr. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
                  Pastor, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Peoria
                  Dean, Northern Conference, Central/Southern Illinois Synod, ELCA
                  http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/przip/zionpeo.htm
                • Mary M. Gieseler
                  Troy - Being older (a lot) and somewhat wiser, or at least more experienced, I would ask myself the classic question, Is this a ditch I m willing to die in?
                  Message 8 of 14 , Sep 6, 2001
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                    Troy -

                    Being older (a lot) and somewhat wiser, or at least
                    more experienced, I would ask myself the classic
                    question,

                    "Is this a ditch I'm willing to die in?"

                    and if not, press on, knowing that God knows what's
                    in your heart and is merciful. On the other hand,
                    if you ARE willing, then you probably need to be
                    considering your vocation to selling paint at
                    Sears, or whatever. Most of us have gone through
                    something similar at one time or the other; it's
                    uncomfortable but not fatal.

                    Pax,

                    mmg/

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                  • CyrilNovaJ@cs.com
                    In a message dated 9/5/01 9:26:05 PM US Eastern Standard Time, ... Two comments, Troy, 1. Several respondents have raised the need for the issue to be brought
                    Message 9 of 14 , Sep 6, 2001
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                      In a message dated 9/5/01 9:26:05 PM US Eastern Standard Time,
                      mulvaine@... writes:


                      > Many thanks for your simple and to the point reply. I have grave
                      > reservations about my supervisors eucharistic practice and we have had a
                      > heated discussion on the matter. His final theological explanation was that
                      > it was inclusive and that I would just have to do it.
                      >
                      > My supervisor and I stand on different grounds with my first participation
                      > in the eucharistic distribution to be in just two weeks. I continue to pray
                      > and be heart wrenched at fulfilling my internship requirements while
                      > maintaining my own religious integrity.
                      >

                      Two comments, Troy,

                      1. Several respondents have raised the need for the issue to be brought out,
                      while also cautioning you about how, or whether you as an intern are the one
                      who should be placed in that position. As a survivor of a problematic
                      internship, there is some wisdom in giving them what they want for the
                      moment, "they" being the seminary faculty who will evaluate reports on you
                      and how you raise such issues. I don't believe that an intern should be
                      placed in that position.

                      2. If your congregation is going by the internship guidelines, do you not
                      have an Internship Committee composed of laypeople with whom you meet
                      regularly to discuss problems with the pastor, staff, etc., in confidence?
                      You may find sympathetic voices among them who will support you in cases
                      where confrontation with the pastor is unavoidable. This committee also
                      submits reports to the seminary faculty, so the issues confronted in the
                      internship are not solely between you and the pastor. I would definitely
                      evaluate my support level among them before taking any action.

                      The Rev. David L. Rogers
                      CyrilNovaJ@...


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                    • fcsenn@aol.com
                      In a message dated 9/6/2001 8:08:46 PM Central Daylight Time, ... There is terrible malpractice going on here that is putting the people of God in bad faith,
                      Message 10 of 14 , Sep 6, 2001
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                        In a message dated 9/6/2001 8:08:46 PM Central Daylight Time,
                        bgrabbitt@... writes:


                        > Being older (a lot) and somewhat wiser, or at least
                        > more experienced, I would ask myself the classic
                        > question,
                        >
                        > "Is this a ditch I'm willing to die in?"
                        >
                        > and if not, press on, knowing that God knows what's
                        > in your heart and is merciful.

                        There is terrible malpractice going on here that is putting the people of God
                        in bad faith, and everyone is advising this intern to be cool and not
                        jeopardize his career. I say to Troy: report this situation to your seminary
                        field work supervisor and ask for direction. I used to be on a seminary
                        faculty, and epseically because I was in the ministry division of the faculty
                        we spent a lot of time debriefing field work situations. We had some really
                        prickly situations where pastors were clearly teaching poor practices. I
                        remember the case where the pastor consecrated an empty chalice on the altar
                        for the sake of its symbolism but not the wine in the pre-filled glasses
                        which were distributed as the blood of Christ. A not uncommon practice was
                        the supervisor wanting an unordained seminarian to preside at the eucharist.
                        The faculty finally had to draft a policy addressing that issue. There were
                        occasions when we confronted the pastor-supervisor about his practices. I
                        would hope that on this issue Troy would be supported by his teachers. Take
                        it to them, Troy.

                        Pastor Senn




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                      • CyrilNovaJ@cs.com
                        In a message dated 9/6/01 11:04:22 PM US Eastern Standard Time, ... Agreed, Frank, that this is terrible malpractice, and needs to be confronted. The only
                        Message 11 of 14 , Sep 7, 2001
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                          In a message dated 9/6/01 11:04:22 PM US Eastern Standard Time,
                          fcsenn@... writes:


                          > There is terrible malpractice going on here that is putting the people of
                          > God
                          > in bad faith, and everyone is advising this intern to be cool and not
                          > jeopardize his career.

                          Agreed, Frank, that this is terrible malpractice, and needs to be confronted.
                          The only question is the wisdom of how the intern goes about it, after
                          finding himself placed in this situation, or whether he should be the one
                          responsible.

                          I am assuming that the malpractice is not new, but has been the case for some
                          time.
                          Have there been prior interns, who did not raise the issue? Then Troy's
                          raising it could reflect on him badly. Or was this practice reported
                          previously, but the complaint went nowhere? I think that he needs to feel
                          these things out before taking any action. The intern committee, or your
                          suggestion of the Contextual Education Supervisor at the seminary, would be a
                          good place to start.

                          As it is now early September, I was also assuming that the internship has
                          just begun. Troy could easily set himself up to be read in a number of
                          negative ways, for example, as some newbie trying to change everything at the
                          outset. I have heard such complaints leveled against seminarians and
                          first-call pastors especially, as it is an easy one to raise.

                          We need to consider the possibility of evangelical catholic congregations
                          intentionally arranging for intern ministry, so as to support seminarians in
                          sympathy with our practices. In the meantime, God be with the Troys of this
                          church considering what's out there.

                          The Rev. David L. Rogers
                          CyrilNovaJ@...




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                        • Art Hebbeler
                          ... If I may enter the fray from another angle (and if not, I will anyway ).... I was on internship in 1999-2000. I served in one of DC Synod s larger
                          Message 12 of 14 , Sep 7, 2001
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                            At 10:42 PM 9/7/2001 -0400, The Rev. David L. Rogers wrote:
                            >We need to consider the possibility of evangelical catholic congregations
                            >intentionally arranging for intern ministry, so as to support seminarians in
                            >sympathy with our practices. In the meantime, God be with the Troys of this
                            >church considering what's out there.


                            If I may enter the fray from another angle (and if not, I will anyway <g>)....

                            I was on internship in 1999-2000. I served in one of DC Synod's larger
                            congregations. Was it the best place to serve as an intern, even an
                            almost-40 second career person? Probably not. While the congregation
                            needed an associate pastor (or even 2), they got an intern. Instant lame
                            duck, but I had responsibilities as if I were their associate pastor. Not
                            a problem, but I would probably have learned a lot more useful information
                            for serving in my 275-member congregation had I been an intern in a 250-400
                            member congregation.

                            Problem is, the 250-400 member congregations out here generally cannot
                            afford the $25-30K it takes to support an intern. And, unless you are a
                            congregation that is selected for Horizon, there is no support from the
                            ELCA to fund internships. The Fund for Leaders in Mission will eventually
                            provide scholarships for academic work, but, to the best of my knowledge,
                            it won't help fund internships in congregations.

                            What, then, should we do? Well, my congregation was an internship site
                            many moons ago, and wants to be one again. Our strategic plan for the next
                            5 years includes the steps (and initial commitments) we need to be able to
                            support interns starting in 2004. We might not have one that year, but we
                            want to be able to afford one starting that year, and it's in the projected
                            budgets at that point. But, we are just a single congregation.

                            My internship site had an intern last year, but dropped it for '01-02
                            because they called an associate pastor. They (and some other larger
                            congregations in the synod) could afford to have interns, but for a variety
                            of reasons elect not to do so. I wonder aloud why the church does not
                            encourage large congregations to partner with small-to-midsized
                            congregations to fund internships in settings that are conducive for
                            preparing seminarians for first calls. It's not the only solution, but
                            it's one that might be worth exploring.

                            Of course, this is probably only a problem in the ELCA. The rest of you
                            have probably figured all this out already.

                            My apologies for wandering off-topic......

                            Peace
                            Art Hebbeler
                          • DJP4LAW@aol.com
                            In a message dated 9/7/01 10:50:47 PM Central Daylight Time, ... OK, I have only read around in the postings for the last month; work has kept me busy even
                            Message 13 of 14 , Sep 13, 2001
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                              In a message dated 9/7/01 10:50:47 PM Central Daylight Time,
                              ahebbeler@... writes:


                              > My internship site had an intern last year, but dropped it for '01-02
                              > because they called an associate pastor. They (and some other larger
                              > congregations in the synod) could afford to have interns, but for a variety
                              > of reasons elect not to do so. I wonder aloud why the church does not
                              > encourage large congregations to partner with small-to-midsized
                              > congregations to fund internships in settings that are conducive for
                              > preparing seminarians for first calls.


                              OK, I have only "read around" in the postings for the last month; work has
                              kept me busy even at night, so I am behind on this. And, OK, a discussion of
                              internships/vicarages (is that latter an experience or a house?) may be off
                              the liturgical line, but there are some interesting things in this and
                              related posts, so I highlight two of the ones that jab at me personally:


                              a. Might we not enhance the liturgical life of God's Church if we recognized
                              the importance of a single pastor in a parish: It seems less than ideal to
                              have these "professionalized" parish situations where unless a person is
                              entitled to be called "Rev." or "Pastor," his or her work in the parish is
                              somehow less than credible.

                              b. Why do we insist (apparently, for the most part) on sending newly
                              ordained pastors to small, relatively isolated parishes and allowing them the
                              chance to work their way up to larger congregations (and "staff" ministry)
                              when they would most likely benefit the most in terms of faith and
                              professionalism -- and thereby would most benefit the Church -- if they began
                              their careers in situations where they could be mentored by experienced (and
                              one hopes not-jaded) pastors. For my born-in-North-Dakota money, pastors
                              should begin in staffs and work their way up to two-point parishes, not the
                              other way around.

                              I was ordained twenty-six years ago (though I have long been off the
                              "roster"), and I have not yet seen the light on the Church's -- at least, the
                              ELCA's -- practice.

                              Finally, given the interrelationship of liturgy and ministry, such
                              discussions as these are probably not all that off-topic. Nevertheless, I
                              invite anyone with some light to cast into my darkness to respond to me
                              privately and not to take up the net-space of those who may not see the
                              relevance (or interest) in the issue.

                              Salaam,

                              Dwight Penas




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