Evangelical Lutheran Worship makes a great gift for the seniors in your congregation who are graduating high school! Augsburg Fortress is currently offering a reduced price of $9.95 on Evangelical Lutheran Worship Pocket Edition, as well as a reduced price of $14.95 on Evangelical Lutheran Worship Gift Edition while supplies last. Both of these are beautiful, durable, high-quality versions of the core worship resource of the ELCA, and either one will serve your congregation’s young adults well in the years to come.
As a young person, I received a copy of ELW from the congregation where I grew up, and I was very glad that I remembered to bring it to college. Here are three ways that I used ELW as a college student:
Finding the right words to pray can be difficult, and college was a time in my life when it was particularly challenging to find the words to talk to God. Luckily, ELW contains many prayers, both for the worship context and for a variety of other situations. The “Additional Prayers” section begins on page 72 and is very helpful. In my opinion, some of the most useful prayers are those for civic life, governments, and nations (p. 76-78); social ministry (p. 79-80); and daily life (p. 82-83). Your graduating seniors may not realize that ELW contains anything other than hymns, so it may be a good idea to point them specifically to this section of the worship resource.
As a member of multiple college choirs, audition prep was a big component of my college experience. Sight-reading was part of the choir audition process, and one of my favorite ways to practice sight-reading in the lead-up to an audition was to get out my copy of ELW and find hymns I didn’t know and sing through them. I even told my friends about this method and lent them my copy of ELW so that they could practice sight-reading with it as well, and there’s still a note from one of my friends, thanking me for lending it to him, tucked inside the front cover.
During my first year of college, one of my childhood neighbors died unexpectedly. I was unable to make it home for the funeral, and instead I sat in my dorm room and read the funeral liturgy in ELW to myself as I tried to make sense of the tragedy. I do not wish this experience on your graduating seniors, but the reality is that some of them will lose people in their lives over the course of their college careers, and some of them may indeed miss funerals they wish they could have attended. Liturgies—being, as they are, work of the people—can be a comfort during such times.
My copy of ELW was an important resource throughout my college experience, and I hope that the young people in your congregation will find similar benefit within its pages.