Celebrating Augsburg Fortress Resources by Women

Mar 1, 2024 9:00:00 AM / by Augsburg Fortress

March is Women’s History Month! This month and every month, we honor the contributions women make to the church and the wider world. We are happy to be able to highlight a mix of new and older books, curriculum, and music by women, all of which we hope will enrich the faith lives of you and your congregation. This is a long article, so you can click on the following words and phrases to jump to specific sections: Mouth House Books by women, curriculum by Jia Starr Brown, the works of Gail Ramshaw, the works of Susan Palo Cherwien, other recently published music by women, and Worship Matters handbooks by women.

Mouth House Books by Women

Call to Allyship: Preparing Your Congregation for Leaders of Color, edited by Rev. Angela T. !Khabeb

How can churches do the work of becoming allies for the leaders they call? In belonging to a predominantly white denomination, ELCA members are called to listen and learn from its leaders of color to recognize the assumptions, biases, and harmful actions that result when congregations don’t commit to become allies. Authors offer wisdom, storytelling, and concrete suggestions for churches preparing to call a leader of color. Call to Allyship is a must-read for call committees, church councils, social justice teams, and anyone prepared to do the work of understanding, welcoming, and celebrating these leaders.

  • Chapter 1 How to Read This Book by Rev. Angela T. !Khabeb
  • Chapter 2 Intersectionality by Dr. Kelly Sherman-Conroy
  • Chapter 3 The Call Process by Bp. Patricia Davenport
  • Chapter 4 Embodied Ministry by Rev. Jenny Sung
  • Chapter 5 Family Life by Rev. Priscilla Paris-Austin
  • Chapter 6 Compensation by Rev. Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld
  • Chapter 7 Nonrostered Leaders by Dr. Kelly Sherman-Conroy
  • Chapter 8 Allyship by Rev. Dr. Andrea Walker
  • Chapter 9 Gifts of Leaders by Bp. Felix Malpica
  • Chapter 10 What’s Next by Rev. Angela T. !Khabeb 

Ashes to Action: Finding Myself at the Intersection of the Minneapolis Uprising, by Shari Seifert

After the world witnessed the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a passionate uprising erupted, with the intersection of 38th and Chicago at its epicenter. One block away stood Calvary Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation whose members had engaged in racial justice work for years. 

In Ashes to Action, Shari Seifert provides her riveting first-person account of the events following May 25, 2020. Shari joined others in the Calvary community to show up, listen, and ask what was needed in the moment. As the lines between her congregation and neighborhood blurred, the way toward a faithful response became clearer. This personal narrative stays rooted in the context of community, immersing readers in the days, weeks, and months following the uprising.

Curriculum by Rev. Dr. Jia Starr Brown

Remind Me Again Facilitator Guide: 41 Sessions Based on the Poetry of Joe Davis

Rev. Dr. Jia Starr Brown has designed 41 lessons based on Joe Davis’s poems in Remind Me Again. Each lesson helps you have meaningful discussions about Joe’s poetry as well as helping guide you to form more meaningful connections with your own community. Endlessly flexible, this resource can be used as a 10-minute addition to a lesson or as a full 41-week curriculum of hour-long sessions.

Books by Gail Ramshaw

Blessing and Beseeching: Seventy Prayers Inspired by the Scriptures

As pandemic lockdowns descended across the world, Gail Ramshaw, scholar, author, and liturgist, settled in to read the Scriptures anew. At each biblical book's end, she wrote a prayer inspired by what she encountered.

Collected here in a beautifully typeset volume are seventy new prayers that resulted from that work. Surprises and riches are found on every page, as when the book of Leviticus inspires an intercession for guidance in the holy, the book of Esther pleads for good government, and the book of James reminds us of the invisible migrant workers who pick our produce.

By turns bold and humble, universal and deeply personal, Ramshaw's poetry in prayer will inspire individual reflection and enrich public worship settings alike.

Word of God, Word of Life: Understanding the Three-Year Lectionaries

Gail Ramshaw provides ten insights into the three-year lectionaries to guide all who are interested in exploring the meaning and importance of the Revised Common Lectionary and the Lectionary for Mass. Ramshaw combines deep historical, biblical, liturgical, and ecumenical knowledge with a keen perspective on the contemporary church to show us all the value and wisdom of these lectionaries.

Pray, Praise, and Give Thanks: Litanies, Laments, and Thanksgivings at Font and Table

This collection of prayers for use in worship contains three litanies, a template for constructing prayers of intercession, prayers of lament for evils that afflict us and our world, prayers to be offered at baptisms and baptismal remembrances (thanksgivings at the font), and eucharistic prayers (thanksgivings at the table). Pastors, worship planners, and scholars will all find this volume invaluable. Includes CD-ROM.

More Days for Praise: Festivals and Commemorations in Evangelical Lutheran Worship

For centuries the church has paired its church year—focused on Christ’s life, death, and resurrection—with a second calendar that uses the lives of saints as a lens to see God’s gracious acts. Evangelical Lutheran Worship has continued that practice with its calendar of festivals and commemorations. In this volume teacher and scholar Gail Ramshaw shows that those whom the church has lifted up are both faithful and fascinating, always pointing to Christ. Here is a guide to help you include these observances in your prayer life.

Each day’s entry includes a brief chronology of the person’s life; a summary of why the person is remembered by the church; an image of, or related to, the commemoration; a quote from the person, where possible; and devotional hymn and prayer suggestions for the day.

Treasures Old and New: Images in the Lectionary

In Treasures Old and New, Gail Ramshaw illuminates forty primary images from the three-year lectionary. With each of the images she considers related terms, exploring a total of nearly two hundred words and phrases in light of biblical history, typological relationships, poetic nuances, metaphoric meanings, and liturgical year connections.

Sample constellations of images include:

  • Creation: beginning, creation, firstborn, new creation, virgin birth
  • Fire: ashes, burning bush, fire, tongues
  • Light: blindness, darkness, day, light, morning star, night, sight, star, sun
  • Treasure: gifts, gold-frankincense-myrrh, pearl, rich fool, treasure, widow's coin
  • Water: exodus, flood, Jordan, river, sea, water, well

Treasures Old and New offers a guide to rich symbolic speech for those who preach and teach, yet remains accessible and inviting to the reader seeking a resource for devotion and meditation on the scriptures. Extensively indexed to support the Revised Common Lectionary as well as the Roman Catholic lectionary.

What Is Christianity?: An Introduction to the Christian Religion

Gail Ramshaw frames this new introduction to Christianity around the basic questions that students ask. Investigating Christianity as a lived experience, she opens each chapter with a voice from the field of religious studies and then presents answers to each chapter’s question by surveying the history, doctrine, practices, and convictions of Christian churches.

Written for undergraduates with little or no background in the breadth of Christianity, the text of the book reports on the diversity of Christian belief and practice, and is accompanied with student-friendly learning helps, including side-bar definitions, art, photos, study questions, essay topics, and suggestions for further exploration in short stories, novels and films.

Music by Susan Palo Cherwien

O Blessed Spring: Hymns of Susan Palo Cherwien

Twenty-seven of Susan Palo Cherwien's hymn texts are collected in this volume, many of them set to music by a number of today's top composers, including Robert Buckley Farlee, Ronald A. Nelson, David Cherwien, and Mark Sedio. Designed to facilitate congregational use, the collection includes a complete keyboard accompaniment (organ or piano) plus tests and melody lines for placement in worship folders after obtaining permission.

Come, Beloved of the Maker: Hymns of Susan Palo Cherwien, Volume 2

From the writer of hymn texts such as "O Blessed Spring" and "Rise, O Church, like Christ Arisen" comes this second collection of expressive texts for worship. Like her first collection (O Blessed Spring, 1997), each of the approximately 30 hymn texts comes paired with a tune that matches it well-some familiar, some new. These poetic, deeply rooted lyrics will serve worshiping assemblies well, and are recommended for composers looking for fresh material on which to base new hymn tunes and anthems.

Peace, Be Still: Hymns of Susan Palo Cherwien, Volume 3

In this third collection of hymn texts from the pen of Susan Palo Cherwien, we are offered thirty elegant poems intended to be sung by a worshiping assembly. As before, each text is presented in poetic form and then also with a tune to which it may be sung. Many of those tunes are newly composed, while some are from the classic repertoire. And as before, composers will find inspiration here for their own labors.

As Cherwien points out in her notes on each text, most of these texts were written for a specific occasion, yet each one also is widely applicable within worship settings. Consistently we find a care for the English language that heightens and deepens the power of the expression. And yet they are grounded in a solid understanding of Christian theology and a wise awareness of the human condition. Susan Palo Cherwien's hymns are found in an increasing number of today's hymnals, and this collection will add to that treasury.

Recent Music by Women

Christ, Who Was Before the World Began, by Brenda Portman

A newly composed tune is paired with an Angier Brock text in this anthem by Brenda Portman. The poetry highlights the omnipresence of God in Christ throughout history and our need to be faithful stewards of God’s promises. Written for adult unison choir, the anthem features a lyrical and noble melody in a flexible mixed meter.

Dust, Remember You Are Splendor, by Anne Krentz Organ

Susan Palo Cherwien’s poetry brings new imagery and depth to the traditional Ash Wednesday themes of dust and repentance. In this setting for SAB choir, composer Anne Krentz Organ beautifully writes original music which underscores the hopeful and contemplative text. The assembly can be invited to join on the last stanza as well.

Holy Woman, Graceful Giver, by Anne Krentz Organ

A thoughtful and lyrical accompaniment to the hymn “Holy Woman, Graceful Giver” from All Creation Sings. First heard during the 2023 Augsburg Fortress Summer Music Clinics, composer Anne Krentz Organ has written an introduction and four different accompaniments of the tune ALABASTER JAR to support assembly singing, scored separately for piano or organ.  An optional C instrument part adds to the beauty of this setting, which could also be used as a vocal solo.

Four by Four Easter: Easter Hymns for Piano and Four Ringers, by Anne Krentz Organ

The fourth collection in this series by Anne Krentz Organ features four Easter hymn tunes set for piano and four handbell or hand chime ringers. These joyful settings can easily be learned by most ringers, yet the writing is engaging and gratifying for both ringers and pianist. Tunes included are EASTER HYMN, NOËL NOUVELET, PUER NOBIS, and a medley of VRUECHTEN/EARTH AND ALL STARS.

God of Hope: Global Hymn Tunes for Piano, by Mary Howarth

This collection of eleven tunes features a rich variety of hymns, old and new, arranged by Mary Howarth in an engaging light jazz style. The South African hymn “God Welcomes All” is set in an energetic and rhythmic style while the traditional French carol “’Twas In the Moon of Wintertime” is beautifully set in a mysterious dreamy mood.

Worship Matters Handbooks by Women

Embodying Confidence and Grace: A Handbook for Presiding Ministers, by Callista Isabelle

Embodying Confidence and Grace by Callista Isabelle will guide those who serve as presiding ministers for the assembly's worship. It includes reflection on the essentials of presiding and practical guidance for how to prepare and lead the assembly with confidence and grace.

Remembering God's Promises: A Funeral Planning Handbook, by Melinda A. Quivik

Remembering God’s Promises offers notes and commentary on the funeral service in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, lists of suggested scripture readings and hymns, and information on other planning options. When the family and friends meet with the pastor, the funeral planning worksheet provides space to write down information and keep track of decisions that need to be made. In addition, a free, downloadable pastor’s guide includes an outline for four adult forum sessions on end-of-life decisions, hospice care, and funeral and burial planning. Pastors can also use the handbook to encourage individuals to plan their own funerals in advance.

Praying for the Whole World: A Handbook for Intercessors, by Gail Ramshaw

In the intercessions, the assembly asks God to respond to the needs of the whole world. Through these petitions, worshipers enact their baptismal calling to intercede for the well-being of all things.

In many churches, laypersons prepare the prayers of intercession. In this concise, charming, down-to-earth handbook, Ramshaw proposes seven steps, from Monday through Sunday, to assist your crafting of the prayers of the faithful.

Altar Guild and Sacristy Handbook: Fourth Revised Edition, by S. Anita Stauffer

S. Anita Stauffer's original work for altar guilds has been a fixture in churches everywhere since the 1970s. This fourth, revised edition of her classic reflects recent developments in liturgical practice and gives attention to the Evangelical Lutheran Worship family of resources.

Altar guild members and sacristans will appreciate the practical and expanded information on caring for the worship space, furnishings, appointments, vestments, and linens; the nuts and bolts of preparing for the sacraments and for funerals, weddings, and other occasional services; and a thorough overview of the church year. Also included are suggestions for organizing the altar guild's work and a helpful glossary. Altar Guild and Sacristy Handbook invites you to approach this role not just as a task, but as a ministry to the whole assembly in God's service.

Topics: Books, women, Women's History Month

Augsburg Fortress

Written by Augsburg Fortress

Augsburg Fortress develops engaging resources for Lutheran congregations In our ministry as the publishing house of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we create substantive and innovative materials to support the ministries of faith communities in communicating the good news of God's liberating grace. To meet the evolving needs of Lutheran communities, we continually invest in the development of new ministry resources, seeking ongoing input from theologians, educators, church leaders, and church members.

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