In great contrast to the rock bands, skits, and dancing girls at the disturbingly-titled Worship Service/Mass Event at the LCMS National Youth Gathering (read and weep) in the New Orleans Superdome, the theme of the 13th annual St. Michael's Conference at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Detroit will be:
Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV: “Falsely are our churches accused of abolishing the Mass; for the Mass is retained among us, and celebrated with the highest reverence.” The conference will examine the Mass in the Lutheran Confessions and the writings of Luther, stressing the practical contemporary application of our Confession “The Mass is celebrated among us with the highest reverence.”
The keynote address will be given by one of my former professors, the brilliant Lutheran scholar the Rev. Prof. Roland Ziegler:
of Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne, will address the question “What does it mean when the Augsburg Confession claims that the subscribing churches retained the Mass?” This requires a historical investigation of the form of worship used among Lutherans around 1530 and the decade to follow, and what dogmatic relevance the form of the Mass had among Lutherans in the time of the reformation. Only then can we discern what this statement means for contemporary practice.
Now how much would you pay? But wait! There's more!...
Sectional presenters will be Fr. Burnell Eckardt, Pastor of St. Paul, Kewanee, and editor of Gottesdienst magazine; the Reverend Dr. Daniel Reuning, Kantor and church musician of Redeemer Lutheran Church of Fort Wayne, and Dean of Chapel at CTS for 31 years; Deacon David Muehlenbruch of Bethany Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, and of the Lex Orandi web site; and Fr. Mark Braden, Pastor of Zion Detroit.
Sectional presentations will treat of both the ceremony and the rite of the Lutheran high Mass, with special attention paid to the rubrics for the Celebrant, Deacon and Subdeacon, and the chanting of the Gospel.
At the Mass, Fr. David Petersen of Redeemer, Fort Wayne will preach, the Rt. Rev. David Stechholz, Bishop of the English District, will preside, and Fr. Braden will serve as Celebrant.
Zion Detroit sponsored the St. Michael Liturgical Conference from 1998 until 2005. From 2006-2008 the St Michael Liturgical Conferences were held at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
My family and parochial duties (not to mention financial limitations) will keep me a good thousand miles away, but I've been to St. Michael's conferences while studying at Fort Wayne, and they were always top-notch in both scholarship and hospitality. I highly recommend them to any Lutheran.
This year's conference will not only feature a District President (the Bishop of the English District), but also two Fort Wayne professors (Prof. Ziegler and Dr. Reuning). Fr. Braden (Zion's pastor) is also a classmate of mine. He is not only a scholar and an exegete, but also a beloved Seelsorger and brother in the ministry. Dr. Eckardt, Fr. Petersen, and Dcn Muhlenbruch are all remarkable scholars and churchmen.
If you can get to Detroit on Monday, September 27, 2010, I recommend you sign up now!
Now this is what a "Mass Event" ought to look like!