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"Lay proclamation"

by Charles Aurand (Pastor, Epiphany Evangelial Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh, PA)

Date Unknown

Here are some concrete practical suggestions for bringing the Word to life in your own congregation.

It has been my contention ever since reading Gracia Grindal's article in the March/April issue of Lutheran Partners, wherein she raises the question of lay presidency's [at the Lord's supper] fate under CCM, that lay presidency is critical in opposing a historic episcopate.

Practiced on a widespread scale it would fly in the face of a eucharistic theology that assumes only those properly ordained through the historic episcopate could confect the sacrament of the altar.  Even more importantly than making a statement against CCM, it would remind those among us of the truth that the power does belong to God, through the Word, not to a human being through a historic episcopate.  Christ is present in communion because he says it, not because we conjure him up.

Amazingly, I find many clergy alarmed at the idea of lay presidency, as if it takes something away from them, steals their franchise, or leads to anarchy.  Would to God that our local drug dealers and users would get together in groups of two or more in Jesus' name and start offering each other communion instead of crack cocaine, whether any ordained clergy were within miles or not.

At Epiphany, one of the ideas we are considering, which would be decided at our congregational meeting in January, is having the laity speak both the words of absolution following confession and the words of institution during eucharist.  I would be present, simply handing over the microphone at the proper time.  I would probably alternate services where I would speak the word one week and they would the next.