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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Books, TV/Video

B O O K S
Marking Time: Christian Rituals for All Our Days by Linda Witte Henke contains suggestions for 40 events organized under four thematic sections: celebration, consecration, encouragement and comfort. The author is an ELCA pastor, retreat facilitator and seminar leader. Her guidelines for creating and doing these rituals are very helpful — especially the last one: "Remember that God comes to us in the unexpected. Be diligent in preparing for a ritual's use but flexible in your experience of it. Open your heart to surprise and make room for spontaneity."

Among the rituals included in this enriching resource are ones for celebrating the birth of a child, gathering for a family reunion, a child's first day at school, retirement from one's life work, after violence has occurred and the anniversary of a loved one's death.

The rituals draw on Scripture, the church's liturgical patterns, tangible symbols and the use of touch through the sharing of the peace or the laying on of hands. Hopefully, Henke's visionary efforts here will embolden many more Christian communities to honor the Divine Presence amid everyday transitions (Morehouse Publishing 800-877-6012).

T V / V I D E O S
Jews and Christians: A Journey of Faith is an award-winning two-hour documentary by Gerald Krell and Meyer Odze. It's being presented this fall on many PBS stations and is also available on video for home use and public performances. The film is based on Marvin Wilson's book Our Father Abraham: The Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith. The time is ripe for members of both of these religions to learn more about each other. Among the many beliefs they share in common are a recognition of the importance of a relationship with God and a passion for justice and peace.

The documentary features biblical scholars, historians and clergy expressing their opinions on Jewish-Christian interactions over time. These include Krister Stendahl, Mary C. Boys, Harvey Cox, Irving Greenberg, David Rosen and others. Another salutary feature of the documentary is its showcasing of a variety of grass-roots efforts where Christians and Jews are learning more about each other: a church and synagogue exchanging visits, a high school interfaith dialogue and a program where Roman Catholic and Jewish educators work together as facilitators.

There is also an interesting discussion of Christian and Jewish understandings of forgiveness revolving around an Ash Wednesday service and a Yom Kippur service. Some of the most emotionally charged areas are around the Resurrection, the Trinity, the cross and stereotypes on both sides. This documentary is an excellent resource for congregations interested in embarking on the path of interfaith dialogue. (Auteur Productions. Call 866-299-6554 or visit www.jewsandchristiansjourney.com for information on PBS airtimes, purchasing the video and a free study guide.)

Among the rituals included in this enriching resource are ones for celebrating the birth of a child, gathering for a family reunion, a child's first day at school, retirement from one's life work, after violence has occurred and the anniversary of a loved one's death.

The rituals draw on Scripture, the church's liturgical patterns, tangible symbols and the use of touch through the sharing of the peace or the laying on of hands. Hopefully, Henke's visionary efforts here will embolden many more Christian communities to honor the Divine Presence amid everyday transitions (Morehouse Publishing 800-877-6012).


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September issue

SEPTEMBER issue:

Reinventing Sunday school

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