Liturgy as Pastoral Care
May 31, 2021-June 2, 2021
Thirty-six years ago the very first essay I wrote as a seminary professor was entitled “Liturgy as Pastoral Care.” It was not an original thought but based on the William Willimon book Worship as Pastoral Care. What I explored in that essay was how a shift was taking place in 1985 in the teaching of pastoral care, a shift from the social-science model of pastoral care (focused on psychological techniques – what I learned at the seminary) to a more holistic model that saw Christ as the one who is the caregiver. If that is true, pastoral care begins with the liturgy where Christ is present with his gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation. Willimon was ahead of the curve, and for the past 36 years my own teaching of liturgy and pastoral theology has reflected this change in approaching pastoral care.
For that first essay in 1985, I discovered Kenneth Korby’s Ph.D. thesis on Loehe and his thoughts about the relationship between the primary means of pastoral care (liturgy, preaching, catechesis) and the secondary means (visitations, counseling, etc.). This simple but profound distinction has guided my teaching on liturgy and pastoral care, as well as the four historic functions of pastoral care: “healing, sustaining, guiding, and reconciling.”
Also, in the past thirty-six years I’ve thought a great deal about the Christological meaning of suffering in connection with pastoral care. This was especially motivated by my foundation and leadership in our deaconess program where “taking care of body and soul” was part of how we established the identity of deaconesses as women of mercy. I learned a great deal in working with pastors and deaconesses in Kenya in addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis as it was just hitting their church in the early part of this century. It let to my writing/editing the book Visitations for CPH.
So this course will be about pastoral care as much as it is liturgy. Various examples from the history of the liturgy will be used to illustrate the pastoral use of the liturgy in the care of souls.
Augustana Lutheran Church
1523 16th St. SE
Hickory, NC 28602
Readings link will be emailed with order confirmation.