As of January this year, Lutheran congregations can now enjoy an affordable and convenient online worship resource produced by Sola Publishing.
The Sola Online Worship Resource Site is a lectionary-based resource that began last May as an idea for a printed book similar to Sundays and Seasons by Augsburg Fortress Press. “It quickly evolved into the development of a much larger online format,” said the Rev. Steven E. King, managing editor for Sola Publishing.
“By going online, we could introduce much more material,” King said. “Going online in January 2014, we started out with six month’s worth of advance content for people preparing for the coming year, and we continue to add more each week.”
Currently the online resource offers congregations the following:
*worship planning guides,
*liturgies and occasional services,
*lectionary scripture inserts,
*lectionary plain text for projection or bulletins,
*bulletin clip art,
*children’s bulletins and puzzles,
*prayers of the church,
*study guides for pastor or small group bible study,
*a PowerPoint template for projection,
*and public domain music PDFs in simplified arrangements.
The resource is intended to serve Lutheran congregations from a variety of denominational backgrounds, including Lutheran CORE, ELCA congregations, as well as NALC, LCMC, CALC, and other congregations. Hymn suggestions are offered for ELW, LBW, WOV, and LSB, along with the new ReClaimLutheran Hymnal for Church and Home (see related article on page #). In addition, original hymn texts for each season of the church year are provided for well-known, public domain hymn tunes.
“When choosing hymn suggestions, one of the things we’ve kept in mind is that these different hymnals represent different ethnic traditions and pieties. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to worship music. Everybody has their preferences in terms of what they like and what they are used to singing. That is why Sola tries to support the breadth of Lutheran worship, whether it tends toward high church or low church traditions, or somewhere in between,” King said. He noted that Sola’s online resource provides continuing support and suggestions for those using the LBW, even as Augsburg-Fortress has diminished its focus on that hymnal.
Pastor King stated that the resource was designed with the small church’s budget constraints in mind. Churches with less than 50 members can enjoy all these resources for as little as $120 a year, half the cost of Augsburg Fortress’online Sundays and Seasons. Additionally, since many churches often struggle to find skilled musical accompanists, the musical arrangements that Sola provides are intentionally simplified to facilitate easy accompaniment with guitar or keyboard.
“We have a heart for the small parishes. There are well-functioning large churches that have access to all the resources they need, but there are many small congregations that have difficulty finding resources to support their particular needs. That’s where we fit in best,” King said.
One reason Sola Publishing is able to provide such affordable pricing on their new resource is by keeping it separate from music licensing. Many congregations already subscribe to licensing services like CCLI or OneLicense, which can be used in harmony with resources from the Sola site. The music provided by Sola itself is original or in the public domain, including many favorite historic hymns.
The Sola Resource Site also offers a number of liturgies, inserts, and occasional services as downloadable PDF files. The text of these liturgies can be easily formatted for use in projection.
Content development for the new website was coordinated by Pastors Amy Little and Mark Ryman along with Pastor King. Pastor Peter Churness developed the website itself. Continuing additions to the resource will be made in response to consumer demand.
“The response has been better than we expected,” King remarked. “In the first two weeks of going live, we had eighty congregations already subscribed. That’s a good response,” he said.
Interested worship leaders can visit the website or call 1-888-887-9840. An online video explaining the resources offered is underway and will be posted soon.