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Lutheran Service Book FAQ

April 13th, 2007
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Question: How are sales of the Lutheran Service Book going? My congregation is in the process of deciding if we are going to buy it and want to know how well received it has been.

Answer: The hymnal has been available for just a bit over six months and there are already well in excess of 550,000 copies in circulation. The orders keep pouring in. We will be close to one million copies in print by the end of this year. The demand for the hymnal has exceeded our expectation.

Question: How long is the introductory price of $18.50 good for?
Answer: Concordia Publishing House recently announced that we are extending the special price through Pentecost of 2008 in light of the huge demand for the hymnal and to give congregations more time to make their purchase. We were going to stop the special price at the end of this summer, but felt it would be a better service to the Synod to continue the special pricing.

Question: Is there a better time to order it to make sure we get it right away?
Answer: No, we are unable to say for sure when we will have copies in stock for immediate shipping and when we will be in a backorder situation. The printer is working continuously to fill our reprint orders and delivering them as quickly to us as possible. The best thing to do is simply place your order and get in line for copies as they become available and when they become available. First come, first served. Our distribution center is working at full capacity to fill orders just as quickly as we can.

Question: How has the software Lutheran Service Builder been received?
Answer: Let me put it this way. We expected to sell a few hundred copies in the first year the program was released. The program has been available for only a few months and we have sold over 1,350 copies.

Question: When is the Pastoral Care Companion coming out?
Answer: We expect it to be here by July. You will be extremely impressed by the tremendous amount of resources it contains.

Question: What have you been hearing about the hymnal?
We have heard continuously from congregations and pastors who are extremely pleased with the hymnal. They are very impressed at how easy it is to introduce the hymnal to the parish. "TLH only" congregations that have switched to LSB have been particularly pleased at how well the transition has gone. We are hearing good things about the quality of the hymnal, the design of the hymnal and how easy the new hymnal is to use. Very few negative remarks have been received. Frankly, I’ve been amazed at how few negative remarks we have received. Overwhelmingly positive response from all across the Synod, from congregations of every size.

Question: What about the hymnal: Lutheran Worship?
Answer: We have not received a single request to keep Lutheran Worship in print. In fact, the Concordia Publishing House board of directors took it out of print at its last meeting. We have limited quantities remaining and when these are gone there will no future printings. No LW companion volumes are reprinted. Neither LW, nor any of its companion volumes, will be released into the public doman. CPH still holds all copyright to all LW resources.

Question: What about The Lutheran Hymnal?
Answer: We will keep one edition of TLH in print at least in the short-term, the red pew edition. No TLH support volumes will be reprinted. Neither, TLH  nor any of its supporting volumes, will be released into the public domain. CPH still holds copyright to all TLH resources.

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  1. April 13th, 2007 at 14:12 | #1

    I’ve heard a few rumblings from people that there’s been some bugs and they’re a bit frustrated. Any input on the progress of smoothing out Lutheran Service Builder?
    [McCain: Like any piece of software in its 1.0 phase, there have been some bugs, but they are being worked out and nothing so problematic that the program is not functional, far from it. My congregation, for example, has been cranking out service bulletins with it, with the entire liturgy and readings for a few months now. For the vast majority of users, the program has been an enormously helpful resource. The largest group of people buying the program are smaller to medium sized congregations that have purchased the hymnal.]

  2. Rev. Al Bergstrazer
    April 13th, 2007 at 14:41 | #2

    After nearly 9 months of use we’re very satisfied. And after studying a copy of ELW I thank God for LSB and heave a grateful sigh of releif. There are some gripes here and there but mostly they’re related to personal preferences and long standing habits, than major flaws.
    I do have a question, will there be a ministers desk edition in the line up of support volumes? Or is that redundant because of Lutheran Service builder?
    One thing about TLH that I will miss is the illumination on the inside cover flyleaves of the Agenda. Particularly “A Pastor’s prayer.” I’m almost tempted to cut mine out and frame it, but its a little small, it would make a nice gift to a pastor if it could be enlarged and still keep the details.
    [McCain: The desk editions are a couple years off at this point. You will be delighted with the Pastoral Care Companion coming in July. It has a number of beautiful prayers for the pastor as he prepared to conduct various ministerial functions.]

  3. April 13th, 2007 at 15:43 | #3

    I would love to be able to get the various images associated with each of the Divine Services and other services for use will bulletins and other needs. Is there a way that those can be made available for use, whether we have to pay for the lot or are made available for free or in the Service Builder?
    [McCain: We are planning on releasing a CD-ROM of clip art based on the images in the hymnal. We are also going to be releasing a book of banner patterns using the LSB images. It will come with a CD-ROM with PDF files for the purpose of printing out the images in "tile" format to lay down on the fabric for accurate designs].

  4. Joseph Siegel
    April 14th, 2007 at 20:28 | #4

    A two-volume Daily Prayer Book was originally part of the LSB plan–is this still planned? What is the publication schedule?
    [McCain: We are working on a volume titled: "Lutheran Daily Prayer" which will be one volume, 6x9, 1800 pages, printed on very thin Bible paper. It will contain the entire Psalter, all the collects for the three year and one year series, and many more. It will contain Matins and Vespers, and the Litany, orders for family prayer, and each day will contain the entire daily lectionary from LSB, a hymn verse, readings appropriate for any saints day or commemorations, and a reading from the Church Fathers or Lutheran Confessions. All you need, in one volume.]

  5. Christine
    April 16th, 2007 at 09:25 | #5

    “We are working on a volume titled: “Lutheran Daily Prayer” which will be one volume, 6×9, 1800 pages, printed on very thin Bible paper. … All you need, in one volume.”
    Oh, that is terrific! What a welcome addition that will be! I’ve been hoping that just such a resource would become available. It’s such a wonderful way to connect our liturgical worship to daily prayer.

  6. April 16th, 2007 at 13:42 | #6

    Could I inquite why TLH won’t be released into the public domain? I’m a huge advocate for the adoption of LSB… I just don’t see why TLH could not be released.
    Thanks for posting all this info about LSB!
    [McCain: Because the TLH content is owned and managed by Concordia Publishing House. We will continue to publish one edition of the TLH and therefore will continue to keep TLH under copyright.]

  7. Ryan
    April 16th, 2007 at 18:14 | #7

    My congregation has been very pleased with the new Hymnal.
    Any plans to make the Altar Book a little less unwieldly? Maybe issue separate volumes like the Lectionary? Any suggestion on keeping the pages open without breaking the binding, I used use the orans position for prayer and now I’m reduced to holding the Altar Book open with one hand.
    [McCain: Separate volumes on the Altar Book is not an option, but we are printing it on a lighter weight paper, to make it less thick (no, we will not refund or replace volumes already purchases). I would go ahead and break the binding.]

  8. organshoes
    April 18th, 2007 at 09:50 | #8

    I can’t help wonder about specific hymns omitted from LSB, especially ones that showed up as recently as Supplement ’98. Maybe there were taste issues, or doctrinal, or copyright. No idea.
    Makes one wonder, though, if they’re still deemed appropriate.
    Without being specific, some of them I don’t regret not having. A few of them, however, I do so regret.
    Our choir has retained LW and the Supplement in the loft, as well as LBW, and will continue to use some of these ‘lost’ hymns and harmonies, for choral use.

  9. David
    April 5th, 2012 at 01:05 | #9

    I really wish they would keep TLH in print. I hear settings 1 and 2, and I can see the music committee sitting around the table talking about how the music needs to be more “happy” and “accessible.” Are we Episcopalians? The Sanctus and the Gloria sound like a John Williams soundtrack, lacking the dignity and reverence of Setting 3. The TLH should be kept in print so that congregations have a choice. BTW I am 25 years old, precisely among the demographics I think they’re trying reach by Mickey Mouseifying this 125+ year old liturgy. I don’t need cheerful or contemporary, I long for the reverent and mysterious.

    • April 5th, 2012 at 04:58 | #10

      Couple things: TLH is still in print and DS III is identical to TLH, p. 15.

  10. Jay
    April 6th, 2012 at 00:18 | #11

    @ptmccain
    DS III may be similar to, but NOT identical to TLH 15. “Identical” implies word for word adherence to the TLH text which is NOT the case. The Invocation is not even word for word “identical” with TLH. The Confession of Sins is not “identical” to the TLH text ( I just noticed that … after using LSB for a couple of years.) The Words of Institution are similar, but not “identical” to the TLH text … ditto for the Creeds, Benediction … as well as many of the spoken responses. Not even all the sung portions of DS III are “identical” to TLH 15.

    While updated language accounts for most if not all the deviations from the TLH text and arguably may not be immaterial or worth arguing about, let’s be honest, DS III is SIMILAR to, but NOT IDENTICAL to TLH 15. All I am asking for is FULL and COMPLETE disclosure.

    Lets be fully honest about finding the TLH on CPH.org. Search on “The Lutheran Hymnal” on CPH.org. The TLH Pew editions are the 22nd and 23rd items listed AFTER at least a dozen LSB products, a French Hymnal, and a number of publications that are NOT hymnals of any kind.

    Search for “Lutheran Service Book” and the Pew Edition is the first item listed. Why not do the same for the “The Lutheran Hymnal” search on CPH.org

    Each hymnal has its merits … strengths and weaknesses. Please FULLY disclose the facts … without editorially stretching them.

    • April 6th, 2012 at 08:34 | #12

      Jay, while there are still a very small number of LCMS congergations using TLH, the vast majority of TLH only congregations have moved to LSB, and enjoy it very much. TLH is a hymnal that served its purpose, but it was not without its problems, very significant ones.

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