19 July 2009

A Poll!

Given the discussion below, I just wonder if the blog readers would mind indicating whether or not you elevate and genuflect during the Consecration (if you are a pastor) or whether the practice is found in your church (if you are a lay person); oh, and include your state or country, if you would.

Here: we elevate the Lord's body and blood and genuflect before them.



Anonymous said...

Elevate but do not genuflect. Ohio

(Seen no problem with genuflecting, just don't do it.)


Rev. Jim Roemke said...

Elevate and genuflect. Western Michigan.
Pr. Jim Roemke

Fr. Jon M. Ellingworth said...

Elevate and genuflect. Eastern New York (Hudson Valley)

Rich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rev. David M. Juhl said...

Elevate, but bow rather than genuflect.

Northern Illinois.

David M. Juhl+

Pr. James Vosper said...

Elevate and bow rather than genuflect. I see no problem with a genuflection.

Saskatoon, Sk Canada
Pr. James Vosper

Rev. Paul T. McCain said...

I elevate and bow deeply, I've got no problem with genuflection.

I have no problem with not elevating and not genuflecting.

It makes no never-mind to me.

What makes a difference to me is when some in our circles attempt to suggest, or even quite clearly are saying, that elevation and genuflecting are "better" or "more reverent" ways of conducting the liturgy.

Rev. Paul T. McCain said...

Or..when some reject and condemn elevation and genuflection as wholly non-Lutheran and alien to our history and practice.

Now, Tabernacles? Nope, I do not favor shutting up Jesus in a box, no matter how pretty it is.

But you probably already knew that!

: )

Pastor Peters said...

Oops answered on the wrong comment box... oh well...

Genuflect sometimes, generally profoundly bow... it all depends... I am getting old...

What I always do is elevate and stop the action for a few moments so that the mystery has some time for the people to consider... as well as adore...

William Weedon said...

So far we have elevation and some form of reverencing (bowing or genuflection) in:

Michigan, New York, Illinois, Saskatoon, Tennessee.

Who else? Where else?

Rev. Alan Kornacki, Jr. said...

Of the thirteen congregations I've filled in for in the Southern District, two of them (one in the New Orleans area and one outside of Jackson Mississippi have pastors who genuflect and elevate. Or elevate and genuflect.

I know at least two of them elevate and bow.

I generally elevate and bow unless the congregation is used to genuflection. Not sure I count here, though, since I don't have a parish of my own right now.

Rev. Alan Kornacki, Jr. said...

I hate it when I forget to close parentheses.

Jon Bakker said...

No elevation or genuflection here - we have a long-established practice of individual cups only (I know, but each thing in its time), and elevation would be severely awkward in our circumstances.


Mike Erickson said...

Elevate and genuflect.

Panhandle of TX.

Rev. Mike Erickson

Pr. David Gallas said...

Elevate and genuflect.

New Hamburg, Ontario.

Bishop Robert Lyons said...

Not Lutheran, so feel free to disregard:

At the verba: Hold each species and sign them with the cross.

At the invitation: "The Gifts of God...", elevate both species, then, upon returning them to the Altar, kneel for the Prayer of Humble access.

No objection to genuflections and elevations in other ways, though.


Pr. H. R. said...

Elevate and genuflect.

In this heavily UCC area - where many German families are split between Lutheran and UCC - I find these ceremonies help greatly in confessing the Real Presence.


Bishop Robert Lyons said...


Feel free to contact me privately. I don't want to derail Pastor Weedon's thread. There is a contact toggle for me on my blog.


Anonymous said...

Our pastor, Fr. David Kind of University Lutheran Chapel in Minneapolis elevates and genuflects.

(now only if he'd celebrate the mass ad orientem...)

Anonymous said...

Elevate and genuflect in Tulsa, OK.


Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I will turn and face the congregation and elevate during the Pax Domini.

Northern Oklahoma

William Weedon said...

So what have we got at 9:30?

Michigan, New York, Illinois, Saskatoon, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, Ontario, Minnesota, Oklahoma.

This is absolutely striking for a ceremony that 50 years ago was all but lost to the Lutheran Church in America. I look forward to adding in more places as others chime in!

Anonymous said...

What Pr. Brown ^ does.

Pr. Tom Fast
Fairmont, Minnesota

WM Cwirla said...

Elevate and bow reverently.

WM Cwirla said...

Oops, forgot my location.

John Wurst said...

Elevate and genuflect but not all the time.

This historic practice was never done before my arrival (as far as I know). I am taking it slow with the congregation.

Duluth, Minnesota

+ Pr. Wurst

Anonymous said...

elevate at the Consecration and genuflect; elevate at the "through Him, with Him...." and also at the "Ecce Agnus Dei" ("Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sin of the world....") when I turn to face the congregation. I celebrate the Mass ad orientem -- returned the Altar to its proper location in the church.

Pr. Strauch
Hamden, CT

Anonymous said...

What about Indiana?

There must be a congregation in Indiana?

Jeremy Clifton said...

No elevation or genuflection in my parish in Chattanooga, TN, but I do bow deeply.

Anonymous said...

Reporting as organist:
No elevation.
No genuflecting (genuflection?).

Sanctus: Plenum
Agnus Dei: Flutes 8', ped. 16' Lieblichgedakt

Anonymous said...

Osman, IL

Anonymous said...


Rev. Keith Weise
St. Louis, MO

km said...

Elevate and genuflect - New Orleans, LA

Rev. John Frahm said...

I elevate chalice and a celebrant's host for the Pax Domini but not during the Verba.

Have no problem with the other.


Sue said...


Salem, Oregon

Rev. Jeff Nilsson said...

Elevate and genuflect.
Usona, Alberta, Canada

Anonymous said...

No elevation or genuflection at our church so far - Poplar Bluff, Missouri (LCMS)

Although Pr. Weise who posted above is preaching at our church next Sunday, and he may feel free to do so.

Jeremy Loesch said...

Elevate yes, genuflect no.

Newark, DE (on the MD/DE border by Wilmington)

Brian P Westgate said...

Redeemer Fort Wayne - elevation then genuflection

Zion Detroit - genuflection, evevation, genuflection, after each consecration, and at the closing phrase of the anaphora.

Rev. Shane R. Cota said...

Elevate and bow.

But now I think I will start genuflecting as well, to stand with my persecuted hyper-euro-liturgico-pietistic-hobbyist brethren!

There's actually no reason why I haven't genuflected before, probably just lazy, I guess.

Northern Wisconsin.

Richsheri1 said...

If it's Jesus' body and blood like His words so clearly say (present tense, in fact), why wouldn't I? It's simply a natural response from faith.

So the answer is "yes."

Anonymous said...

Elevate and genuflect.
Zion, Ft. Wayne, IN.

Rev. Ron Stephens

Anonymous said...

After 5 years of teaching I barely get by with every Sunday Communion, which may not last come Fall, we shall see.

So neither elevate or genuflect (except in heart only).

East Central Illinois.

Pr. Ryan Fehrmann

Rev. James Leistico said...

Elevation yes, genuflection no.

you know where I'm at.

Anonymous said...

Elevate and bow.
Wheatland, WY

Garry Trammell said...

neither sadly, from a layman in East Lansing, MI

Chris Jones said...

As with Mr Trammell: Neither, sadly.

Chris Jones
Bedford, MA

Paul said...

Elevate and genuflect
in northeast Tennessee.

Anonymous said...

No elevation, or genuflecting. My pastor bows and makes the sign of the cross over the body and blood while saying the words of institution.

Oddly enough, I never noticed what he did for a full year attending my church, since my head is usually bowed with my eyes closed. One day my pastor described what he did and why to me, and asked if I had noticed. After that day I did watch. :-)

Jim Pierce
Messiah Lutheran, Seattle, Wa.

J.G.F. said...

I elevate and profoundly bow. Much more Eastern NY than Jon :-) I'm one Church away from London here on the EAST end of Long Island..

Wow.... 54 replies... must be some kind of record!

Past Elder said...

Have never seen anything like this in a Lutheran church, LCMS or otherwise -- elevation, genuflexion, chasuble, facing the altar, etc.

Omaha NE

Jon Townsend said...

Our Pastor turns toward the congregation and elevates the Body and Blood with the Pax Domini -
seeing as we are WELS and writing in relative terms, we are relatively way more high church then you Missouri folks :)

Plymouth, MI

Doorman-Priest said...

No. Neither. Too Catholic for British tastes.

Unknown said...

Elevate during the verba but do not genuflect.

Elevate during the Pax Domini also.

North Wisconsin

906Lutheran said...

I elevate the host during the verba...but we only have individual cups, so I don't elevate the stack of trays. I don't bow or genuflect

And yes, I would prefer we had a chalice--we'll deal with that when we're all on board with WHO comes to the table and HOW OFTEN it's offered.

Pr. Matt Ruesch
Garrison, MN

Bryce P Wandrey said...

Doorman-Priest wrote: No. Neither. Too Catholic for British tastes.

Not all British tastes. :)

joel in ga said...

Wait--I thought Lutherans were non-committal on when the bread and wine become the Body and Blood. Perhaps at the consecration, perhaps not. At least by the time of the Distribution.

Is the rationale for genuflection based exclusively on the view that the change takes place at the consecration?

Speaking of bowing, Ethiopian Christians bow when the name of Jesus is mentioned in worship. I once saw a choir in Djibouti do so while performing a song. Nice choreographical move, that.

William Weedon said...


This Lutheran agrees with Luther: "For as soon as Christ says: 'This is my Body,' his body is present through the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. If the Word is not there, it is mere bread; but as soon as the words are added they bring with them that of which they speak." AE 36:341

William Weedon said...

So, keeping our tally up to date, for elevation at any rate we have:

Michigan, New York, Illinois, Saskatoon, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, Ontario, Minnesota, Oklahoma, California (aka Belize!), Connecticut, Missouri, Colorado, Alberta, Delaware, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

My internet friend Harvey pointed out that it wasn't really extinct 50 years ago and that in some of the parishes influenced by the St. James Society it was practiced. But I'd wager not on the scale or in the variety of places where it seems to be making a resurgence. The question is WHY is it making such a come back? I have my own ideas, but I'm curious of others' thoughts.

Elaine said...

My pastor lifts up the chalice at the beginning of the Words of Institution (I guess that is elevate) and then after setting it down makes the sign of the cross and continues with the Words of Institution and does the same for the host. Lutheran Church of the Redeemer - Winnipeg MB LCC

CyberSis said...

Verba: genuflect, elevate, genuflect

Pax: elevate (facing congregation)

Small parish
SE Michigan

Dcn Latif Haki Gaba SSP said...

Seven days a week at Saint Stephen's, Milwaukee:

After the Verba Christi over the bread-genuflection, then elevation, then genuflection again.

After the Verba Christi over the chalice-genuflection, then elevation, then genuflection again.

All of this is done facing toward the east, the priest turning to the people for the Pax Domini.

Dcn Latif Haki Gaba SSP said...

By the way, I think it's funny that my comment above is the 66th comment here, the number of books in bibles I used to buy.

WM Cwirla said...

Nice way to go for the century mark of 100 posts.

Susan said...

I didn't think the pastor elevated here, at least not like in the picture you show. But compared to the pastor who subbed last Sunday, yup, I guess you'd call the regular practice elevation.

Pastor genuflects during some seasons of the church year and not during others.

Southern Wisconsin.

Rev. Karl Gregory said...

Elevate and bow.
South Dakota

Doorman-Priest said...

Sorry Bryce. I should have said Yorkshire tastes.

X said...

If I may tag onto Brian's comment for Zion.

and BELLS! ;)

Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

As a layman:

Middle Tenn.: One former parish, est. ca. 1960s, elevation of an individual cup during verba (This looks a little strange to say the least). No genuflection.

Current parish, est. ca. 1980s, successive elevation of chalice and ciborium during verba. No genuflection. I bow.

Unknown said...

Lifts the paten and chalice from the altar as if to pass it to another - slight movement of the upper body.

For me - Pastor and the Elders stand at the opening of the communion rail with the Body and Blood of Christ - as I approach I neck bow. The same as if I were to meet the Queen.

Alberta, Canada

Ariel said...

I thought genuflecting WAS bowing, but after reading the Wikipedia article on it, I guess not.

Is there a way to tabulate these poll results via Google Map?

Ted Badje said...

Is it our sacrifice, or Christ's?
I say that the raising the cup before the altar would confuse some. Genuflection is OK.

Chris Jones said...

Is it our sacrifice, or Christ's?

To ask it is to answer it.

For Thou, O Christ our God, art the Offerer and Thou art the One offered; it is Thou Who receivest the offering and Thou art Thyself the offering which is distributed.

If any are "confused" by the elevation, then let them be properly catechized. If the priest who stands at the altar in persona Christi raises the chalice, that teaches that it is Christ who is the true priest and it is His sacrifice -- not by any means that it is ours.

Bryce P Wandrey said...

I should probably have noted that the "tastes" that I refer to aren't Lutheran ones.

I have some exposure to British Lutherans (ELCE) and would concur: elevation and genuflection are not part of the British Lutheran ethos.

Mike Keith said...

I elevate after the consecration. I do not genuflect - but with teaching perhaps in the future as I think the act of genuflecting before the consecrated elements is a very good way to teach.

George said...

At my prior parish in south central Nebraska, I would occasionally elevate the Lord's body. Couldn't really do that with the individual cups which was the only thing we had.

In my current parish in the panhandle of Nebraska, I elevate neither the host or the chalice although, of course, the sign of the cross is made over the host, the chalice, & the individual cups.

Of course, this represents my practice only & not any previous practice in either location.

William Weedon said...


I teach that the true significance of the elevation is that it is the visual "for you." Dr. Nagel mentioned this to me once, and I found it significant that when practiced in Brandenburg, to spit in the elector's eyes, if you will, they even added words along these lines: "This, dear Christian, is the body that was upon the cross for you. This is the blood that shed for the forgiveness of your sins." Nisschan reports that at times the people had some quite emotional responses to the announcement.

Piotr Malysz said...

Elevation, yes; genuflection, no.
Central Massachusetts

Scott Diekmann said...

My pastor both elevates and genuflects. Seattle area.

William Tighe said...

The rite to which you are alluding, Pastor Weedon, as added to the elevation, was the "ostension," and the words were, "see, dear Christians, this is the true body of Christ given for us, and the true lood of Christ shed for us," said while holding the consecrated elements aloft and showing them to the congregation.

It was instituted, not as a gesture of defiance to the elector John Sigismund, who converted to Calvinism in 1613 and tried to force Calvinism upon his people, with indifferent success, but by that elector's great-grandfather, Joachim II (elector 1535-1571), in 1562 as a gesture of defiance to "Calvinists and fanatics." The next elector, John George (1571-1598) insisted on the maintenance of the elevation and ostension," like his father viewing Calvinism as the greatest threat to his electorate, but his son and successor, Joachim Friedrich (b. 1546, elector 1598-1608), who had been "episcopal administrator" of the Bishopric of Magdeburg since 1566, vuewed Catholicism as the far greater threat (as indeed it was in precariously-secularized episcopal principalities like Magdeburg), and it was he who, right at the beginning of his rule, expressed his dislike of the elevation, ostension, daily celebrations of the Eucharist, making the sign of the cross over the elements at the consecration and processions on Holy Days; and he suggested in 1598, and ordered in 1600, the ostension to be abolished, and the elevation to be "discouraged." He remained a Lutheran to his dying day, but chose cryupto-Calvinist tutors and schools for his three sons, all of whom became Calvinists after their father's death. (see: *Prince, People and Confession: the Second Reformation in Brandenburg* by Bodo Nischan (Philadelphia, 1994: University of Pennsylvania Press).

Also see: "The 'Fractio Panis': a Reformed Communion Practice in Late Reformation Germany," by Bodo Nischan, *Church History,* 53 (1984), pp. 17-29.

William Weedon said...

Thanks, Dr. Tighe, for setting me straight on the history of the ostentatio. It's been years since I read the Nisschan stuff, and the memory fails! The ostentatio with the people's emotional response at times and the story about the butcher with the cleaver at Baptism were my two favorites in his research.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to add on an earlier comment that while I elevate and present host and chalice at the pax, I also hold the chalice higher than my heart during the distribution as a sign by which I'm confessing my submission to what the Lord is giving in the Sacrament. I trust this is not too eccentric a practice.

Tom Fast
Fairmont, MN