Institute Seminars

Seminars are limited to 25 registrants each and are scheduled concurrently on Monday, April 13, 2015 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. 

Participants are encouraged to be prepared to perform or show their work if invited by the leaders to do so, each according to the focus of the class. Participants may receive instruction in the topics listed; for those who already have training in the area, the class can also serve as a model for how to teach the topic.  Participation in Seminars requires an additional fee of $65 with full registration or $75 if not attending the Institute.



Location: Center for the Arts, Duesenberg Recital Hall

HERE M.I.: Engaging Multiple Intelligences through Hymns

Scripture commands us to love God with our entire being: body, soul, mind, and strength.  A more recent way of speaking about this entirety uses the language of multiple intelligences.  How much of our being do we fully involve in worship?  It is easy to see how verbal and musical intelligences are engaged through the use of hymnody.  But what about our mathematical/logical, kinesthetic, visual/spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic ways of knowing?  In this workshop we will experiment with ways in which these other aspects of ourselves can also be addressed and incorporated through song.

Mary Louise (Mel) Bringle is a Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Brevard College in Brevard, NC.  Her Ph.D. in Theological Studies is from Emory University.  An award-winning hymn writer whose original texts and translations appear in the hymnals of numerous denominations in North America and Scotland, she has recently served as President of The Hymn Society in the US and Canada and as chair of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song, responsible for creating the new hymnal Glory to God.  She is a ruling elder at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Hendersonville, NC.


Location: Harre Union, Hertiage Room

Creation's Rainbow: A Rich Multiplicity of Psalmic Images

Creation in the Psalms is never one thing; it all depends on the underlying image.  In this seminar we will explore the multiplicity of images of creation and the rich biblical background of each one.  We will consider how each image elicits praise and/or lament.

Dr. Diane Jacobson currently serves as director of the Book of Faith Initiative for the ELCA.  She is also professor emeritus of Old Testament at Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, MN where she taught from 1982-2010.  Jacobson is a frequent speaker throughout the Church, including the 2011 and 2013 Churchwide Assemblies, the LWF 50th Anniversary Assembly in Hong Kong, and numerous synodical assemblies, rostered leaders gatherings, and churchwide consultations.  Jacobson's main academic areas of teaching and publishing have been in Wisdom and Psalms.

Jacobson is, first and foremost, a lover of Scripture.  "I'm in love with this Book," she says.  "My calling is to teach Scripture for the sake of God'a world, and to invite others into the wonders and rewards of exploring the Bible together."


Location:  Harre Union, Valpo Room

Crafting The Sunday Intercessions

Christians are called to the ministry of intercession, and most of us can imporove on the quality and quantity of our prayers.  This seminar will focus on the Sunday intercessions, and participants will practive writing a set.

Gail Ramshaw is a scholar of liturgical language.  A graduate of Valparaiso University (BA), Sarah Lawrence College (MA), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (PhD) and Union Theological Seminary (MDiv), she lives outsitde of Washington, D.C.  A past president of the North American Academy of Liturgy, a recipient of the NAAL Berakah award, and a member of Societas Liturgica, she is a Professor Emerita of Religion as LaSalle University.

Ramshaw has published two textbooks, What Is Christianity? An Introduction to the Christian Religion (Fortress, 2013) and Christian Worship: 100,000 Sundays of Symbols and Rituals (Fortress, 2009).  Her books about the meaning of liturgical language include A Three-Year Banquet: The Lectionary for the Assembly (Augsburg Fortress 2004); The Three-Day Feast: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter (Augsburg Fortress 2004) and many others.  Her prayers have been included in denominational worship resources published in the United States, Canada, Sweden and New Zealand, and she has lectured on liturgical language in the United States, Canada, and Scandinavian countries and the Far East.

Location:  Harre Union, Brown & Gold Room

Hymning the Earth Differently

A congregation-focused workshop, with materials related to the ideas in Rasmussen's plenary on "Sin & Song & Sacrament in the Anthropocene."  Research on congregations as sites of religious motivation for "greening" is part of this seminar.

Larry Rasmussen was Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York from 1986-2004.  Prior to that he was Professor of Christian Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC, and Assistant Professor of Religion at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota.  Rasmussen is a past president of the Society of Christian Ethics and a past editor of The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics.  He is the recipient of the Joseph Sittler Award for Outstanding Leadership in Theological Education and the Burnice Fjellman Award for Distinguished Christian Ministries in Higher Education.  His books include Earth-honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key (Oxford U. Press, 2013); Earth Community, Earth Ethics (Orbis Books and the World Council of Churches, 1996) and many others published by Fortress, HarperCollins, Augsburg-Fortress. SUNY Press and Cambridge.  In addition, he has published widely in journals and magazines.

He and his wife, Nyla, live in Santa Fe, Mexico.  Hobbies include hiking, skiing, gardening, and choral music.

Location: Harre Union, Alumni Room

Earth to Earth: Practical Resources and Theological Grounding for a Ministry of Natural Burial

Leaders and/or congregational teams will come away from this in-depth seminar equipped to plan and introduce a ministry of natural burial.  (Never heard of natural burial? See )

Rev. Dr. Benjamin M. Stewart is the Gordon A. Braatz Associate Professor of Worship and Dean of Augustana Chapel at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  Ben is author of A Watered Garden: Christian Worship and Earth's Ecology (2011).  He is an ordained Lutheran pastor and a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy where he serves as convener of the Liturgy and Ecology Seminar.

Location:  St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Center Sanctuary at 1511 Laporte Avenue (Across the street from campus)

Presiding with Style and Grace

Planning for presiding will be discussed in the hope of making such presiding thoughtful and hospitable.  We will discuss how the presiding minister is not simply a worship leader; he or she is the keeper of rituals, handles and embodies symbols, bears the church's memory, offers on behalf of the community, speaks on behalf of God, and leads in celebration.  Participants will enact portions of the liturgy, experience their own bodies in ritual action, interact with others, question gestures, catch a vision of what is possible in their particular place of ministry, and discern how presiding works in concert with other leaders in liturgy.

Robert Alan Rimbo is bishop of the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  He most recently served as pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New York City and immediately prior to that served as bishop of the Southeast Michigan Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

A graduate of Concordai Senior College, Fort Wayne, Indiana (1972), and Christ Seminary-Seminex, St. Louis, Missouri (1976), Bishop Rimbo holds an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church (2010).  He is married to Lois, an elementary school reading and language arts specialist.  They are the parents to two adult children, Deborah and Justin (who is married to Angela) and the grandparents of Owen Robert and Zoe Elizabeth.