Shane Brinegar

Title: The Restoration of Critical Catholicity in North American Lutheran Worship

In his liturgical essays, Formula Missae (1523) and Deutsche Messe (1526) Luther develops a distinctive hermeneutic for the reform and practice of public worship.  This hermeneutic is best described as a critical appropriation of western catholic liturgical tradition for the sake of the clear proclamation of the Gospel.  This workshop will examine the historical and theological evolution and use of Luther's liturgical hermeneutic in North American Lutheran worship.  We will look especially at the deterioration and loss of the Lutheran liturgical identity in 19th Century American worship books under the pressure of Evangelical Revivalism.  The revival hermeneutic will then be compared to the Lutheran liturgical restoration which begins with the Common Service (1888) and culminates with Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006).  Finally, it will become clear that Evangelical Lutheran Worship in particular returns to Luther's classic notion of liturgical reform as proposal and we will assess the fate of this hermeneutic and its vital importance for today and the church in the future.

BIO:  Shane Brinegar earned his M.Div. in 2012 at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.  Immediately following he began work on the Master of Sacred Theology degree, under the supervision of Dr. Timothy J. Wengert, Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of Reformation History, Emeritus (LTSP).  His work focused  primarily on Luther's theology of the Means of Grace, and its practical and pastoral implications for the life of the church today.  In May of 2014 Shane successfully defended his thesis, A Wittenberg Liturgical Theology: Critical Catholicism in Practice, with distinction.  Dr. Gordon W. Lathrop, Charles A. Schieren Professor of Liturgy, Emeritus (LTSP) served on his thesis panel.  Shane is currently a student in the Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) program at the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church focusing on Anglican Liturgy and Ecumenism.


Kevin Hildebrand
Kevin Hildebrand

Title: Beginning Improvisation Techniques for the Organ

Improvisations does not begin with sitting at the organ bench and waiting for a glorious toccata to miraculously occur!  This workshop will provide strategies and skills to make organ improvisation less of a mystery and more of a practical art for the parish organist.

BIO:  Kevin Hildebrand is Kantor at Concordia Theological Seminary and St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He holds degrees in music and theology from The University of Michigan and Concordia Theological Seminary, respectively.  An experienced teacher of both children and adults, he directs choirs including the Youth Choir at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, and the seminary Kantorei and Schola Cantorum.  His compositions for organ and choir are published by various composers, and he serves as the editor of the Hymn Prelude Library from Concordia Publishing House, a 12-volume set of new organ compositions.


Joel Kurz

Title: In the Dark and Dawn: Earthly Worship and Poetic Life

With special reference to the writing of 17th century German mystic Jacob Boehme and the lyrical compositions of contemporary psalmist Bruce Cockburn, this workshop will focus on the intersection of earthly experience and incarnational life.

BIO:  Joel Kurz serves as pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Warrensburg, Missouri (which received a grant from The Valparaiso Project of its community garden).  He serves on various local social ministry and community organization boards, as well as with the humanitarian agency With God's Little Ones.  He edited, along with C. George Fry, Lively Stone: The Autobiography of Berthold von Schenk, and his essays and poems have appeared in a variety of journals, including The Cresset.  He also has been a contributing writer for Concordia Seminary's Center for the Care of Creation.


Gordon Lathrop

Title: The Lectionary on the Cosmos in Praise and Lament
(This workshop will be repeated)

This workshop will be a text study, intended for preachers, presiders and worship planners, on the texts that will be read in an assembly using the RCL on the two first Sundays after Trinity this year, Lectionary 10B and Lectionary 11B (or Proper 5 and 6) for June 7 and 14, 2015, the Second and the Third Sundays after Pentecost.  At that time in the church year, we will begin to read from Mark again, accompanied by passeages from 2 Corinthians, Genesis and Ezekiel.  How do these texts speak of our life in Christ as life on this earth?  How is the gospel to be preached from these texts?


Title:  "We lift them to the Lord": The Eucharist as source for sarcophilic living

Many themes of the Christian celebration of the Lord's Supper point to a kind of religion and a style of life that honors the conditions of the flesh, that is "sacrophilic."  What are those themes?  How may we teach and practice them again?  How is the Eucharist source of the Christian life?  And what does it mean that we engage to lift up our hearts not out of the world, but "to the Lord"?

BIO:  Gordon W. Lathrop is a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a retired professor of liturgy.  In recent years he has taught at the St. Thomas Aquinas University in Rome, the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA.  From 2006-2010 he was Visiting Professor of Liturgical Studies in Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music.  After teaching at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia from 1984 until 2004, he was named Professor of Liturgy Emeritus there.  He is author of several books, including Holy Ground: A Liturgical Cosmology (Fortress 2003), The Pastor: A Spirituality (Fortress 2006), and The Four Gospels on Sunday: The New Testament and the Reform of Christian Worship (Fortress 2012).  He was a participant in the preparation of Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006).  He is an Editorial Consultant of the journal Worship.  In 1985 he was the President of the North American Academy of Liturgy.  In 2006 he received that Academy's Berakah Award.  From August 2011 until August 2013 he was President of Societas Liturgica, the international society of scholars in liturgy.  In 2011 he received an honorary doctorate in theology from the University of Helsinki, Finland.  He lives now in Arlington, Virginia, in the greater Washington DC area.


Frederick Niedner

Title:  Does a Threatened Cosmos Need a Crucified Christ?

The specter of environmental disaster coupled with incessant warfare all over the planet brings out the inner prophet lurking in most preachers.  We cry out for justice and aim our righteous diatribes at the plundering economic machines and violent trouble-makers whose ruthlessness may leave our grandchildren or great-grandchildren a ruined, uninhabitable planet.  Who needs to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ the crucified when the real problem is ISIS-Monsanto-BP-Halliburton?  If we can't answer that, we might as well quit pretending to be the church.

BIO:  Dr. Frederick Niedner is Senior Research Professor (academic code for "allegedly retired") at Valparaiso University and Associate Director of the Institute of Liturgical Studies.  He writes for numerous publications that support the ministry of preaching, and his fortnightly columns on religion and culture appear in the Sun-Times' northwest Indiana edition.  He also leads Valparaiso University's Cambridge Seminar for New Faculty.


Gail Ramshaw

Title: How might Darwin pray?  Evolution and Praise

Some recent Eucharistic prayers and many hymns praise God for creating an idyllic Eden-like earth.  This workshop will consider how we might praise God for the evolving natural world that since its origins embraced both life and death.

BIO: 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 outside 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 at 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 several others.  Her prayers have been included in denominational worship resources published in the U.S., Canada, Sweden and New Zealand, and she has lectured on liturgical language in the U.S., Canada, and Scandinavian countries and the Far East.


Gordon Straw

Title:  Praying in Seven Directions: Place and Native Traditions

All Native American traditions are rooted in a place, including prayer and ritual.  The Sacred is not found in a location; it is the rootedness of life which builds communities in a place.  How does prayer and ritual function when place has priority over space or location?

BIO:  The Rev. Gordon J. Straw is an enrolled member of the Brothertown Indian Nation.  He was ordained into public ministry in 1986.  He currently serves as program director for Lay Schools for Ministry and interim director for American Indian and Alaska Native Ministries in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  He earned his MDiv. degree at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN and a Th.M. in systematic theology at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Chicago, IL.