Workshops 2016

Phillip Brandt

Title:  He went out and spoke freely: Authority, proclamation, and worship in the presecuted community of Mark's original audience.

Addressed to a fearful, persecuted community, the Gospel according to Mark begins with an exploration of authority and the imperative to speak the praises of God.  Mark seems assert that the community, even in the face of great pressure from authority to be silent, simply must open its mouth and speak the message of Christ and His present Kingdom.

Professor Phillip Brandt, PhD currently serves the students of Concordia University, Portland, OR, where he is a member of the faculty of the Division of Theology.  A 1991 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, he holds degrees in Classics from Washington University (St. Louis) and the University of Kent (Cambridge, UK).  Upon graduation from the seminary he served parishes in Utah and Oregon before joining the faculty of Concordia in 2005.  He is married to Stephanie Nordling Brandt and together they are parents of three children.

Erik Christensen

Title:  Here I am Lord - Eli and Samuel in the Temple

Worshiping with young adults opens up rich opportunities for congregations to practice the art of accompaniment as they deepen their capacity to listen for God's voice calling each baptized person to lives of meaning and ministry.  Walking alongside young adults as they navigate their uncertain futures strengthens congregations as they walk similar paths.  This workshop will explore worship practices which, when paired with intentional congregational ministry, shape assemblies ready to testify to God's movement throughout the world.

Erik Christensen is the pastor of St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square ( / @stlukesLS), a redevelopment congregation of the ELCA on the northside of Chicago that has recently moved from their historic home of 115 years into a storefront location in a neighborhood undergoing rapid gentrification.  In the past decade St. Luke's has gone from being a small congregation with a handful of regularly attending elderly members to a growing community with diverse membership, including many, many young adults.  

Keith Hampton

Title:  Doing A New Thing in Worship

Worship is the response of men and women to the powerful acts of God.  This workshop will present specific ideas and ways to worship God in a truly blended manner using traditional liturgies and exploring ways to adapt the liturgy so that worship flows smoothly.  The use of traditional church music merged with Contemporary and Ethnic music will be demonstrated.  The use of dance and drama will be explored. 

Keith Hampton, affectionately know as 'Doc", is an organ performer, conductor, composer, educator, church musician, adjudicator, and workshop clinician.  He is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago Community Chorus (CCC) and the president of Dr. KT Productions, Inc., Chicago, Illinois.  Classically trained as an organist and conductor, he continues to serve various church congregations as Music Director, organist and choir director.  Additionally, he is certified in the state of Illinois in K-12 general music with endorsements in vocal and instrumental studies.  As a certified teacher, Dr. Hampton continues to serve in the education of students in the Chicagoland area.  Keith Hampton is actively performing organ recitals throughout Chicago, Connecticut, California and Florida.

A specialist in the field of Gospel Music, the North Central American Choral Directors Association in 2010 selected Dr. Keith Hampton as one of the top 25 Contemporary Composers "whose composition, Praise His Holy Name, should be standard repertoire for choirs today and for the next 25 years."  Praise His Holy Name continues to be a top seller with earthsongs music publications in Corvallis, Oregon.

Keith Hampton earned a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Westminster Choir College, a Master of Arts Degree from Marywood University, and a Doctor of Music Degree in Church Music from Northwestern University.  Dr. Hampton has been awarded the Service Playing, Choir Master, and Associate certificates from the American Guild of Organists.
Additional information about Keith Hampton's musical activities can be viewed at:


Frederick Niedner

Title:  Preaching Series C Pentecost Gospels

This workshop will juxtapose our current Institute theme with the early Series C Pentecost season gospel lessons in Luke, Lectionary 8 - 18.  As we prepare to preach and shape worship services in that season, we will look for ways that Luke's call to daily cross-bearing and storing up treasures in heaven serve as resources for shaping our vocation to care for the whole cosmos and all the creatures with whom we share this planet.

Dr. Frederick Niedner is Senior Research Professor at Valparaiso University and Associate Director of the Institute of Liturgical Studies.  He writes for the Christian Century and numerous publications that support the ministry of preaching, and his fortnightly columns on religion and culture appear in the Chicago Tribune's northwest Indiana edition (Post-Tribune).  He also leads Valparaiso University's Cambridge Seminar for New Faculty.


Michael Rinehart

Title:  Learning to Pray Again

Deepen your prayer life, and that of your congregation.  Invite your people to be active participants in the prayers of the people.  Drawing upon oratio, lectio, meditatio, contemplatio, and other ancient and modern forms of prayer, we will discuss both personal and corporate prayer as creating space for a divine encounter.

Michael Rinehart is in his ninth year as Bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in Houston and New Orleans.  After studying music (organ performance) at Valparaiso University, he received his Master of Divinity at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio.  He lives in Montgomery, Texas with his wife and children.  Michael attended his first ILS in 1980.


Mark Schwehn


Dorothy Bass

Title: Reflecting on Vocation in Your Congregation

How might leaders help lay Christians engage in theological conversations about vocation? In a time of rapid change in the workplace and in the shape of vocation across the life course, congregations are poised to be rich settings for discerning vocation and pondering what vocation may mean for individuals and communities. Some congregations are already engaged in educational initiatives that foreground these issues, and excellent resources are being published in print and online. What might serious and sustained reflection on vocation offer to members of your congregation, and to the congregation as a whole?

Mark Schwehn is Professor of Humanities in Christ College, Valparaiso University, and Founding Director of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts.

Dorothy Bass is Director Emerita of the Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith.

Together they edited Leading Lives That Matter: What We Should Do and Who We Should Be


Kevin Strickand


Gordon Straw

Title:  Vocation and Baptism
Leaders: Rev. Kevin Strickland & Rev. Gordon Straw

In this workshop, we will focus on the Christian's vocation from the perspective of baptism.  Using Scriptural, theological, liturgical, and historical lenses, we hope to explore current ramifications of the "universal priesthood": that by virtue of your baptism "you are a priest, bishop, and Pope."  Ministry in the 21st Century is beckoning us to re-engage with this Lutheran conviction.  One's call to ministry resides in one's baptism, first of all.


Title: Ministry of the Baptized: Worship and Music Edition
Leader: Rev. Gordon Straw

What does "universal priesthood" look like for the ministries of the church involved in liturgy, worship leadership, music, and their related ventures?  Is there such a thing as a "Lay Cantor?"  How do theological education, training and other programs support these ministries for all?  Are there things not being done that should be done?  Are there things that are, but shouldn't be done?  This workshop is an opportunity to deliberate on such matters.

The Rev. Gordon Straw is an enrolled member of the Brothertown Indian Nation.  He was born in St. Paul, MN and currently lives in Chicago, IL.  He received his M.Div. degree from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN and received a M.Th. degree in systematic theology from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  He currently serves a call as the program director for Lay Schools for Ministry in the Congregational and Synodical Mission Unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  The ELCA Lay Schools Network works with programs of theological education and skills training for the ministry of all the baptized in the ELCA.  Gordon also is a liaison with First Call Theological Education in the ELCA and with Interim Ministry Association- ELCA.

Pastor Strickland was born and raised in Lexington, SC and is an honors graduate of Newberry College (Newberry, SC) with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Philosophy with a minor in History.  He also obtained a Masters of Divinity from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (Columbia, SC).  Pastor Strickland served at a couple of parishes in both cities of Newberry and Columbia, SC.  Pastor Strickland has served as chair of the Southeastern Synod, ELCA Worship Team, President of the Board for Lutheran Services in Tennessee, member of the Southeastern Synod, ELCA Immigration and Refugee Task Force, and the Southeastern Synod, ELCA Synod Council.

Pastor Strickland has served on various local non-profit boards and has a heart for justice and advocacy ministry.  Presently, Pastor Strickland serves on the Consultation for Common Text, Resource Management Team with Augsburg Fortress, the North American Academy of the Catechumenate Planning Team, and other Churchwide Committees.

Pastor Strickland is humbled and honored to have been called into the position of Assistant to the Presiding Bishop, Executive for Worship of the ELCA.  He states, "It is a true joy for me to accept the call to this position and to work with brothers and sisters around the ELCA; in what is central ot our mission: worship.  Worship is at the heart of our mission as Christ church and provides an opportunity for us to be made whole and encounter the holy.  Worship equips us to be disciples in this world, striving for justice, and in doing so, we return often to the heart of our mission to be re-charged and fed."

David Susan

Title: The Vocation of Retired Church Professionals

As Christians we are called by our risen Lord to words and acts of mercy - that is, to life-long faith and love.  Because "the ground is level at the foot of the cross," is the vocation of retired church professionals any different from that of other retired Christians?  Results of a survey on how retired church professionals view their vocation will also be shared.

David J. Susan retired in 2005 after serving God's people in chancels, west galleries and classrooms of Christ's church for 33 years.  An organ student of Ralph Schultz in college, he later also studied composition with Jan Bender.  He received in M.Div. from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, with further musical and theological studies as a Fulbright scholar in Berlin.

Ordained in 1972, he was pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church Courtland Twp., MN until being called as a missionary with the Lutheran Church in Korea (LCK) in 1976.  After earning a Korean language diploma from Yonsei University, Seoul, he served for eight years with LCK pastors and congregations in their liturgical and hymnic development, taught at Luther Seminary, Seoul, and assisted with the Korea Luther's Works project.

As senior pastor of Immanuel, Madison, WI for 21 years, David was additionally a frequent eavesdropper on what pastor and musicians say privately about each other, enabling him also to serve as a workshop presenter on clergy-musicians partnerships.  He has articles and music published in both English and Korean, is a former office-holder in the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and a member of the Hymn Society of the United States and Canada.  A bass since choir days at Concordia College, NY, he continues to sing in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Choral Union.

David's wife Shirley is a retired reading teacher;  they have beenmarried for 47 years and have three children and two grandchildren.