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Executive Director

Rev. James Wetzstein james.wetzstein@valpo.edu 219.464.6794 University Pastor, Valparaiso University

Rev. James “Jim” Wetzstein comes to the Institute of Liturgical Studies following two decades of service at Valparaiso University in the role of University Pastor, a position he continues to hold.

Jim is a Ph.D. candidate in Liturgical Studies at Notre Dame. His research involves the work of the 20th-century Lutheran liturgical sculptor, Ernst Schwidder, and questions regarding the role of art and design in communication and spiritual formation. 

He studied at the Institute for Liturgical Design Consultants at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and has since consulted with dozens of congregations, helping them identify the core values and programming needs that will drive renovations to their liturgical spaces. His work with Immanuel Lutheran Church in Valparaiso on their immersion font earned the 2008 Art and Architecture Award sponsored by the Lutheran Church Extension Fund. More recently, Jim was the liturgical design consultant for the chapel at the International Lutheran Center in Wittenberg, Germany.

His published work has focused on the vocation of the artist to provide places of beauty in support of Christian formation.

On the lighter side, Jim is the author of the long-running self-published lectionary comic strip, Agnus Day.

Director of Music

Sally Messner sally.messner@valpo.edu 612.655.1445

Sally Messner is director of worship and music at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis, where she plans and leads worship, conducts adult and children’s choirs, and manages the music series. She is also founding musical director of the Elm Ensemble, a liturgical project that brings together professional and amateur musicians with great sacred music and creative worship planning to help keep the church in dialogue with diverse voices from Christian history. Sally earned a Bachelor of Music in voice performance from Valparaiso University and a Master of Sacred Music from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. She has taught workshops and written articles for the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians and is a contributor to 1517 Media’s Sundays and Seasons.

Advisory Council

In addition to the executive director and administrator, the Institute’s leadership consists of an advisory council comprised of pastors, musicians, scholars, composers, and more who, along with the Institute’s Director of Music, serve across the country in institutions and parishes affiliated with both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). Current advisory council members include:

Liv Larson Andrews

Rev. Liv Larson Andrews Pastor, Salem Lutheran Church
Spokane, WA


Rev. Dr. Joshua Hollmann Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Concordia University
St. Paul, MN

Craig Mueller

Rev. Dr. Craig Mueller Lead Pastor, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Adjunct faculty, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Chicago, IL


Omaldo Perez Director of Music and Worship, Grace Lutheran Church
La Grange, IL


Dr. Rhoda Schuler Professor Emerita, Concordia University
St. Paul, MN

Emily Smith Assistant Head Sacristan,
Trinity Church Wall Street
New York, NY

Annemarie Hartner Cook

Rev. Annemarie Hartner Cook Interim Pastor,
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
Marlton, NJ

Jim Marriott

Rev. Dr. James “Jim” Marriott Assistant Professor of Theology and Music, Chair of the Theology Department, Director of Choral Activities
Concordia University Texas
Austin, TX

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