Nominations are now being accepted for 2021!

The Brugh Emerging Leader Award

The Institute of Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University seeks to recognize young leaders who have made or are making significant contributions to the church in the areas of liturgy, congregational song, preaching, music, and/or writing for the whole church. This award has a twofold purpose:

Potential – Through this award, the Institute hopes to raise up and honor individuals early in their professional life with the hope of providing encouragement and support to them throughout their careers.
Recognition – Through this award, the Institute acknowledges significant gifts already made by these individuals for the good of the whole church.

Qualifications considered for this award are among the following:

  • Publications or writings
  • Involvement in the wider church
  • Leadership among peers
  • An ongoing commitment to education and growth
  • A rootedness in the liturgical tradition
  • Creativeness in expressing the liturgy and song of the church

Designed for someone in the first 10 to 15 years of their professional career, this award will be given on an annual basis at the Institute of Liturgical Studies Banquet. It is designed to celebrate gifts, sensibilities, and capabilities demonstrated through faithful leadership and outstanding contribution to the liturgical life of the church.

With this award will come a cash award of $500.00 to be used by the recipient for continuing education.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2021 award recipient. Please see the links below to make a nomination. The electronic form is encouraged as staff at Valparaiso University are currently working remotely. All nominations are due by January 31, 2021.

Click here for an electronic form {Google form link}

Click here for a printable form: Brugh Emerging Leader Nomination Form(Print)

If you have questions, please contact Brian Johnson, co-director of the Institute.



The 2020 recipient of the Brugh Emerging Leader award is Paul Damico-Carper.  Here is Paul receiving the award in October in Minnesota, delivered and presented the award to Paul by Co-Director Jennifer Baker-Trinity since the Institute of Liturgical Studies conference was cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Paul Damico-Carper is passionate about the church’s song. He uses guitar and other string instruments to help the assembly sing vibrantly in a wide range of styles, and has done so at national and regional gatherings of the church. His songs for assembly have been commissioned by the ELCA Division for Worship, and various synods and churches. Some of his work is published by Augsburg Fortress. His formation includes study at Valparaiso University (B.A. Music ’04) and The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (M.A. Theological Studies ’11) as well as life in community at Holden Village. He also performs as a guitarist, cellist, multi-instrumentalist and singer, and teaches private music lessons. When he’s not making music, he’s probably enjoying river walks and dinner parties with his family in Hastings, MN.


The 2019 recipient of the Brugh Emerging Leader award is Rev. Erik Christensen.  Here is Erik receiving the award during the Institute’s banquet on May 1, 2019 that took place on Valparaiso University’s campus with the Institute of Liturgical Studies Co-Director, Jennifer Baker-Trinity, who presented the award to Erik.

The Rev. Erik Christensen is Pastor to the Community and Director of Worship at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC), where his interests include the role of testimony in Christian worship and the interconnections between worship and faith-rooted community organizing. He served previously as the redevelopment pastor with St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square, as well as on the boards of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and The Beatitudes Society (now Justice Ministry Education at Auburn Seminary). He is a contributing writer to “Worship Matters: An Introduction to Worship” (Augsburg Fortress, 2012) and “In These or Similar Words: Crafting Language for Worship” (Augsburg Fortress, 2015), and has written for Sundays & Seasons and Currents in Theology and Mission. He lives in the Albany Park neighborhood of Chicago with his husband, Kerry, and their dog, Matilda.


The 2018 recipient of the Brugh Emerging Leader award is Liv Larson Andrews.  Liv Larson Andrews lives out her baptism in Spokane, Washington where she serves as the pastor of Salem Lutheran Church.  She is a graduate of Valparaiso University and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  Liv is a contributing author for Worship Guidebook for Lent and the Three Days, (Augsburg Fortress, 2009).  She is a frequent writer for Gather magazine, Living Lutheran magazine and Sundays and Seasons.  Her poem, “How to Baptize a Child in Flint, Michigan” was published in the literary journal Rock & Sling (2016).


The 2017 recipient of the Brugh Emerging Leader award was Ike Sturm.  Ike was raised in a musical family in Appleton, WI.  Ike Sturm is a bassist, composer, and bandleader.  He is the music director for the Jass Ministry at Saint Peter’s Church in Manhattan.  Sturm has performed with Alarm Will Sound, the International Contemporary Ensemble, Gene Bertoncini, Ingrid Jensen, Donny McCaslin, Bobby McFerrin, Ben Monder, Maria Schneider, and Kenny Wheeler.  His large-scale album, “Jazz Mass,” received a four and one-half-star rating from Downbeat magazine, named among the Best CD’s of 2010.  Sturm has written extensively for jazz vespers, and his liturgical works have been published by Augsburg Fortress.  His 2015 “Shelter of Trees” recording with the nine-person house band from Saint Peter’s, Evergree, was described in Downbeat as “undeniably beautiful.”  He has toured the United States, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.  Sturm recently formed an acoustic guitar and bass duo called Endless Field, planning their first release in June 2017 on Biophilia Records.  (

The 2016 recipient of the Emgering Leader award was Jennifer Baker-Trinity.  Jennifer, a Deacon in the ELCA, enjoys working at the intersections of theology, liturgy and music. She completed her studies at Valparaiso University (B.M. Church Music) and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (MAR, STM). From 2006-20012, she served on the Advisory Council for the Institute of Liturgical Studies. Jennifer has contributed to Sundays and Seasons, In These And Similar Words, Worship Matters, Soli Deo Gloria: Choir Devotions for Year B, and Free Indeed: Devotions for Lent 2017. Beginning in August 2017, Jennifer will begin a new position as Program Director for Resource Development, a shared position between the ELCA Worship Office and 1517 Media with Augsburg Fortress.