Read on to learn more about events in the Institute schedule, including plenary, seminar, workshop descriptions as well as worship details.
When Kyrie Eclipses Gloria: Preaching in the Midst of Trauma
Presenter: Kimberly Wagner
In these pandemic-scarred days where we are experiencing unprecedented natural disasters, ongoing violence, and devastating loss and illness, our congregations are filled with people contending with trauma. What can preaching and worship offer in these times? How might we proclaim the Word in ways that are honest and faithful when pain seems to eclipse our capacity for hope? In our time together, we will explore the nature and impacts of trauma, particularly its capacity to disorient not only individuals, but whole communities. We will then consider what it might look like to offer trauma-responsive and trauma-aware preaching and liturgy that sits intentionally in the tension between Kyrie and Gloria while oriented toward communal resiliency and reimagination.
Kyrie and Gloria, on a Planet in Peril
Presenter: Teresa Berger
This presentation attends to two key features of worship today, on a planet in peril. The first, under the heading “Gloria,” considers worship as it first arose “when the morning stars began to sing” (Job 38), and seeks to re-root worship in principio, that is, in the beginning of God’s primordial creative activity—rather than, for example, in Israel, Jesus, the Church, the Spirit, or human ritual instincts. The second key feature of worship today, “Kyrie,” will reflect on the environmental emergency of our time, and the challenges this emergency presents for contemporary practices of worship.
Gathering Right? The Challenges of Liturgy and Community in Post-Pandemic and Digital Worlds
Within weeks of the pandemic nearly all congregations began offering online liturgies in some format. Now many churches, educational institutions, and businesses provide in-person and online options. What does it mean now to gather as a faith community in this hybrid reality? Can one experience sacred space digitally? How do assemblies that value embodied, sacramental, and multi-sensory liturgy maneuver through this new terrain? And what about questions of accessibility, participation, and membership? A panel representing diverse contexts and perspectives will consider these and other questions.
Crafting Icons of Resistance
Presenter: Mary Button
In this interactive art seminar, artist and iconographer Mary Button will lead participants in the creation of an icon for personal devotion. Creating icons is an important spiritual practice that offers people a creative outlet to lament and lift up people, places, and moments important to them. In recent years, Mary has created icons of contemporary martyrs like Heather Heyer, as well as icons of living saints like the healthcare workers on the frontlines of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Mary will provide materials and guidance so that every participant—regardless of drawing or painting skills—will leave seminar with their own icon.
Cultivating Resilience through Song
Presenter: Paul Vasile
This seminar explores congregational songs that speak to the multilayered experiences and feelings we’ve encountered through the pandemic. Inspired by the book of Psalms, we’ll sing our grief and loss, share signs of recovery and healing, and name the dreams and hopes we carry into the future. As we reflect on ways grief-tending, lament, and testimony support the spiritual and emotional well-being of our communities, we’ll also develop and practice skills that support trauma-informed leadership.
Kyrie as Gloria: Proclaiming Good News in Times of Trauma
Presenter: Gennifer Brooks
In the last two years, we have been forced to confront issues that have brought to startling light the issue of oppression, injustice, and inequality that plagues so many persons and groups nationally and globally. And yet, many of these selfsame persons and groups have found reasons to offer praise to God in the midst of their lament. The preacher’s proclamation of good news, that is ever-present and available regardless of the circumstances of life, offers to the people an opportunity to experience and celebrate the enlivening grace of God, despite the trauma infecting their lives.
Poetry’s Contributions to Congregational Lament and Praise
Presenter: Jeannette Lindholm
With a focus on hymns, together we’ll explore the nature of poetry as a genre and the ways in which poetry (1) creates multiple, dynamic possibilities for meaning during worship and (2) enriches worshippers’ experiences of lament and praise. Topics for consideration will include: the multivalent nature of poetry; the possibilities and perils of allusion, the use(s) of silence within poetry to create healing, inclusive, and welcoming opportunities for meaning-making and engagement during worship; and the critical need to consider poetry in relation to other texts and contexts (both within worship services themselves and beyond).
The Bible by Heart: Biblical Storytelling in the Liturgy and as a Spiritual Practice
Presenter: Jason Chesnut
Our sacred stories are meant to be told—out loud! Although inked text in beloved Bibles carried through decades of ministry reminds us of the power of God’s words, the permanence of print sometimes keeps us from remembering Holy Scripture’s oral roots. Recovering this ancient practice equips us to bear witness to the story of God and God’s people, not merely chapters and verses. This seminar will tackle the what and why of biblical storytelling—its history in ancient oral traditions—before diving headfirst into the how. During this seminar, each participant will themselves learn a biblical story to take in their hearts (and to their particular ministry context). Our Bibles are full of fascinating narratives just waiting to be lifted up off the page and placed down into the midst of God’s people. Participants in the seminar will also be invited to prepare and lead the Gospel for the Institute’s sending eucharist.
The Incarnate God Aflame: Extending the Eucharistic Feast into Social Unrest
Presenter: David Rojas Martínez
Located across the street from the former Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church found itself in the center of social unrest following the public murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. The congregation was called upon by the community to fling its doors wide open in the hours, days, weeks, and months following the Minneapolis Uprising. Grounded in God with Us, the congregation extended the Eucharistic Table beyond its building and into the lamenting world surrounding it. The community responded with joy to the reminder that all are welcomed at God’s table and that there is always enough.
A Vespers for This Time: Community Liturgy Creation During COVID-19
Join the presenters as they walk through their community writing, music, and art process, creating “Brightness and Shadows: A Vespers Service for the Season after Epiphany.” Written during the height of the pandemic in a series of online workshops, this evening prayer’s creation was an exercise in group theology, creativity, interpretation, and editing. This workshop will survey the logistical and creative process from articulating resonant themes in pandemic life and scripture, to completion, self publishing, and use for worship, as well as demonstrating specific pieces of the service and how they were created to be participatory and contextual.
Alternatim Praxis: The Liturgical Art of Taking Turns
Presenter: Melissa Plamann
Alternatim refers to the practice of taking turns in liturgical music. Most often, we associate this technique with the French Classic era, wherein the organ and choir alternated in presenting the Mass ordinary. This workshop will explore the rich history of liturgical turn-taking and what alternatim praxis might suggest for modern worship. We will examine various composers and traditions that encourage antiphony, as well as practical considerations for bringing the art of taking turns into our current worshipping communities.
Beyond Deep Gladness: Coming to Terms with Vocations We Don’t Choose
Presenter: Deanna Thompson
Many of us likely resonate with Frederick Beuchner’s view that “the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” But especially in this time of pandemic, confronting racial injustice, and climate change, it’s also important to make room for the deep sadness that fills our lives. In this workshop we will explore some of the pressure points of deep sadness for all of us as well as how the public practice of lament helps us name injustice, sadness, grief, and opens up pathways to come to terms with callings that take us places we’d rather not go.
Hymn Collaboration: “Love Leads Us through the Wind and Waves”
Presenters: Jeannette Lindholm and Robert Buckley Farlee
Jeannette (Jan) Lindholm and Robert Buckley Farlee will introduce and discuss this newly commissioned hymn (and new hymns in general) from their perspectives as poet and composer. Participants will also be invited to bring and ask their own questions. “Love Leads Us Through the Wind and Waves” is the ninth hymn commissioned by the Institute as part of the Christus Rex Hymn Commission Series, and will be sung twice during the 2022 Institute’s liturgies.
Kyrie, Gloria, and Gospel Proclamation in Lectionary Year C
Presenter: Frederick Niedner
Two years into the world’s most recent pandemic and its aftermath, our communities and congregations are still limping, somewhat bewildered, perhaps even scattered and broken. We can see ourselves in the lessons appointed for this season, where we find death snatching away faithful partners and betrayal coming from some we counted as friends. “Lord, have mercy” may seem our only prayer most days, but even in darkness and emptiness, cruciform gospel lifts our hearts, gathers us into choirs, however humble, and sends us on our way rejoicing.
Sighs Too Deep for Words: Liturgy in Response to Faith, Sexism, and Justice
Responding to Faith, Sexism, and Justice (ELCA Social Statement) and the challenges of holding together gender justice and Christian traditions, Pastors Tamika Jancewicz and Emilie Casey, with composer Anne Krentz Organ, present a eucharistic liturgy rooted in the breaths, sighs, groans, and shouts of God and creation. This project is a collaboration with congregations from the Minneapolis Area Synod, with funding provided by a Ministry Imagination Grant. May we pray and sing without knowing exactly what to say, for when we do not know how to pray, the Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.