ILS 2024 Workshops

Workshop Sessions


April 10 Wednesday Workshop Session I 10:45 AM

1.A: Benjamin Dueholm – Plenary Follow-up
1.B: Timothy Brown – “What is Caesar’s?: Retaking Stewardship and Empire Language”
1.C: Carol Frenning – “Creating Worthy Spaces for Faith Communities: The Role of the Liturgical Design Consultant”
1.D: Frederick Niedner – Preaching Workshop: “Which Jesus Do You Want?”
1.E: Peter Reske – “Inventing a Genre: Five Hundred Years of Lutheran Hymnody”
1.F: James Abbington – “Common Sources and Differing Expressions”
1.G: Bryan Cones –  “What Are You Doing With Your Hands? The Presider as Model for the Assembly”

April 10, Wednesday Workshop Session II 3:45 PM

2.A: Sarah Kathleen Johnson – Plenary Follow-up
2.B: Timothy Brown – “What is Caesar’s?: Retaking Stewardship and Empire Language”
2.C: Carol Frenning – “Creating Worthy Spaces for Faith Communities: The Role of the Liturgical Design Consultant”
2.D: Daniel Kantor – “Working with a Marketing Firm”
2.E: Paul Westermeyer – “Commodification of Church Music/Musicians”
2.F: Sally Messner – “Chanting the Liturgy”
2.G: Hannah Johnsrud –  “Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival: Music. Community. Faith.”

April 11, Thursday Workshop Session III 11:15 AM

3.A: Mark Roosien – Plenary Follow-up
3.B: Jonathan Bull – “Introducing The Lutheran Digital Portal: Trying to build the first Pan-American Lutheran digital archive”
3.C: Karoline Lewis – “Preaching the Gospel of John As Liturgical Resistance”
3.D: Paul Westermeyer – “Commodification of Church Music/Musicians”
3.E: James Abbington – “Common Sources and Differing Expressions”
3.F: Susan Briehl – “On Our Way: The purpose and practice of processing”

April 11, Thursday Workshop Session IV 2:45 PM

4.A: Sarah Kathleen Johnson – “Contemporary Worship Music as an Ecumenical Liturgical Movement”
4.B: Karoline Lewis – “Preaching the Gospel of John As Liturgical Resistance”
4.C: Peter Reske – “Inventing a Genre: Five Hundred Years of Lutheran Hymnody”

Tim Brown

Timothy J. Brown ’03, ’05, M.Ed. What is Caesar’s?: Retaking Stewardship and Empire Language Wednesday, April 10, 10:45 a.m. Location: Harre Union, Alumni Room Wednesday, April 10, 3:45 p.m. Location: Harre Union, Brown and Gold Room

Being more than just simple semantics, how we talk about the practical economic tools of ministry matters. “Donor,” “building,” and even “abundance” can easily slide the church into participating in an economy of meritocracy, transaction, and consumerism-gone-sour. With practical ideas and theological depth, we’ll think through how can we carefully approach the language we use when it comes to our participation in the Realm of God, particularly when it comes to our gifts of economic value.

Speaker Bio:
Rev. Timothy Brown is a pastor in the ELCA serving parishes in Chicago, IL and Raleigh, NC. He currently serves in the Office of the Presiding Bishop as Director for Congregational Stewardship Support where he creates and curates relationships and resources to help Synods and Congregations fuel their ministries. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife and two sons, and you can usually find him at a coffee shop or brewery reading or writing something he thinks is interesting.

Carol Frenning Creating Worthy Spaces for Faith Communities: The Role of the Liturgical Design Consultant Wednesday, April 10, 10:45 a.m. Location: Harre Union, Heritage Room Wednesday, April 10, 3:45 p.m. Location: Harre Union, Heritage Room

This session explores how liturgical design consultants work with faith communities as they build or renovate their churches. Those who are cross-trained in liturgy, art, and architecture bring a perspective that can help to enrich and deepen the experience of this formative space. The spaces they help create will work for the worship rituals of the community. Liturgical design consultants have ways of encouraging the involvement of the entire community that assures a greater degree of unity in accepting changes made to the worship space. We will explore some of these as well as how they can help save money and unnecessary time and effort in your project.  

Speaker Bio:
Carol Frenning serves as program director of the graduate certification program in liturgical art and architecture at St. John’s University School of Theology. She is a liturgical design consultant who works with congregations throughout the world as they build or renovate their worship spaces. She has worked on a wide variety of sacred spaces from large cathedrals to small private chapels. Trained as an art historian, her academic work is in American religious architecture. She taught sacred architecture at the University of Saint Thomas and lectures at the University of Minnesota College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. A graduate of the first class of the Institute for Liturgical Consultants at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Carol serves as a founder and president for the professional organization, the Association of Consultants for Liturgical Space. She served as chair of the national advisory board for IFRAA-AIA and on the board of Faith and Form. She was on the national planning board for the Form/Reform conferences. She served as the convener for the Visual Arts and the Liturgy Seminar of the North American Academy of Liturgy, past chair of the Society of Architectural Historians Minnesota, and past chair of the Art and Environment Committee for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. 

Fred Niedner

Frederick Niedner, Ph.D. Which Jesus Do You Want? Wednesday, April 10, 10:45 a.m. Location: Harre Union, Brown and Gold Room

Pilate offered two Jesus options to the crowds on that long-ago Friday. Today, at the prompting of market forces as well as human nature, we now offer a host of Jesus choices, among them the New and Improved Moses, Culture Warrior, Party Whip, Guru, Recovery Coach, Financial Guarantor, Wonder Worker, Cosmic Bellhop, and Best Buddy Ever. Which will grow the church and advance our brand? In consultation with Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, we’ll take each of these on a trip to Jerusalem and see what comes of them.

Speaker Bio:
Rev. Frederick Niedner is a Senior Research Professor in Theology at Valparaiso University. Prior to retirement, he taught primarily biblical studies in Valpo’s Department of Theology. He has also preached regularly in Valpo’s Chapel and in regional parishes. He writes for several publications that serve the ministry of preaching.

Peter Reske

Peter C. Reske Inventing a Genre: Five Hundred Years of Lutheran Hymnody Wednesday, April 10, 10:45 a.m. Location: Helge Center, Room 122 Thursday, April 11, 2:45 p.m. Location: Helge Center, Room 122

The dawn of modern hymnody began in 1524 at the intersection of congregational singing, theology, and commercial printing. What role did singers, hymn writers, and publishers play in the invention of the Lutheran hymn? And how did these hymns and hymnals blaze the path and establish the pattern for all subsequent hymnody? Explore some of the most important and influential Lutheran hymnals of the last five hundred years, with a special examination of the content and publication history of the seminal books of 1524: the Achtliederbuch, the two Erfurt Enchiridions, and Johann Walter’s Geystliche gesangk Buchleyn.

Speaker Bio:
Peter C. Reske is senior editor of music/worship at Concordia Publishing House, where he has served since 2004. He holds degrees in English literature from Marquette University and in musicology from The Pennsylvania State University. In addition to his ongoing role overseeing music publications for CPH, he was the editor of Lutheran Service Book (2006) and its attendant resources, editor of The Hymns of Martin Luther (2016), and editorial advisor for One and All Rejoice (2020). With Joseph Herl and Jon D. Vieker, he was co-editor of the Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns (2019).

James Abbington, DMA Common Sources and Differing Expressions Wednesday, April 10, 10:45 a.m. Location: Center for the Arts, Bauer Hall Thursday, April 11, 11:15 a.m. Location: Helge Center, Room 122

“I think we are always looking for things that are different about us. But the purpose of this workshop is to see how, in many cases, we are really very much alike.” 

In this workshop, Abbington will show us the ways in which American hymnody has been mutually and creatively informative across the so-called cultural divide of “Black Church” and “White Church.” Much of the music that has come to be thought of as core to the Black Church experience was created through the adoption, adaptation, and assimilation of the work of Western European and white American hymn writers. Attention to these common threads will help us recognize and appreciate our commonality and the unique creative contribution achieved as African American hymn writers brought these sources in line with the needs of their own communities. 

Speaker Bio:
Abbington received his musical education at Morehouse College and the University of Michigan. He is currently an associate professor of church music and worship at Candler School of Theology, Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and adjunct professor of church music at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He has been executive editor of the African American Church Music Series published by GIA Publications, the largest publisher of African American sacred music and worship resources in the United States, in Chicago for over 20 years. Abbington is a member of the historic Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta where he is the director of music ministries and church organist. Abbington was Chair of the Core Committee for the historic “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism: An African American Ecumenical Hymnal.” In 2015, Abbington was honored by The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada (HSUSC) by being named a Fellow of The Hymn Society.

Bryan Cones

Bryan Cones, Ph.D. What are You Doing with Your Hands? The Presider as Model for the Assembly Wednesday, April 10, 10:45 a.m. Location: Chapel of the Resurrection, Gloria Christi Chapel

Most presiders take for granted that their ministry is to lead the assembly’s prayer in a corporate work as a member of the assembly themselves. Yet some actions by presiders may separate them from the rest of the assembly, as if the presider is doing something fundamentally different than the rest of the baptized. This workshop will trouble some common patterns of presiding, especially during the Great Thanksgiving, and seek alternatives that emphasize that it is the whole assembly taking up the liturgical work of praise and thanksgiving.

Speaker Bio:
Rev. Bryan Cones is a presbyter in the Episcopal Church, Diocese of Chicago, and pastor at Trinity Episcopal Church in Highland Park, Illinois. He holds a PhD in liturgical and practical theology from the University of Divinity in Melbourne, Australia, and is the author of This Assembly of Believers: The Gifts of Difference in the Church at Prayer (SCM Press, 2020).

Daniel J. Kantor Working with a Marketing Firm Wednesday, April 10, 3:45 p.m. Location: Harre Union, Alumni Room

Kantor will share some of the things he wished his clients knew about brands and branding before meeting with designers, insights meant to make creative engagements more productive, efficient and meaningful.

Speaker Bio:
Daniel Kantor is the founder, principal, and creative director of Kantor Group, an award-winning strategic brand communications consultancy serving a broad range of national corporate clients, including GIA Publications and Augsburg Fortress. Kantor Group was the principal design consultant for the Evangelical Lutheran Worship pew edition, the core resource used by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the principal designer for GIA’s most recent hymnal, “Gather III.” Kantor is also a published liturgical music composer whose works include the best-selling Christmas classic “Night of Silence,” widely used worldwide. Kantor also currently serves on the board of Vocal Essence, a Minneapolis-based choral arts organization.

Kantor’s corporate clients have included Apple, 3M, Target, and a number of healthcare technology companies such as Medtronic, BlueCross Blue Shield, Wright Medical, and MetLife.

Kantor is also a crossword puzzle constructor with over a dozen puzzles published in the New York Times. He lives with his wife, Sara, and two cats in Bloomington, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis.

Paul Westermeyer

Paul Westermeyer, Ph.D. Commodification of Church Music/Musicians Wednesday, April 10, 3:45 p.m. Location: Christopher Center Library, Room 205 Thursday, April 11, 11:15 a.m. Location: Christopher Center Library, Room 205

A discussion of how the church’s liturgy and music are about the grace of God and counter the consumer culture of commodities that are to be bought and sold for profit. Around Word and Table, and at Daily Prayer, the church sings a song of praise, prayer, blessing, and thanksgiving that leads to our vocations in the world for the glory of God and the good of the neighbor.

Speaker Bio:
Rev. Paul Westermeyer is Professor Emeritus of Church Music at Luther Seminary where he also was Cantor and Director of the Master of Sacred Music program with St. Olaf College. He taught at Elmhurst College, Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music, Brite Divinity School, and Union Seminary in North Carolina. His life’s work has been the vocation of the church musician with books that include The Church Musician, Hymnal Companions to Evangelical Lutheran Worship and All Creation Sings, Let Justice Sing, and Te Deum: The Church and Music.

Sally Messner

Sally Messner ’02, MSM Continuing the Liturgy Wednesday, April 10, 3:45 p.m. Location: Center for the Arts, Duesenberg Recital Hall

Build confidence in your vocal leadership by learning or refreshing techniques that will enhance your chanting, including efficient use of breath, vocal projection, and pacing. We will practice together various parts of the Christian liturgy, from the daily offices to the mass, in a safe and welcoming space. Something like a masterclass, you may choose to practice solo, but it will not be required. Come and sing with us!

Speaker Bio:
ILS director of music 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.

Hannah Johnsrud

Hannah Johnsrud Lutheran Summer Music Wednesday, April 10, 3:45 p.m. Location: Harre Union, Suite 200

Lutheran Summer Music (LSM) is a faith-based residential music academy and festival for high school students from across the country. Our students engage with college-level music education while living together on a Lutheran college campus and participating in and leading daily worship. Together, the staff, faculty, and students of LSM create life-changing experiences and relationships on the pillars of music, community, and faith. Come learn more about this transformational ministry – and how LSM’s worship life is an integral part of this community!

Speaker Bio:
Hannah Johnsrud (she/her) served as the sacristan at the 2023 Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival, working as part of the worship team to create and lead daily services of morning and evening prayer and weekly services of holy communion for the summer community. LSM holds a special place in Hannah’s heart, as she herself attended LSM during her high school summers (’10–’13). Hannah is currently in her final academic year in the master of divinity program at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, where she serves on Chapel staff.

Jonathan Bull ’06 Introducing The Lutheran Digital Portal: Trying to build the first Pan-American Lutheran digital archive Thursday, April 11, 11:15 a.m. Location: Harre Union, Heritage Room

Lutheran ephemera are scattered everywhere — universities, seminaries, synod/conference offices, parishioners’ closets, pastors’ studies, and church basements. These ephemera include numerous informal and formal Lutheran publications, including newsletters, publications, and church histories. Yet little has been done to archive these artifacts for future research.

As part of an independent Lutheran institution, the Christopher Center at Valpo has started to build an archive for this. The Lutheran Digital Portal seeks to collect as much of American Lutheran history as it can get and preserve it for future generations. This workshop will demonstrate the pilot version of this archive and will seek initial feedback from conference attendees. The archive is being developed in conjunction with the university’s upcoming 100th-anniversary celebration of Valpo becoming a Lutheran institution.

Speaker Bio:
Jonathan Bull is an associate professor of library science at Valparaiso University. Until recently, he was the theology librarian at the Christopher Center Library. Beginning in 2024, he shifted to being the new health sciences librarian. Since 2021, he has also supervised the Christopher Center’s archives and special collections as well as the university’s institutional repository, ValpoScholar. Jon is a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, Indiana, a lifelong Lutheran, and a pastor’s kid.

Karoline Lewis

Karoline M. Lewis, Ph.D. Preaching the Gospel of John as Liturgical Resistance Thursday, April 11, 11:15 a.m. Location: Harre Union, Brown and Gold Room Thursday, April 11, 2:45 p.m. Location: Harre Union, Brown and Gold Room

The Fourth Gospel suggests a countercultural homiletic with its chronological rearrangements and its theological convictions. This workshop will provide foundational tenets for preaching the Gospel of John by exploring its challenges to liturgical conventions and sacramental assumptions. Participants will not only have a better understanding of preaching John in the Revised Common Lectionary but also leave with a sense of how the Fourth Gospel can be a guide for hearing the Gospel’s promise in a consumer culture world.

Speaker Bio:
Rev. Karoline Lewis is the Marbury E. Anderson Chair in biblical preaching at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., where she has taught since 2007. She is the program director for the Festival of Homiletics, a contributing writer for Working Preacher, and co-host of the site’s weekly podcast, Sermon Brainwave. Lewis leads conferences, retreats, and workshops internationally, and has authored a number of books and articles on the Gospel of John, biblical interpretation, preaching, leadership, and women in ministry. You can connect with Karoline on Facebook, Instagram, and

Susan Briehl

Susan Briehl, M.Div. On Our Way: The Purpose and Practice of Processing Thursday, April 11, 11:15 a.m. Location: Chapel of the Resurrection, Gloria Christi Chapel

From the font to the grave, in our coming in and our going out, whether weeping, bearing the seeds for sowing, or singing, lifting high the harvest, we are a people on the move following Christ Jesus. Together let us explore the why, when, where and how of liturgical processions, deepening and widening our understanding and use of this embodied prayer.

Speaker Bio:
Rev. Susan Briehl, a Lutheran (ELCA) pastor, has served in a parish, on a campus, at a retreat center and a seminary. Her writing includes Turn My Heart (GIA) and Holden Prayer Around the Cross (Augsburg), and chapters in Way to Live and On Our Way (Upper Room), books written while she worked with the Valparaiso Project on faith formation. She composes liturgical and hymn texts for the sake of the Church’s prayer, including “Holy God, Holy and Glorious,” “Lift up Your Heads,” and “To God We Give our Melodies.”

Sarah Kathleen Johnson

Sarah Kathleen Johnson, Ph.D. Contemporary Worship Music as an Ecumenical Liturgical Movement Thursday, April 11, 2:45 p.m. Location: Helge Center, Multipurpose Room

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Christians from across traditions — Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Mainline Protestant, Anglican, Evangelical, and more — came together in an act of musical solidarity: creating ecumenical virtual choir recordings of “The Blessing,” a contemporary worship song. Whether you are a contemporary worship music (CWM) enthusiast, a skeptic, or somewhere in between, this workshop situates CWM in an expansive liturgical and ecumenical context. Rather than approaching CWM as a specific musical style, it invites reflection on CWM as an expression of worship that has been embraced and developed within a broad range of Christian traditions in ways that are integrally connected to the nature, meaning, and purpose of worship.

Speaker Bio:
Sarah Kathleen Johnson is an assistant professor of liturgy and pastoral theology at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, Canada. She is a practical theologian who studies Christian worship in a changing North American religious landscape. Her research at the intersection of liturgical studies and the sociology of religion employs qualitative methods that value everyday religious experience. Commitments to interrogating the relationship between liturgy and ethics and engaging ecumenically across Christian traditions ground her research, teaching, and church leadership. Johnson is ordained for ministry in Mennonite Church Canada. She currently serves as the president of the Canadian Theological Society.

In addition to these workshops, there will also be plenary follow-up workshops for each of the plenary speakers. You can find those on the schedule above.

Click here to register for ILS 2024.