The liturgical conspiracy

To conspire means “to breathe together”: liturgy, the work of the people, is a conspiratorial act! In this workshop, we’ll explore how liturgy invites us to breathe together, as well as how different liturgical elements—call to worship, thanksgiving for baptism, and blessings—can be written and adapted for different contexts and seasons. There will be a guided process and interactive time given for working on your own original or adapted liturgical text.

The Rev. Anne Edison-Albright is College Pastor at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and is a graduate of Michigan State University and Yale Divinity School. She has contributed to Sundays and Seasons, Sundays and Seasons: Preaching, Whirl, Here We Stand, and Augsburg Fortress Advent and Lenten resources. She’s the curator of Blessed is the Lectionary: Texts and Seasons for the Academic Year ( a Calvin Institute on Worship grant-funded project to offer seasonal supplements to worshipping communities using the Revised Common Lectionary at academic settings.



Luther on Tuning Assembly Music

Recent studies on Luther and music prompt a re-evaluation of well-known shibboleths concerning the Reformer’s theories and invite “tuning” of the foundations behind assembly music. Drawing on these recent perspectives while setting them alongside studies regarding the meaning of music in general this session will consider matters such as, among others, music as creature, “swinging” the Word and how to find pleasure in music—seeking, meanwhile, to identify implications for assembly music.

Mark Bangert is John H. Tietjen Professor of Worship and Church Music emeritus at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  Bangert served on drafting committees for the Lutheran Book of Worship, led the group that produced Occasional Services (1982) and is currently writing about new perspectives on Luther and music. In addition to promoting ethnic church music, he has authored studies presented to international societies for theological Bach research and with the St. Luke Bach choir and orchestra has presented more than 120 of Bach’s sacred cantatas, his Passions, the Christmas Oratorio, and the Mass in B-Minor.  He holds degrees from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and the University of Minnesota.



Mary Louis Bringle                                         and                         Sally Ann Morris

Which Comes First, the Text or the Tune?

Two decades of collaboration (and counting!) have resulted in multiple solutions to the song writer’s chicken-egg dilemma – including the approach to creating this year’s hymn commission.  Come and hear more about this collaborative creative process.

Mary Louise (Mel) Bringle is a Professor of Philosophy and Religion and coordinator of interdisciplinary studies at Brevard College in Brevard, NC. Her Ph.D. in practical and pastoral theology is from Emory University. An award-winning hymn writer whose original texts and translations appear in the hymnals of numerous denominations in North America and Scotland, she has served as President of The Hymn Society in the US and Canada and as chair of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song, responsible for creating the hymnal Glory to God. She is a ruling elder at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Hendersonville, NC.

Sally Ann Morris lives and works in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 1990, she discovered the joy of composing hymn tunes, and has now written more than 150 which are published in three collections from GIA Publications, Giving Thanks in Song and Prayer (1998), …to sing the Artist’s praise…(2009), and Spread the Good News, (2016). Her tunes appear in Glory to God, Community of Christ Sings, Gather Comprehensive II and III, Worship IV, the New Century Hymnal, The Hymnal 21 in Japan, Church Hymnary 4 of the Church of Scotland and in other current and forthcoming denominational hymnals, collections, and supplements. More about her life and work may be found in The Canterbury Dictionary of American Hymnology.

Sally serves as Musician in Residence at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity where she leads, enlivens, encourages, demonstrates and teaches the diverse wealth of congregational song for twice weekly chapel services.



Coming Together Beyond Worship:  Music Making and Community Engagement

Social scientist Brene Brown says we’re in a spiritual crisis today because of the fears we have in not fitting in, physically and ideologically, which feeds a loneliness that breeds more isolation.  To right this crisis, one point she offers is Emile Durkheim’s idea of “collective effervescence.” We worship leaders foster this sacred experience of connection and communal emotion on a weekly basis within our church communities.  Can we imagine extending our voices, arms, and walls wider and offering it to the world outside the church?  Conie will share her experiences in creating this space, some songs, and facilitate a sharing circle of your experiences, dreams, and songs.

Conie Borchardt is a “Lutho-palian Sufi Dancer” acknowledging her Lutheran roots, time with Episcopalians, and interest in interfaith practices.  In addition to a BA in Music from Augsburg University, Conie has certificates in Spiritual Direction, the Full Voice 5 Elements Coaching Framework™, and Dances of Universal Peace, combining these listening and somatic tools to increase the capacity for healing and transformation within individuals and communities.  Born to a Korean-born mother and a 4th generation German immigrant farmer father on the prairie ancestral homelands of the Dakota has colored her worldview. Conie currently works for Edina Morningside UCC as Music Director.



Let Every Instrument Be Tuned for Praise

What can you do with a bassoon, trumpet, and violin?  Or two flutes and a trombone?  This workshop explores creative ways that instruments can be used in worship.  Players of string, wind, and brass instruments are encouraged to bring their instruments in order to help lead assembly song at the Wednesday afternoon sending Eucharist.

Jeffrey Scott Doebler serves as professor of music and director of music education and bands at Valparaiso University. On November 3, 2018, Dr. Doebler was named a Distinguished Hoosier by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. Professor Doebler holds music education degrees from Luther College (B.A.), Valparaiso University (M.M., ‘87), and the University of Minnesota (Ph.D.). The recipient of numerous awards for teaching excellence, he is equally effective working with younger students, older students, and professional musicians. Dr. Doebler has appeared professionally in 30 states, Canada, Malta, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, and China. In a typical year he works with more than 3000 students. Dr. Doebler is a past president of the Indiana Music Education Association and the Indiana Bandmasters Association, and serves as conductor for the Lutheran Summer Music Concert Band, the Michigan City Municipal Band, and Windiana Concert Band.



From Pew Rack to Pulpit

Preachers have a variety of sources from which to draw when crafting sermons that aspire to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ in meaningful ways for contemporary Christians. We will explore how preachers can connect song with scripture through the use of hymns in various forms within a sermon, focusing on texts from the Gospel of Matthew that are appointed for the coming summer (Year A in the Revised Common Lectionary).

Kelly K. Faulstich is pastor at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Chicago. She is a graduate of Valparaiso University and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Having previously served congregations in Warren, Ohio and River Forest, Illinois, Kelly now makes her home on the northside of Chicago with her husband, Justin.



co-presenting with


What shall we sing?

The hymns and songs we sing in worship reflect our faith and give us language to help us better know the Triune God. When we sing together, we also breathe together, creating one voice from many. This workshop is designed to model a practical approach for pastor/musician teams as they do the important work of choosing hymns for worship in the assembly. We will talk about our own processes, available resources, and how individual context affects hymn choice, placement, and even introductions and tempo.

Julie Grindle, B.M., M.M. is a lifelong church musician, accompanist and teacher. In the past year she has written for Sundays and Seasons and Living Lutheran, and is a former member of the ILS advisory board. After serving Lutheran congregations for 35 years, Julie is now the Assistant to the Bishop for Candidacy and Mobility in the Upstate NY Synod (ELCA). She also currently serves as past-president of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. Julie is a frequent accompanist for area choral and instrumental students, and an active vocalist in the Central NY region. She lives in Baldwinsville, NY with her husband, David. They have two sons, Will and Tom.

Steven Wilco is the pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Windsor, CT. He is a graduate of Valparaiso University and the Lutheran Theological Seminar at Philadelphia. He is a member of the Institute Advisory Council and serves as a co-sacristan for the Institute.



Workshop 1    Breaking the Traditional/Contemporary Divide

Description: Congregational Song has a rich and complex history. This workshop will give a brief overview of congregational song history and quickly move into a listening session of where we are today. We’ll answer the question of how we can move beyond the labels of “traditional” and “contemporary” and into a more healthy, helpful, and healing conversation.

Workshop 2
    Drumming for Worship

Description: No experience necessary! Join me in learning some basic drumming skills and a journey into how to include percussion into a worship service. The session will include drumming basics, creative use of percussion with scripture, and how to thoughtfully accompany songs that use percussion as accompaniment.

Brian is an inspiring song-leader equally comfortable leading an acapella singing of ” It Is Well” as he is drumming and dancing to “Sizohamba Naye.” Experienced using a variety of genres and instrumentations, he has lead worship for Baptists, Roman Catholics, United Methodists, Presbyterians, and many more across the U.S. and Canada.  He received his Bachelor of Music Education from Wingate University, his Master of Sacred Music from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and is certified in children’s church music (K-12) by Choristers Guild.  He has articles published on sacred music and congregational song in multiple journals and co-authored a book All Hands In: Drumming the Biblical Narrative, published by Choristers Guild.  While working for The Hymn Society as the Director of The Center for Congregational Song, he is also adjunct professor of church music at Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina and music minister at Light Street Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland where he lives with his wife, Eve, and son, Jakob.


 RYAN HOSTLER Co-Leading with JAMES BOLINE       

Title: God Will Still Be Praised: Nurturing Changes in the Leadership of the Church’s Song

In this session we will explore new resources, processes and ideas published by the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians to assist a congregation and leadership when searching and hiring a musician to nurture the song of the church.  The presentation and then conversation will include everything from volunteers to full time called professionals and be facilitated by a full time rostered musician and pastor, both members of the ALCM Employment Taskforce.

Ryan K. Hostler is an ELCA deacon and graduate of the University of South Florida and Trinity Lutheran Seminary.   Ryan serves as Minister of Music and Worship for Our Savior Lutheran Church, Vero Beach, FL. At Our Savior he oversees and directs a dynamic and growing music program for all ages as well as coordinating each liturgy. Ryan also serves on the board of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians and is published by Augsburg Fortress. His simple but profound calling is the nurturing of the song of the church.

James Boline serves as pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Santa Monica, CA.  Prior to St. Paul’s, he served as pastor of Hollywood Lutheran Church, Hollywood, CA (1994-2000) and associate pastor at First Evangelical, Kenyon MN (1989-92).  He received the M.Div from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN in 1989 and an S.T.M. in liturgical studies in 1994 from Yale University Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music. He is married to Christopher Ma, a professor of fashion design at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.



Using Classical Organ and Piano Literature in Service Playing

In this workshop, we’ll explore ways to utilize popular and large-scale classical organ and piano literature in service playing.  Various examples will be demonstrated throughout the workshop, especially focusing on the coordination of literature in both hymnody and service music.  In this session you will gain new insights for using large-scale works, new appreciation for “worn-out” classics, and new tools for developing your own coordination of literature in your repertoire.

Dr. James F. Marriott occupies the Kreft Chair for Music Arts at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, where he serves as the Director of Musical Arts.  His responsibilities include teaching courses in worship and culture, as well as overseeing a diverse range of musical activities associated with the worship and ministry life of the seminary community.  Holding undergraduate and graduate degrees in Parish Music from Concordia Nebraska and Concordia Wisconsin, respectively, he earned a Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, with an emphasis in liturgical inculturation. He is a frequent lecturer, composer and performer across the United States. Jim and his wife, Kristi, have been married for sixteen years and are blessed with two children, Joel and Kirstin.



Conference Choir 

This workshop will explore ways in which choirs can support and enhance assembly song.  In addition, the choir will prepare an anthem for the Wednesday afternoon sending eucharist. 

Sally Messner is the Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church of South Lyon (Michigan) and is founding musical director of the Elm Ensemble, a liturgical project bringing together professional and amateur musicians with great sacred music to help keep the church in dialogue with diverse voices from Christian history. She earned a Bachelor of Music from Valparaiso University(’02) in Indiana and a Master of Sacred Music from Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  She currently serves as the Schola Director for the Institute of Liturgical Studies conference.



Planning for Transcendence, Preparing for Immanence

Worship Planning with Evangelical Lutheran Worship in the 2020s

When you live in an environment with a teenager, you learn to adapt. In the second decade of the twenty-first century in the ELCA, the constellation of resources known as Evangelical Lutheran Worship will be in teenage years. How might ELCA worshiping communities including congregations, chapels, ministries, and churchwide expressions adapt to the current needs and demands of faithful Lutheran worship using the original and evolving resources? What treasures in the family of ELW resources are perhaps underutilized or unknown? How can our future worship planning allow for creativity, faithfulness, spontaneity, vision, wisdom, transcendence, and immanence? What are some effective models for worship planning for a variety of assemblies? This workshop gets at the center of worship planning with ELW for our current time.

Mark Mummert is Cantor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Worcester, MA. Prior to moving to Massachusetts in 2016, he was the 2015 Distinguished Visiting Cantor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. He served as Director of Worship at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Houston, TX (2008-2015) and was Seminary Musician at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (1990-2008). Mark is a composer of the first musical setting of Holy Communion in Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Augsburg Fortress publishes his numerous psalm settings and other musical compositions for the liturgy. Mark served on the Advisory Council, as organist, workshop leader, and plenary speaker of the Institute of Liturgical Studies.



The Silent Song of the Visual

“Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.” Eph. 5:19b NIV. Music carries expressions of the heart that words cannot convey; art sings a visible song of the heart. Weaving gathers the voices of the threads to unite in works that, much like music, express ideas and concepts that words have difficulty expressing. Join me as I walk you through the weaving process and see the song of the threads in visual form.

Sara Nordling holds an M.F.A. in studio art/textiles from Indiana University. She is currently a Visiting Instructor in Art And Design at Purdue University Fort Wayne. Sara is also a commissioned Deaconess. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and her work is in collections in the U.S., Australia and France. In summer she teaches various workshops and retreats including the Grunewald Guild in Washington. She has woven commissions for several churches and pastors and sees it as a way of uniting her art and theology training in service to the church.



Hip Hop/Spoken Word Liturgy

Hip hop is the music of the people. Liturgy is the work of the people. How can the church build bridges between these two as we share our lament and praise? Through this shared interactive worship experience, spoken word poet Joe Davis and hip hop artist David Scherer (AGAPE*) will lead us in a hip hop and spoken word liturgy that will challenge our notions of what liturgically rooted worship can look like. Come ready to be inspired and challenged.


Joe Davis is a nationally touring writer, speaker, and performer based in Minneapolis, MN. He is the CEO of The New Renaissance, LLC, frontman of emerging soul, funk, and spoken word band, The Poetic Diaspora, and co-founder / Artistic Director of H-Cubed: Hope, Healing, Harmony, a grassroots community movement centered on healing through the arts. As a student and educator, he has served as teaching artist at dozens of high schools and universities and most recently as the Artist-in-Residence at Luther Seminary, receiving a masters in Theology of the Arts.

AGAPE* (Dave Scherer) has inspired hundreds of thousands of people from Brooklyn to Bosnia with his relational ministry “Hip Hop Outreach”. Combining rapping, dancing, storytelling and his fluency in Spanish, AGAPE* connects with his listeners in a way that they really “get it”. He has recorded 10 albums and recently published a book entitled “Agap-ology”. Many young people saw him perform on the main stage of the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston. His ministry was also featured in an ABC documentary about people tackling food insecurity in America. These days you can find him at Luther Seminary where we works part-time as the Christian Public Leader coordinator. He is also a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory.



Presiding as Song

Whether we chant or speak the words of the presider, the practice of presiding is a kind of song. Just as the principle oboeist’s one note tunes the orchestra, presiders set the pitch of the liturgy from the moment we enter the sanctuary. How do we as presiders lead worship with grace, humility, and quiet strength?

Since 2016, the Rev. Miriam Schmidt has served as Pastor/Priest of All Saints in Big Sky (Big Sky, MT,) a shared ministry of the Episcopal and Lutheran (ELCA) churches. A graduate of the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia (’08), she has been a parish pastor in Plains, Montana and Bratislava, Slovakia, and Coordinator of the Young Adults in Global Mission program in Central Europe with her spouse. A periodic writer for Sundays and Seasons since 2008, and contributor to Worship Matters: An Introduction to Worship (Augsburg Fortress, 2012,) Miriam loves hiking above tree-line and reading to her daughters.



Handbells and Hymnody

This workshop will discuss and demonstrate how handbells can be used to confidently lead assembly song. Participants in this workshop
will assist in leading music for the Tuesday midday service.

LCMS Resources for Worship will bring new (and old) ideas to supplement the core resources of Lutheran Service Book, including how the newly released hymnal companion can be used to inform, educate, and enliven congregational song.

Paul Soulek is Cantor of St. John Lutheran Church and School in Seward, Nebraska, where he serves as organist and directs many and various vocal and instrumental ensembles. He also directs the Male Chorus and teaches applied organ and church music methods at Concordia University, Nebraska. Paul’s degrees in church music are from Concordia, Nebraska (bachelor’s, 2007) and Concordia Chicago (master’s, 2015). Several of his compositions are published with CPH, with additional liturgical resources self-published at



Music and Justice

Justice is an intrinsic part of the song the Psalms sing.  Since the church’s song grows out of the womb of the Psalms., the church’s music sings the same theme, even
when we mute it. This workshop will explore these themes.

Paul Westermeyer is Emeritus Professor of Church Music, Cantor, and Director of the MSM at Luther Seminary. He is a graduate of Elmhurst College (BA), Lancaster Seminary (BD), Union Seminary’s School of Sacred Music (MSM), and The University of Chicago Divinity School (MA and PhD). His life’s work, studying and teaching about church music and the church musician, is reflected in books he has written which include The Church Musician (1988, rev. 1997); Let Justice Sing (1998); Te Deum: The Church and Music (1998); and Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2010).




Leading Assembly Song: A Workshop for Keyboardists
What we sing forms us, both individually and as a community. Among all the skills church musicians need to possess, the ability to engage the assembly and encourage them to join the song is of utmost importance. In this session we will explore techniques and resources for organists and pianists to enhance their leadership skills.

Singing the Formative Word: A Choral Reading Session
With so much new choral music being published each year, and with new and old compositions available to us electronically, it is easy to become overwhelmed by all the possibilities. How do we sort through it all to find those things that fit our singers, our situation, and, most importantly, form and transform the singers and listeners by preaching the Gospel? Publications new and old, easy to more difficult, will be featured.

Wayne L. Wold, DMA, is Professor of Music at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, and Director of Music at First Lutheran Church in Ellicott City, Maryland. He holds degrees from Concordia College, Wittenberg University, and Shenandoah Conservatory. He has performed recitals and hymn festivals in the U.S. and Europe and has led workshops for numerous church music organizations. He is the author of three books and numerous articles and the composer of over 350 published compositions. His hymn texts and tunes appear in several hymnals and he has won hymn contests from the Eastman School of Music and the ELCA.