The Waters Rage and Foam: Crafting Worship in the Face of Natural Disaster

This workshop will explore humanity’s complicated relationship with water: a life-giving resource, a sign of God’s promise, and a source of great destruction and death. As seas rise and storms grow stronger, how can we address this tension in liturgy and preaching? We will examine biblical and liturgical resources that are available to help communities grapple with disasters through expressions of lament, courage, and hope

Cuttino Alexander currently services as the pastor at Christus Victor Lutheran Church in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  He hold degrees from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He has previously served parishes in North Carolina and the country of Georgia.  He is a regular contributor to Sundays & Seasons: Preaching and has appeared on the Day 1 radio program.



Waters That Make Us Woke

When we affirm the covenant God makes with us in baptism, we pledge “to serve all people, following the examples of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.”  With stories and examples, this workshop will explore the public dimension of baptismal promise.  We will consider how God’s word, moving over the waters of promise, wakes us up to the world’s pain and calls us to action.

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).




Making the Big Symbols: Carving Out Ways to Mark Baptism in the Parish

What are the ways that we can make the symbols of Christ’s presence large within the parish?  Grand baptismal processions, hand-made boxes, and a paschal candle carved with your context in mind are wonderful ways to highlight the sacrament in the parish. This workshop will give you practical examples and instructions for ways you can enliven the gift of the Holy Spirit through hand crafting the big symbols of baptism.

The Reverend Tim Brown is a graduate of Valparaiso University (B.A. Theology, ’03; M.Ed Elementary Education, ’05), and The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (M.Div, ’09).  He has served as a solo pastor in Chicago, IL and currently serves as the Senior Pastor of a multi-staff parish in Raleigh, North Carolina.  His writing and study tends to be at the intersection of faith and doubt, and he is a regular contributor for Living Lutheran magazine, Sundays and Seasons, and has also been published in The Cresset and The Christian Century.



Baptismal Aesthetics and Worldview: A Witness from the East

Learn how Orthodox baptismal theology establishes a new identity for people and congregations, and how that identity contributes to the visual and audio forms of worship in the Eucharistic assembly. The presentation includes samples of prayers from the rite and interior designs from Orthodox parishes. The workshop includes an initial lecture and sessions devoted to initial proposals for inscribing baptismal theology in space, on edifices, in word, and through the “stuff” of the world.

Nicholas Denysenko is Emil & Elfrieda Jochum Professor and Chair at Valparaiso University. A graduate of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (M.Div., 2000) and The Catholic University of America (Ph.D., 2008), Denysenko specializes in liturgical theology, Orthodoxy, and ecumenism. His books include The Blessing of Waters and Epiphany (Ashgate, 2012), Chrismation: A Primer for Catholics (Liturgical Press, 2014), and Theology and Form: Contemporary Orthodox Architecture in America and Theology (University of Notre Dame Press, 2017). In his research, Denysenko examines liturgical history, ritual studies, and pastoral theology. He is a deacon of the Orthodox Church in America since 2003. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Intercultural Worship

In this workshop we will discuss together how to deepen intercultural conversation in enriching and culturally sensitive worship.  This could include developing a repertoire of songs a congregation learns and loves, taking more time to understand one another, and learning more about one another’s traditions.  In addition, advocacy toward justice and well-being across cultural groups can be a powerful shared ministry.

Ruth Duck was Professor of Worship at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary,Evanston, Illinois, from 1989 to 2016. She has been president of the North American Academy of Liturgy, a scholarly group. Her many books and articles about Christian worship include Finding Words for Worship, (1995) and Praising God: The Trinity in Christian Worship (with Patricia Wilson-Kastner, 1999). She has edited or coedited three books of worship resources, including Touch Holiness (with Maren Tirabassi, 1990; expanded and revised in 2012). Her most recent publication is Worship for the Whole People of God: Vital Worship for the 21st Century (2013), written for seminary classes and for local churches that wish to renew their worship. Duck also writes texts for congregational song, many of which can be found in hymnals in varied countries and denominations. In 2013 she was named a Fellow of the Hymn Society in recognition of her contributions to congregational song. Duck, an ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ USA, has served churches in Wisconsin and Massachusetts. She received the Doctor of Theology degree in worship and theology from Boston University School of Theology in 1989.  Born in Washington, D.C., she currently lives at Pilgrim Place in Claremont, California.


RUTH DUCK                        &          MARK MUMMERT

Words and Music

The creation of a new hymn from the poet and musician’s perspective.



Workers with us in the Kingdom of God

In this workshop, Donna will help participants invite children to the “work of the people.”  Her background as an educator equips her with unique gifts to understand the faith formation of children and their inherent ability to engage in the church’s liturgy.  Her forty years of leading children’s choirs will offer those attending her workshop a window into the possibilities that a congregation can both offer and receive from the full inclusion of children in worship.

Donna Hoffman is a reading specialist in the Shoreline (WA) school district, and the former director of the children’s choir program at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church in Seattle.  Across a variety of settings and in congregations of various sizes, with youth and children of a wide range of abilities, she has initiated and directed choral programs for children and youth, ages 3 through 18 in ensembles ranging from eight to eighty participants.



O Blessed Spring — Contemporary Fiction and Baptismal Imagination

This workshop will dig into several works of contemporary literary fiction in search of water imagery that sparks our imagination about the formative power of baptism. This will be neither a hunt for nor a catalog of sermon illustrations. Rather, it will engage the work of contemporary masters of the written word as a wellspring for expanding our own imagination for rich teaching and proclaiming of the wonder and grace of baptism.

James K. Honig received the M. Div. and S.T.M. degrees from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri and since 1987 has served as a pastor, first in the LCMS, and since 2002 in the ELCA.  He currently serves as pastor of Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in northern Door County, Wisconsin. Jim is a frequent contributor to denominational worship and preaching resources, is a regular blogger, and is the author of the novel, “By Paths Untrodden.” He is also active as a leader and trainer for congregation-based community organizing.



Young Adults and Faith Formation:  Checking in with God & Community

How is the faith of young adults formed in our wireless, fast-paced, pluralistic world?  How can remembering their baptisms keep young adults anchored in the midst of tumultuous life transitions?  How do interfaith encounters with peers from diverse backgrounds invite Christian young adults to stay rooted in their tradition while still open to learning from others?  In this workshop we will explore how congregations can support the faith formation and re-formation of young adults.

Callista Isabelle is a pastor in the ELCA.  Previously she served as College Chaplain at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania and Associate University Chaplain at Yale University. She earned her B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College and her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and a certificate from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.



In an abbreviated version of the seminar, we will explore our baptismal identity through the lens of music from around the world.  As we “learn to Dive,” we will tell the stories behind the music, unravel the theological implications, learn the rhythms and patterns, and be invited to immerse ourselves in the gifts we receive from our brothers and sisters all around the world.

Felix Malpica is currently serving as Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Janesville, Wisconsin and has been a leader of global music and worship within the ELCA for 15 years. A graduate of Luther Seminary and a degree in music from Luther College undergird Felix’s passion for worship and music. Last year, Felix was proud to participate in the creation of the ELCA Resource “Can We Talk? Engaging Worship and Culture” and its following seminar “Engaging Worship and Culture.” Felix is the proud father of Javier John Malpica born in April of 2017 and the delighted husband of Jessica Malpica.



Writing Faith on the Body: Embodiment and Formation

Liturgical theologian Ron Anderson argues that liturgy “writes” faith on the body in ways that are deeper than what we can put into words. This workshop will consider lifelong baptismal formation—including Sunday School, Confirmation, and the adult catechumenate—and connections to embodied, multi-sensory liturgy and the sacramentality of everyday life.

Craig Mueller has served as pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chicago since 1999. He has a doctor of ministry and a master of divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He is the author of the recent book Any Body There? Being Human in a Digital Age; Soli Deo Gloria: Choir Devotions for Year A; and liturgical texts and other worship materials for Augsburg Fortress. In addition, he was primary compiler for Indexes for Evangelical Lutheran Worship, which includes a list of hymns for each Sunday and festival in the church year.



Proclaiming and Washing into Being the Body

The Word of God, spoken in proclamation and enacted in the sacraments, calls and gathers us into the body of Christ, the very body that promises each newly baptized member, “We will never leave you nor forsake you,” and, “Remember, we are with you always, to the close of the age.” What sort of preaching inspires us to embody such faithfulness?

Dr. Frederick Niedner is Senior Research Professor in Theology at Valparaiso University. He writes for numerous publications that support the ministry of preaching, and for nearly 25 years his fortnightly columns on religion and culture have appeared in the Chicago Tribune’s northwest Indiana edition, the Post-Tribune.



Dark Waters and Bright Promises: Choral selections for Holy Baptism

In this hour-long reading session, we will explore choral literature that reflects the many facets of baptismal living. We will use Luther’s Flood Prayer and the Small Catechism as vantage points from which to dig into this musical bounty.

Omaldo Perez is the Director of Music and Organist at Zoar Lutheran Church in Perrysburg, Ohio, where he supports and encourages congregational singing. He also directs the choirs and ensembles of Zoar, teaches music in the Sunday School Program, and manages a growing concert series as a form of outreach to the broader community of NW Ohio. As a church musician, he enjoys many styles of music, among them, Early Lutheran, Jazz, and Latin.



Splashing in the Font: Congregational Formation

The Adult Catechumenate is rooted in the apprenticeship model of conversion and formation. Inquirers are partnered with seasoned Christians and immersed in scripture, worship, community and acts of charity and mercy. The entire community embraces the newcomers and their journey through rites and celebrations and along the way, the congregation is renewed in mission and purpose. This workshop will help congregation leaders interpret and introduce the catechumenate process to a congregation by addressing practical topics such as language, ritual, recruiting and supporting sponsors and team members and clarifying the roles of the clergy and laity.

Pastor Bev Piro earned a BA in Theology from VU in 1976 and the MDiv from Christ Seminary-Seminex in 1980.  Pastor Piro served on the staff of Phinney Ridge Lutheran in Seattle for many years with leadership in the catechumenate process known as “The Way.”  She has been involved in Journey to Baptismal Living (formerly the North American Association for the Catechumenate) for over 20 years and now serves as President.  She wrote the Sponsor Guide for the Welcome to Christ series and contributed articles to Lutheran Women Today and The Lutheran.  Pastor Piro currently lives in Denver, Colorado and serves in interim ministry.



Music, Mystery, Liturgy, and Life

How may we explore the process through which words on a page take on new life when set to music? What properties of music carry the possibilities for a renewed encounter with the living Christ in the liturgy, and what are the composer’s challenges and responsibilities in this undertaking? Join the composer of this year’s baptismal music commissions for an interactive look at music’s role in the liturgical life of the parish.

Nancy Raabe is an ordained pastor serving at Atonement Lutheran Church in Beloit, Wisconsin. With advanced study in musicology and degrees from Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Wartburg Theological Seminary, she has composed choral, keyboard, and liturgical music for use in the church. Nancy is particularly interested in the intersection of music and theology in the music of classical and romantic-era composers. She has published articles on theology and hymnody, authored a book on the music and life of Carl Schalk, edited a collection of scholarly essays honoring theologian Walter Bouman, contributed to several devotional publications, and writes a monthly newspaper column on faith and culture.


TABLE and FONT: A Panel Discussion on Questions of Baptism and Communion

In 2014, the ELCA called its members into a conversation entitle “Table And Font: Who Is Welcome?”  A study guide was created, perspective papers were shared, and many congregations and individuals participated in the conversation.  This workshop moderated by Rev. Dr. Thomas Schattauer with pastors from the ELCA continues the conversation of how we welcome to the font and to the table, particularly in relationship to the ELCA’s 1997 statement on the practice of Word and Sacrament. “The Use of the Means of Grace.”



Come Join the Dance: Hymn Playing Masterclass

Daniel Schwandt will lead participants in a masterclass on hymn playing; exploring topics related to introductions, text painting, organ registration, contextual considerations, and leading from the piano or other instruments.  Participants may sign up to play in advance and may play a hymn of their choosing for leadership on the organ or piano.

Daniel Schwandt is the Cantor of Immanuel Lutheran Church (ELCA) in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago.  For twelve years, he served as the Cantor to the Seminary Community at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and is now currently pursuing graduate studies in sacred music at the University of Notre Dame.  He holds a degree in church music from St. Olaf College and has served congregations in Wisconsin and the Twin Cities.  His compositions are published through Augsburg Fortress and MorningStar Music, and is active as a recitalist, hymn festival and workshop leader.


Baptized into Christ’s death: baptism and theological education

This workshop will explore ideas and consequences for theological education centered in “the baptismal life.” After a brief historical sketch and overview of the current challenges to theological education, in general, participants are invited into a discussion about the role of suffering and spiritual formation in theological education as an expression of being baptized into Christ’s death.

The Rev. Gordon Straw is an enrolled member of the Brothertown Indian Nation. He is the Floy & Paul Cornelsen Chair of Spiritual Formation at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He holds a M.Div. from Luther-Northwestern Theological Seminary, St. Paul, MN and a Th.M. from LSTC in systematic theology. He is a certified practitioner in Jungian personality theory. His academic interests are in indigenous metaphysics, spiritual formation, leadership development, and ministry of all the baptized.



     JAMES WETZSTEIN                AND                 STEPHEN BONGARD

 Ten Years On: What We’ve Learned From Our Immersion Font

Ten years ago Immanuel Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, IN retrofitted their nave with a baptismal font that allows for the immersion of both infants and adults.  In this workshop, Immanuel’s Pastor Stephen Bongard will describe the impact that the font has had in the last decade on the life of the Immanuel community.  Liturgical Design Consultant James Wetzstein will share how this significant change was made to Immanuel’s nave without a sacrifice of congregational unity.

The Rev. James Wetzstein serves as University Pastor at Valparaiso University.  Through his active consulting practice, Wetzstein guides congregations to reflect on their theology of worship in preparation for renovation or new construction.

Pastor Stephen Bongard is in his 28th year of pastoral ministry, five years at Grace Lutheran Church in St. Petersburg, Florida, and 23 years at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, Indiana, where he serves as Senior Pastor.  As a student at Valparaiso University (B.A., 1985) he experienced a breadth and depth of liturgical worship and music, which has remained formative in ministry.  His M.Div. is from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (1989).  He enjoys leading at Immanuel where font, word, and table provide foundational images for worship and congregational life.




Tuesday, April 10 at 10:45 a.m. Conversations with Maxwell Johnson

Tuesday, April 10 at 3:45 p.m. Conversations with Jessicah Duckworth

Wednesday, April 11 at 10:45 a.m. Conversations with Paul Hoffman

Wednesday, April 11 at 3:15 p.m. Conversations with Craig Satterlee















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