The Institute of Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University has named Fred Niedner, professor of theology, as its associate director. In this role, Niedner joins the Institute’s advisory council and will assist in the planning and execution of the annual conference.

“Dr. Fred Niedner’s extensive theological expertise is joined by deep pastoral sensibilities,” said the Rev. Brian Johnson, Executive Director of Campus Ministries. “He will greatly enhance the Institute’s pan-Lutheran and ecumenical work because of his seasoned association with the conference and his wide recognition within the larger Church.”

For many years, Niedner has been a regular preacher and presenter at the conference. Now he will assume important administrative and planning roles as well. At the Institute’s gathering in April 2014, Niedner will host a luncheon for The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod pastors.

“The Institute of Liturgical Studies is one of Valparaiso University’s treasures, and for many years I have benefited from the efforts of those who have worked to make them so edifying,” Niedner said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to assist and serve among them.”

A former chair of Valpo’s Department of Theology, Niedner’s ongoing work in biblical theology focuses on certain narrative portions of scripture, with particular attention to themes of forgiveness and reconciliation, and the wilderness as a spiritual place, not merely a geographical territory. Niedner also writes regularly for publications that offer resources for the practice of Christian preaching.

Niedner succeeds the Rev. James Wetzstein as associate director. Wetzstein continues to serve Valpo as University Pastor and mentor for the Social Action Leadership Team (SALT).

Founded in 1959, the Institute is a continuation of the Liturgical Society of St. James and connects church leaders, congregations and other partners in caring for the church’s liturgy and song. The Institute’s next gathering will take place April 28-30, 2014, focusing on the theme “The Word in Time: Lectionary, Proclamation and Church Year.”