Buoyed by the success of two similar events it sponsored in the past, the Synod’s Commission on Worship is presenting the third triennial Institute on Liturgy, Preaching, and Church Music July 22-25 on the campus of Concordia University Nebraska (CUN), in Seward.
Rev. Jon Vieker, the commission’s interim executive director, said that between 600 and 700 participants are expected for the conference, after the first such events in 2002 and 2005, which he said participants rated as “extremely informative, practical, and inspiring.”
The 2008 conference theme is “Sing to the Lord a New Song!” Using that as a cue, its four days will focus heavily on use of the psalter in worship, Vieker told Reporter.
Although anyone may register for the conference, it is especially designed for pastors, musicians, and others who plan and lead worship.
Corporate worship figures prominently in the agenda for the conference, which will open and close with the Divine Service and also will include services of Matins, Vespers, Morning and Evening Prayer, and Compline –- all scheduled at St. John Lutheran Church, adjacent to the university campus.
Those registered are being invited to join conference choirs, ring handbells, or serve as instrumentalists.
A conference hymn festival will be offered July 24 at First Presbyterian Church in nearby Lincoln — featuring organist Jeffrey Blersch, chair of the Concordia, Seward, music department and university organist; high-school honor choir director Kurt von Kampen, who is associate professor of music and director of the university’s choirs; and Rev. Karl Hollibaugh of Lincoln, Neb., narrator. Comprising the honor choir will be some 40 high-school students from across the nation, chosen from videotaped auditions.
The July 24 hymn festival and a concurrent multi-media presentation –- provided by the Center for Liturgical Arts at Concordia, Seward, and showing how the visual arts complement worship — will each be offered twice, allowing all institute participants to attend both. Afterward, a banquet will feature speakers and joint emcees Drs. Dale Meyer and Dean Wenthe, presidents of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, respectively.
The two seminary presidents also are among four plenary keynote speakers. Other scheduled keynoters are Philip Magness, cantor at Bethany Lutheran Church, Naperville, Ill., and Carol McDaniel, minister of music at Bethany Lutheran Church, Long Beach, Calif.
A wide variety of seminars (with three one-hour sessions on each topic) and single-session workshops also will be offered.
In addition to the youth choir, a select children’s choir also will be assembled from auditions, to be directed by Kantor Jan Muth of Memorial Lutheran Church, Houston.
Grants from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans are available to help with several conference components to offset attendance costs for those in the youth and children’s choirs, and for pastors trained through the DELTO (Distance Education Leading to Ordination) program.
Vieker said that he and other conference planners “see the need to especially offer DELTO pastors opportunities the institute will provide for experiencing the church’s worship in a variety of ways, especially since their theological education only allows for brief periods of time on a seminary campus. And seminars and workshops will allow them to focus on topics that they may not have been exposed to during their theological training.”
To apply for a conference grant, DELTO graduates are invited to visit http://worship.lcms.org/deltogrant. The application deadline is June 2.
Vieker also told Reporter that the institute will “have a special emphasis on children in worship,” and said he encourages adult participants to bring their children along. Supervised children’s activities are scheduled at times when adults are attending seminars and workshops.
For full information about the 2008 institute, see the institute brochure (including a registration form) that the Commission on Worship mailed to all LCMS congregations in late February, or go to http://worship.lcms.org/2008institute.
The institute registration fee is $225 per participant for registrations submitted online or postmarked by June 2. After that date, add $50 for each registration. Discounts are available for additional registrants from the same congregation and for students.
In addition, affordable dormitory housing will be available on the Concordia University campus, and several nearby hotels offer special institute rates for those registering. A campus meal plan also is available.
Posted April 25, 2008