1. So now we have to be INNOVATIVE too?
Jay Beech, musician, Trinity Lutheran Church, Moorhead, Minn.
When describing your praise band, do people say things like, “They’re doing the best that they can?" Are you having a hard enough time just getting your musicians to show up, much less coming up with new ideas? Jay Beech will facilitate a conversation about how to make the contemporary music in your services a little fresher and maybe even a little better. We will take a hard look at the concept of “contemporary worship” and the preconceptions many people share. Jay will also describe arranging techniques, song-leading methods, gift assessment and repertoire development. You can also expect to hear his usual, “You can retain the best elements of our tradition and still have vibrant and innovative worship” spiel.
2. Worship for People who Hate Worship
Debbie Blue, founding pastor, House of Mercy, St. Paul, Minn.
Russell Rathbun, founding pastor, House of Mercy, St. Paul, Minn.
Minneapolis newspaper City Pages named House of Mercy the Best Church For People Who Hate Church. Founding ministers Debbie Blue and Russell Rathbun will discuss how to create a worship experience that is inviting to people who think they've given up on worship.
3. Come and Play: Godly Play as Worship
Suzanne Burke, Senior Editor for Worship, Augsburg Fortress
Godly Play is an imaginative method for presenting Scripture stories to children that builds on the pioneering educational work of Maria Montessori. The goal of Godly Play is to teach children the art of using religious language—sacred story, parable, liturgical action and silence—to help them become more fully aware of the mystery of God’s presence in their lives. The structure of Godly Play organizes time to follow the pattern of worship that the Christian tradition has found to be the best way to be with God in community. In this workshop you will experience Godly Play storytelling and wondering firsthand. Hear how one congregation has used it for the spiritual formation of both children and adults, and see how it may be used effectively in worship. Story materials and resources will also be shown and discussed.
4. Catechetical Practices for a Worshipping Church
Jessicah Duckworth, Assistant Professor of Congregational and Community Care Leadership, Luther Seminary
When describing their faith, Christians are increasingly speaking not only of belief, but of faith practices. The content of Martin Luther's Small Catechism reveals the heart of a Christian life of faith and the church's responsibility to sustain that faith. We will explore together how the shape of Martin Luther's Catechisms inspire worship practices of forgiveness, confession, hearing the Word, responding to the Word, prayer, worship and mutual conversation and consolation.
5. There is a Balm: The Congregation as a People and Place of Healing
Mary Halvorson, Co-Pastor, Grace University Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Seven years ago a Worship Renewal Grant from the Institute for Christian Worship at Calvin College gave our congregation encouragement and funds to explore, learn and creatively implement a healing ministry. GRACEsprings is the name of our monthly Service of Prayer for Healing. Come and learn about healing services, the healing power of storytelling and ways a congregation can embody healing for its members and others. This will be a practical workshop offering examples of worship services, litanies and song, along with ideas of how to integrate healing practices within the community of faith.
6. The Matter of Translating the Psalms
Diane Jacobson, Director, Book of Faith Initiative, ELCA; Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Luther Seminary
Whether for use in private devotion or corporate worship, the translation of Psalms matters. Poetry matters. Singability matters. Reflecting the original language as well as the original meaning matters. Communication to the contemporary worshiper matters. So which translations shall we use when, where and why? We will explore these matters together.
7. It's Not All About The Sermon: Preaching and Liturgical Context
Karoline Lewis, The Alvin N. Rogness Chair of Homiletics
A homilitician once wrote, "Churchgoers attend services, not sermons. They go to worship, not to preaching." Preachers, this is true. How do we preach so our sermons don't sound like unrelated insertions plugged into a larger spoken whole? What do we need to remember to create an integrated worship experience? This workshop will offer theoretical and practical strategies for preaching that listens to and resonates with its liturgical context.
8. Laments in a Time of Change
Richard Nysse, Professor of Old Testament, Luther Seminary
What are the unexpressed losses that inhabit addressing change? Fear, in the context of loss, does not have the forward "lean" needed in a period of flux. The laments Psalms provide a language for expressing loss. These prayers park the future in God's. The biblical laments speak from within the loss of power; they do not start with questions about how we are to deploy our power. This session will discuss the force of these prayers in the midst of our varied discussion of change.
9. Sing a New Song
Mary Preus, Co-Founder, Bread for the Journey
Tom Witt, Co-Founder, Bread for the Journey
Join musicians Tom Witt and Mary Preus from Bread for the Journey in singing songs of the faith gathered from the Body of Christ around the world. Learn the whys, whats and hows of introducing music of the global church to your congregation. Be prepared to join in singing songs, chants and hymns from Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe, as well as diverse communities in North America.
10. Readings the Rite Way
Bradley Schmeling, Pastor, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minn.
Utilizing the wisdom of the conference participants, this workshop will explore the integration of liturgy and lectionary. How can the Word be proclaimed with power and relevance in ways other than the sermon? How does the Word become a word genuinely out of the assembly, giving witness to the creative and transforming presence of Christ in the gathered people? We'll discuss the many and varied ways the lectionary can come alive in Sunday worship.
11. Sabbath-Keeping in Church
Kara Root, Pastor, Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis
What if we didn't have church every Sunday? What if we all stayed home on purpose, and even considered it a sacred act of rest? Four years ago Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church began asking "What if?" questions that led to radically altering their worship schedule—and their whole way of life as a congregation. Among other things, they began practicing Sabbath. Why Sabbath? What does it mean,? What is it for? And what can it do? Come and hear how practicing Sabbath can change a community and strengthen its worship and mission, and explore what Sabbath-keeping could look like in your own life, family and communities.
12. Why the Histories of Text and Tune Matter
Paul Westermeyer, Professor of Church Music and Cantor, Luther Seminary
Texts and tunes the church repeats in its singing are self-authenticating and need no historical discussion. As Luther knew, we do not say “Ambrose sings,” but “the church sings.” However, the histories of texts and tunes matter. Like all the historical topics we study at seminary, learning from our sisters and brothers in Christ who have gone before us gives us insights into their times and places. It teaches us how they have lived out their vocations well or less well. This helps us remove our blinders, broaden our perspectives and live out our vocations as faithfully as possible.