Enriching worship

Registration opens March 1 for the eighth triennial National Conference on Worship Music & the Arts June 13–16 at Carthage College, Kenosha, Wis.

Thousands of WELS members have attended worship conferences in the past to be enriched by presentations about worship music, liturgy, and liturgical art; to experience daily worship with WELS members from around the country; to participate in choirs and musical ensembles; and to be inspired with ideas for their local congregations.

Betty Klammer, a member at Hope, Louisville, Ken., attended for the first time in 2005 after a fellow church member encouraged her. “When I came home from my first worship conference I could not stop talking about it and convinced my husband, Tom, he should join me for the next one. We have attended the past three worship conferences together,” she says.

As head of the altar guild, she appreciated the presentations on liturgical art. “I remember contacting one of the presenters from the last conference to ask where I could find how he made the star used in the Epiphany service,” she says. “Over the years, I have taken ideas from presentations on the meaning of symbols and the use of art and incorporated them in our worship services.”

She continues, “There are so many presentations to choose from that will help you understand worship from the moment you walk in the church door, through the services, and how you can take worship to your own home.”

Bryan Gerlach, chair of the conference planning committee and director of the Commission on Worship, says the planning committee works to offer presentations for everyone. “To see the value of topics for laypeople who aren’t musicians,” he says, “look for presentations on worship and outreach, church renovation, strategic planning and worship enrichment, and communicating Christ in the 21st century.”

This year, in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, the conference also will include special presentations examining Lutheran history with application to the present and will feature five Reformation-themed services that showcase newly commissioned texts and music from 15 composers and poets.

A special Reformation 500 grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is making it possible to offer a second regional worship conference at Concordia College, Irvine, Calif., June 27–30. This conference will include many of the same presentations and worship services as the Kenosha conference, though it will be on a slightly smaller scale.

“This is a great opportunity for those who perhaps have found distance to be a factor in not attending past conferences,” says Mark Schewe, pastor at St. Peter, Clovis, Calif., and worship coordinator for the Arizona-California District. “I think it’s good for all of us to understand our deep Lutheran roots and also the Christian freedom that we have to worship the Lord in many forms.” Only 117 registered adults from outlying districts along the coasts and in the south attended the 2014 conference.

The regional conference also will allow more teens and children to be involved, with an honor choir and a children’s choir being planned for each site.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to take the conference ‘on the road,’ ” says Gerlach. “We pray it will offer more people a chance to be personally inspired and then to take ideas back home to enrich worship in their own churches.”

Registration for both conferences opens March 1. Singers (adults, teens, and children) and instrumentalists also can sign up to participate in choirs and worship. Learn more at wels.net/worshipconference.


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Volume 104, Number 3
Issue: March 2017

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