WELS Commission on Worship held its seventh triennial worship conference July 22-25 at Carthage College, Kenosha, Wis. More than 1,000 WELS members met to be enriched in worship music, liturgy, and liturgical art at nearly 60 optional presentations.
The conference presentations covered topics from choir directing, teaching children music, graphic design, church architecture, and art. Other highlights of the conference included a festival choir of more than 120 voices, a high school honor choir, a children’s choir, and a 40-piece orchestra.
“The worship conference is very inspirational. I worked with the highest level of Christian musicians I ever have. It’s a great experience for me. It builds me up and gives me increased enthusiasm when I go back to my own congregation,” says attendee Benjamin Benson, Shepherd of the Mountains, Reno, Nev.
Gunilla Hedkvist came all the way from Sweden to attend the conference. She says, “I was at the 2008 conference and I thought it was so great, so wonderful. And when I got the opportunity to come here, I said yes immediately because I knew that I was going to learn a lot here. I’m coming from a very small church—my own congregation we usually have 15 people at a church service. To come here and sing God’s praises with a thousand people—that’s not something that happens very often in my life. It was wonderful.”
Rev. Bryan Gerlach, director of the WELS Commission on Worship, says the conference went smoothly for such a complex event; it broke attendance records for closing worship.
“There was an almost capacity crowd in a chapel rated to seat 1,700 people for the closing worship with a near flawless musical performance. And this wasn’t just music for music’s sake, but think of the spiritual impact that this has on all the attendees,” says Gerlach. “There was not only an inspiration value for all attendees, but also the trickle-down effect as they go back to their churches and serve with renewed enthusiasm, new ideas, and perspectives.”
Gerlach also noted the interest of younger generations in Lutheran worship. “When you talk about talent, the thing that is just thrilling for me is the number of young people—the number of people in the orchestra who are 20-somethings. The blossoming of talent in WELS over the last generation is so gratifying.”
The next WELS Worship Conference will be held in 2017.
Volume 101, Number 10
Issue: October 2014
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