Assembly planning committee among the hundreds celebrating the joy of music

Rev. Dr Stephen Larson, back right, with other members of the worship planning committee celebrating worship music at Living Voices, in Atlanta, United States. Photo: Rev. Dr Benjamin Stewart
Rev. Dr Stephen Larson, back right, with other members of the worship planning committee celebrating worship music at Living Voices, in Atlanta, United States. Photo: Rev. Dr Benjamin Stewart

The LWF International Worship Planning Committee for the Twelfth Assembly is at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America's celebration of music, Living Voice, in Atlanta, United States. Committee chair, Rev. Dr Stephen Larson, describes the significance of the event and how  committee members have led workshops, got involved in worship - or, in the case of Seth Mesiaki Ole Sululu – contributed as a dance and music leader.

 

Sunday evening, Atlanta’s Lutheran Church of the Redeemer was filled to capacity for the opening lectures and worship for two conferences in one: the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians’ Biennial Conference and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Worship Jubilee.

Together the conferences shared the theme, Called to Be a Living Voice: Vocation Ÿ Reformation Ÿ Mission.  From July 19 – 23, some 800 musicians and pastors, choristers and theologians explored their vocations within the church and their mission to the wider world.

With the approach of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, it was no surprise that Reformation became a major theme of the conference. A sample of workshops were presented by Lutheran and Roman Catholic liturgical scholars and musicians included such ecumenical topics as:

  • Commemorating 1517 without dressing up as Luther with a hammer
  • What about the others? Ecumenical gifts in worship and music from the other 16th century Reformations
  • Freed and renewed in Christ – the ELCA’s 500th anniversary observance
  • Dialogue, daring and dysphoria: Roman Catholic and Lutheran liturgical renewal since Vatican II
  • Luther’s liturgical reforms and the origins of evangelical Lutheran worship
  • New hymnody from Catholic text writers: ecumenical possibilities

Through collaboration by the ELCA and the LWF, the planning committee for the Twelfth Assembly in Namibia, was invited to the worship jubilee. The invitation not only provided an opportunity for the committee to meet again but three committee members served as global resource people for the overlapping conferences.

Karin Runow, a composer and church musician from the Church of Sweden, led a workshop on Swedish choral music in the time of Advent. Lilla Molnár, a pastor from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary, led a workshop titled Worshiping with All Our Senses. Seth Mesiaki Ole Sululu, a pastor musician from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, led a workshop on singing and dancing in Tanzanian worship services.

The worship planning committee members also came to listen and learn. Singing new music and songs, crafting liturgical texts for large conferences, conversing with a variety of North American musicians, pastors, theologians and church leaders all contribute to the on-going process of reformation in the life of the church.

 

 

Rev. Dr Stephen Larson is chair of the LWF’s International Worship Planning Committee. He serves as interim pastor at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in New Hamburg, Ontario, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

 

Read the ELCA's report on Living Voices

 

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.