by Melanie Ave
For three days in January, 30 LCMS Lutherans immersed themselves in hymnwriting. They studied. They wrote. They prayed. They sang.
And they critiqued one another during the first LCMS-sponsored hymnwriting conference. Held in Columbia, Ill., the event gave published and would-be hymnwriters a place to develop poetically sound and evangelically rich hymns for use in LCMS congregations.
One participant, the Rev. Alan Kornacki, later wrote how one highlight of the conference was the opportunity for prayer. He recalled one night when everyone sang.
“The church’s song is a living thing.”
“The singing was glorious, often done in four-part harmony without the aid of the organ,” he wrote. “It was a foretaste of eternity, when we will join in the hymns of ‘angels and archangels and all the company of heaven.’”
The conference is one of the most recent accomplishments by LCMS Worship Ministry, which aims to nurture a culture of confessional faithfulness, artistic excellence and integrity in the presentation, distribution and reception of God’s life-giving gifts in Word and Sacraments.
“The best of the hymns submitted at the conference will be used for future projects to serve the church,”
said the Rev. Will Weedon, director of LCMS Worship Ministry and International Center chaplain.
“The church’s song is a living thing,” he said. “We’re all part of one great choir. We go off the rails in worship when we try to silence the past and sing only the song of today or when we try to silence God’s people now and sing only the songs of the past.”
LCMS Worship Ministry seeks to develop and deepen an understanding and love for the Lutheran heritage in Christian worship, and it promotes the Lutheran Service Book as the core worship resource for the LCMS while also identifying and encouraging the many musical treasures and gifts that the Holy Spirit continues to pour upon the church.
In 2014, LCMS Worship Ministry will sponsor an Institute on Liturgy, Preaching and Church Music, a triennial conference for church leaders, musicians and all involved in worship. The event will be held July 28-31 at Concordia University, Nebraska, Seward, Neb.
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