Posted by: Johnold Strey | November 17, 2010

School of Worship Enrichment

The latest edition of Together, the bi-monthly WELS newsletter available online and through an email subscription, includes an article about the WELS School of Worship Enrichment (SoWE), a weekend worship seminar offered at various times around the country by the WELS Commission on Worship (C/W).  Next fall, the SoWE will reach its 10th anniversary milestone.  The first School of Worship Enrichment was held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Citrus Heights, California (Sacramento area) in the fall of 2001.  Incidentally, tentative plans are to hold another SoWE in Citrus Heights in the fall of 2011 — not only to mark the 10-year anniversary, but because there has been a good deal of pastoral turnover in the congregations of that area during the last 10 years, and so another Sacramento area SoWE would essentially serve a new group of people.

I have had the privilege to serve on the SoWE presenter team for a little over three years now.  My congregation has also participated in two SoWE’s — the first one in Citrus Heights nearly a decade ago, and another earlier this year in San Jose.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the SoWE from both perspectives — as a participant and as a presenter.  The presentations are solidly rooted in the Means of Grace, worship and preaching are well-done and spiritually edifying, and it has been a joy to work with other like-minded Lutherans and assist them with their parishes’ worship life.

I encourage any WELS readers of this post to explore the possibility of a School of Worship Enrichment in your area.  The person to contact in order to schedule a SoWE in your region is your district’s worship coordinator (in the Arizona-California District, that’s me!). 

Here’s the article about the School of Worship Enrichment from the latest Together newsletter:

Planning is well underway for another year of Schools of Worship Enrichment. Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of the workshops offered by the WELS Commission on Worship and designed to demonstrate and promote excellence in worship in all congregations.

The first scheduled schools of worship in the new year are set for Feb. 19-20 in Tucson, Ariz., and April 2-3 in New Ulm, Minn. Congregations should be making plans to attend now—a firm roster is needed by Jan. 11 and 17 respectively.

Reviews from past schools of worship have been overwhelmingly positive. Rev. Don Tollefson, pastor at Immanuel in Long Valley, N.J., attended a workshop in Clarksville, Md., in October. The presentations, he says, helped him “think through why we do what we do in worship.” He adds: “The focus on Christ and the proclamation of the gospel as the center of worship came through loud and clear in each of the presentations. Our faith was enriched as we listened, and our purpose in proclaiming the good news through worship was renewed.”

Schools of Worship are open to called workers, congregation leaders, and laypeople interested in the worship life of their congregation. In the ten years Schools of Worship have been offered, a total of 222 congregations have participated, congregations serving more than one quarter of all WELS membership.

For more information about the Schools of Worship Enrichment, including how to register and a limited-time, travel subsidy available through a generous grant from Thrivent Financial, go to Connect, WELS Intranet for called workers and congregational leaders. Note: if you don’t already have a Connect username and password, you can request an account.

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