Plenary Presenters

Foundational to the conference will be plenary presentations by Susan Briehl (Tuesday), Robert Buckley Farley (Wednesday), and Samuel Torvend (Thursday). Each of the plenary presenters will also be available for formal (workshop time) and informal conversation.

Susan Briehl – Common Words
How liturgical texts and creeds are used, and how they can divide or unite

Susan Briehl, a Lutheran pastor living in Spokane WA and rostered in the Indiana-Kentucky Synod (ELCA), is called to serve the wider church as teacher, writer, and liturgist. She has served in team ministries as director of Holden Village, campus pastor at Pacific Lutheran University, and pastor of Our Saviour’s Lutheran in Bellingham WA and has taught parish worship and preaching at Wartburg Theological Seminary. Most recently Susan served as associate director of the Valparaiso Project. Her hymn texts include Holy God, Holy and Glorious; By Your Hand You Feed Your People; To Christ Belong; and God Alone be Praised, commissioned by ALCM in commemoration of Reformation 500.

Robert Buckley Farlee – Common Song
How singing together hymn texts and congregational song builds community

Since 1981, Robert Buckley Farlee has been cantor of Christ Church Lutheran in Minneapolis, serving as organist, choir director, and composer in residence. Since 2001, he has shared that position with Martin Seltz. He has also served as a pastor to that congregation.

Farlee has edited Leading the Church’s Song and Honoring Our Neighbor’s Faith. He was, from 2001 till his retirement in 2017, senior editor for worship at Augsburg Fortress. He worked on Evangelical Lutheran Worship as well as Sundays and Seasons and Sundays and Seasons: Preaching. He also oversaw the choral and instrumental music publishing during that time and developed three Music Sourcebooks to supplement ELW.

Farlee is a composer, having published hundreds of works of church music. He has received the first Raabe-ALCM Prize for Excellence in Church Music Composition, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and the Christus Rex Award from the Institute of Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University. In November 2018, he was invited to lecture in church music to the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church. He has also served ALCM as director for ecclesiastical concerns, three times as biennial conference worship chair, and as president from 2006 to 2008.

Samuel Torvend – Common Table
How the table reveals and/or obscures our unity

Samuel Torvend is Professor of Religion and University Chair in Lutheran Studies emeritus at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. He is author of the recently published Still Hungry at the Feast: Eucharistic Justice in the Midst of Affliction (Liturgical Press 2019). A priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, he serves as associate priest for adult formation at Christ Church Parish in Tacoma. In addition to his occasional contributions to Cross Accent, he is the founding editor of the ELCA liturgical resource Sundays & Seasons.