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Founded in 1999, the Tri-State Forum  is in its 14th year of offering lectures, presenting an opportunity to bring together pastors, ministry professionals and others interested in lifelong learning, growth, and collegial fellowship in our common faith. The annual forum series features five lecture events.

The cost to attend the Tri-State Forum's remaining individual lecture this year is $65. With five contact hours per event, .5 CEUs (continuing education units) are available. 


A Typical Forum Schedule:


Registration in Narthex
9:30-10:00 Chapel


Coffee and Registration in Refectory
10:30-10:45 Welcome and Introductions in Weiblen Commons
10:45-11:45 Lecture Part I
11:45-1:00 Lunch available in the Refectory -
Pay as you go through the line


Lecture Part II


Break in Refectory


Lecture Part III

2013 - 2014 Tri-State Forum Lectures

Tex SampleApril 24, 2014
Dr. Thomas Schattauer

"The Way It Works: Christian Worship as Symbolic Discourse"
The great Lutheran pastor and renewer of the church Wilhelm Loehe (1808-1872) once wrote: "Let us not be afraid to teach the liturgy!" As one who teaches the liturgy, I often wonder what it is exactly that needs to be taught today, in this time and place. What most needs to be communicated to students preparing for ministry, to pastors, to people regularly engaged in the practices of worship, and to any seeking soul that might affect their planning, leadership, and participation at worship? What is the one thing that might illuminate understanding and help guide congregations into a richer practice? I have come to the conclusion that what I am searching to say—to teach— lies in the fundamental nature of liturgy as symbolic discourse. So this forum will address that topic in three parts:

Liturgy as Ritual Symbol
First, we will address the fundamental nature of liturgy as symbolic discourse. What does that mean? Why does it matter? How is it rooted in biblical narrative and image? How might this help us to understand better the relational and missional dimensions of Christian worship?

Second, we will ask how people participate in such symbolic discourse. How does this communication take place? How is it practiced, facilitated, and taught? How is participation in the liturgy as a communal, ritual symbol distinguished from a secret, cultic code to be deciphered by those-in-the-know?

Body of Witness
Finally, we will explore how participation in the symbolic discourse of Christian worship inscribes the Gospel on our lives, on our very bodies, and makes the gathered body and every body in it a symbol. How does it fashion a visible body of witness to the presence and purpose of God in and for the world?

Rev. Dr. Thomas H. Schattauer is Professor of Liturgics and Dean of the Chapel at Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, where he has taught since 1996. His research and publications focus on the liturgical work of the 19th-century German Lutheran pastor Wilhelm Loehe and current matters of worship, culture, and mission. He is the contributing editor of Inside Out: Worship in an Age of Mission (1999), a participant in the work that led to Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), and a past president of the North American Academy of Liturgy.

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