The Rev. Dr. Paul Gibson (left) and the Rev. André Lavergne are the Anglican and Lutheran recipients, respectively, of the 2016 Companion of the Worship Arts. Photo of the Rev. Gibson from The Episcopal Church Archives.

Anglicans, Lutherans name 2016 Companion of the Worship Arts recipients

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In the continuing spirit of full communion, the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Companion of the Worship Arts (CWA).

The CWA is awarded every two years in recognition of significant contributions to the worship life of both churches. Since 2014, one Anglican and one Lutheran recipient receive the honour, recognizing ongoing inspiration and encouragement to others, and service to God, through worship, spirituality and the arts.

This year’s Anglican recipient is the Reverend Dr. Paul Gibson. As the leading force behind the development of the Book of Alternative Services, from its inception through its completion, distribution, and use, the Rev. Gibson is widely recognized as one of the most influential figures in transforming the worship life of the Anglican Church of Canada—influencing generations of Anglican leaders, preachers, musicians, and worshippers from coast to coast to coast through his commitment to liturgical renewal and reform. As a member of the Hymn Book Task Force, the Rev. Gibson helped develop Common Praise for the Anglican Church of Canada, channelling his passion and energy into a dynamic tool for engaging worshippers in their experience of God through poetry, hymnody, music, and art.

Through his work as a teacher, scholar, university chaplain, chief liturgical officer for the Anglican Church of Canada, and liturgical coordinator for the Anglican Consultative Council, the Rev. Gibson has left an indelible impact on the worship patterns of Canadian and international Anglicans and Christians. By coordinating the best talent and scholarship in the Anglican Church of Canada and drawing upon the ecumenical work of the liturgical movement, the Rev. Gibson produced foundational texts that have shaped the belief of Anglicans for more than 30 years, offering new ways of worship and prayer that nevertheless remain consistent with the church’s heritage. His work and dedication embody and have equipped many to experience and fulfill the Anglican ethos of lex orandi, lex credendi—as we pray, so we believe.

This year’s Lutheran recipient is the Reverend André Lavergne. The Rev. Lavergne’s contributions to worship and the arts in the ELCIC, from local parishes to the international worship community, are extensive, influential, and continuing. His involvement began early, providing leadership and vision to the beginning of worship discussions and activities in the newly formed ELCIC. That work included establishing biennial National Worship Conferences; discussions on communion of the baptized and its adoption by the ELCIC in the Statement on Sacramental Practices; serving as ELCIC representative on the Consultation on Common Texts and development of the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) and resources; supporting implementation of the RCL in the ELCIC by developing the comprehensive resource Gathered for Worship that provided musical and liturgical resources for each Sunday and festival of the three-year lectionary; before most others, heralding computers and email for worship communication and establishing the “Lift Up Your Hearts” website at worship.ca; and establishing the Companion of the Worship Arts as a national honour.

The Rev. Lavergne has served in various capacities on National and Synodical worship working groups, including National Staff for worship, and on many ecumenical worship committees. He was an ELCIC representative throughout the Renewing Worship process toward the development of Evangelical Lutheran Worship and its introduction in the ELCIC. He has written and facilitated the creation of numerous articles and essays on concerns, issues and continuing renewal of worship in the church. The Rev. Lavergne now serves the ELCIC as Assistant to the National Bishop—Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, and resides in Kitchener-Waterloo.

The CWA awards will be presented by ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson and ACC Archbishop Fred Hiltz at the 2016 National Worship Conference “FORMATION & REFORMATION: Worship, Justice and God’s Mission,” which will take place from July 24-27, 2016 at Wilfrid Laurier University in Kitchener-Waterloo. For more details, visit www.nationalworshipconference.org.


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