The Rev. Eric Dyck of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and Blanche Kate Gates of the Anglican Church of Canada are the 2018 recipients of the Companion of the Worship Arts.

Companions of the Worship Arts announced for 2018

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACofC) have announced the 2018 recipients of the Companion of the Worship Arts (CWA).

The honour of Companion of the Worship Arts—a highly reputable recognition—highlights the immense gifts and offerings of a particular individual to the worship life of each church at the local and national level. The CWA has roots in the ELCIC and was first presently jointly in 2014. It is presented every two years to one Lutheran and one Anglican at the National Worship Conference, which this year will be held from July 16-19, 2018 in Victoria, B.C.

This year’s Lutheran recipient is Rev. Eric Dyck. Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Montreal, and currently teaching liturgy and supervising seminarians with the Montreal Diocesan Theological College, Rev. Dyck lectures on eucharistic development and history, oversees workshops on presiding, text delivery, movement in the liturgy, and offers extensive consulting on adapting appropriate liturgies into various settings.

His contributions to the worship life of his church, in all of its expressions, are well known and extend beyond his own Lutheran tradition. He has contributed to the worship life of the church in the local, synodical, national and even international levels.

Rev. Dyck’s list of contributions to the worship life of the ELCIC stretch exceptionally far. He served as a Sacristan and Worship Committee Member, Liturgical Director, and a General Consultant for The Lutheran World Federation from 1993-2004.  He held the seat of Co-Chair for Worship within the ELCIC for the 2013 Joint Assembly (ELCIC and ACofC in Ottawa), the Worship Design Team Chairperson for the 2005 and 2007 ELCIC National Conventions, Chair of the ELCIC Program Committee for Worship, as well as various roles within the National Worship Conference (Lutheran Co-Chairperson, Hospitality Suite, Liturgical Director, Sacristan, Chair, Local Committee Member).

Rev. Eric Dyck has had numerous pieces of his work published within the ELCIC. He was a valuable contributor to the Renewing Worship Project, which saw the development of Evangelical Lutheran Worship.

He is currently working with Earth-World Collaborative in their liturgical products which design electro-acoustic music for liturgies while using the classic ordo, texts, rubrics, as well as sound-mapping and other new technology for the more traditional areas of the ordinarium. Rev. Dyck is also constructing and re-casting liturgies for international pilgrimages, based on the traditional/medieval liturgies, but focusing on contemporary situations.

This year’s Anglican recipient is Blanche Kate Gates. A longtime member of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Nanaimo, B.C., where she is considered an Elder of the parish, Gates played a vital role in the development of contemporary liturgy in the Anglican Church of Canada as part of the task force that developed the Book of Alternative Services (BAS).

As a member of the national Doctrine and Worship Committee in the early 1980s, Gates interpreted the work of the committee to prepare for the publication of the BAS. During this period, she read many liturgical texts and commentaries—including experimental liturgical texts developed in the 1960s and ’70s, the 1979 Book of Common Prayer published in the Untied States, and the Roman Missal as revised by Pope Paul VI—to expand her knowledge and facilitate the work of the task force. Instrumental in creating the BAS and specifically its revised funeral liturgy, Gates spoke about the BAS to the House of Bishops and, as a delegate to General Synod, seconded the motion by which the Anglican Church of Canada officially adopted the BAS in 1985.

During her tenure as President of the Anglican Church Women for the Diocese of British Columbia, Gates left a considerable impact on her counterparts from other dioceses at national meetings. As a member of the Altar Guild and talented seamstress, she has consistently offered valuable assistance with linens, vestments, and parish and diocesan fabric banners that today enhance the worship space of Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria and various parishes.

Reflecting her passion for quilting, Gates created the “Tree of Life” quilt for St. Paul’s, and sewed a stole and chasuble based on the same theme for the congregation. As she prepares to mark her 100th birthday, her contributions to worship and liturgy at the national level continue to influence the way Anglicans across the country interpret and practice their faith.

The CWA awards are to be presented at the 2018 National Lutheran & Anglican Worship Conference, Responding to Disaster: Prayer, Song, Presence, taking place from July 16-19 in British Columbia.

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