Meet Debbie Lou Ludolph, Worship Ministries Director

                                    May I Introduce You To.......
                      Debbie Lou Ludolph, Worship Ministries Director
                                  Pictured here with Bishop Younan

As director of worship ministries, all of my endeavors seek to model and encourage worship that nurtures spirited discipleship, welcomes diversity, and embodies compassionate justice. Specifically, every other year I gather a worship team to plan for the Synod Assembly, and I assist with the planning of ordination services as required. Throughout the year, I work with worship planning teams of seminarians, pastors, musicians and lay leaders, and provide information about worship resources and conferences through the worship blog. Some of my time is given to individual work with pastors, musicians, and lay leaders regarding congregational worship needs, while it is also true that I have travelled to each of the conferences within the synod to do a global song workshop, which allowed me to learn about the particularities of worship needs throughout the synod, and to support the learning of the hymnody inEvangelical Lutheran Worship. 

An important aspect of my work is to be collaborative with other ministry directors and the synod office so that worship ministry is integrated into, and reflective of, all aspects of synod life. To that end, I gather with ministry directors, deans and synod staff twice a year to reflect on our common work. In addition, I communicate with the ELCIC worship committee, and sit on the synodical task force regarding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, with a particular interest in prayers and preaching that takes seriously right relations with our aboriginal neighbours. 

The synod views the work of my position as ministry director connected to my work as director of the Kanata Centre for Worship and Global Song at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, as that work aligns so strongly to the synod missional goals. The Kanata Centre provides an opportunity to wrestle with best practices in our Lutheran worship life that respond to the multi-cultural and multi-faith Canadian context in which we find ourselves. At WLS, worship is formed out of theological reflection with ecumenical and interfaith partners, as well as with seminary faculty, students and guests.  It is my hope that more of this material will be able to be shared for synodical use, as communication links are improved. 

As I reflect on this past biennium, many opportunities shaped my synodical ministry. It was enlivening to work with Music Makes Community leaders in Hong Kong, to host Brother Emile of Taize at WLS, to plan a worship event with indigenous activist Lee Maracle and sing with Inshallah on the Six Nations reserve, to exchange ideas with Taiwanese ethnomusicologist I-to Loh and contribute to a video on using Asian song in worship. I also believe that studying in the DMin program at WLS is equipping me to be a more effective leader, and one of the exciting elements for me this past spring was the opportunity to interview rabbis and pastors in Jerusalem, including our synod’s companion ELCHLJ Bishop Munib Younan. 

As this year is a Synod Assembly year, my time will be given primarily to developing worship for our gathering, but I will also be listening for next steps needed to serve the worship life of our synod as together we continue to offer our praise to God and our prayer for the world. 

To see Debbie Lou and Eastern Synod musicians who are part of Inshallah, the seminary global song ensemble, at the Calvin Worship Symposium 2014 leading Vespers, go to

Faith in Action: