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Prevallet Hymn Writing Workshop


February 5, 2022
8:30 am - 12:00 pm CST
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Open to hymnwriters, translators and Concordia Seminary students, this Saturday morning workshop is an opportunity to learn from an expert in the field of hymn writing about the mechanics and craft of writing hymn texts.

This year’s presenter is the Rev. Stephen Starke, who has written more than 200 hymn texts through Concordia Publishing House. Nearly 30 of his texts are found in Lutheran Service Book, including “We Praise You and Acknowledge You,” “Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying” and “The Tree of Life.”

A copy of The Anatomy of Hymnody by Austin C. Lovelace will be provided to each participant at check-in on the day of the event.

This workshop is especially geared toward interested students of Concordia Seminary to equip them to participate in the annual Pamela Ann Prevallet Hymn Competition. Although the competition is open only to students who have completed vicarages, all students may participate in this hymn writing workshop to learn or sharpen their skills in hymn writing.

The presentations will be made available live by Zoom to all Concordia Seminary vicars. Copies of The Anatomy of Hymnody also will be available to vicars by email request to Dean of Chapel Dr. Jon Vieker.


8:30 a.m. Registration, Meet-and-greet with Pastor Starke
9 a.m. Presentation: “The Anatomy of a Hymn: Austin Lovelace’s Overview”
10:15 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m. Presentation: “One Perspective on the Craft of Hymn Writing”
Noon (optional) Brunch in Wartburg with Pastor Starke
(non-meal plan participants pay at the door)
1-3 p.m. (optional) Optional individual coaching. Participants may bring texts they have been working on to share with Pastor Starke.

Rev. Stephen P. Starke

Rev. Stephen Paul Starke was born in 1955 in Bay City, Mich. He graduated from Concordia Lutheran Junior College (now Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Mich.) in 1975 and from Concordia Teachers College (now Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill.) in 1977. He received a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. (1983), and was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry June 26, 1983, at his home congregation of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bay City, Mich. Starke received an honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.)  from Concordia University, Irvine, Calif. (2010); an honorary Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) from Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon (2011) in recognition of his work in the area of hymnody; an honorary D.Litt. from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. (2015), for enriching the life of the church through his hymns; and the Christus Primus award from Concordia University, Ann Arbor (2018) for distinguished service to church and society.

Starke served as assistant pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church (Mayfair) in Chicago, Ill. (1983-85), and as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Middletown, Conn. (1985-2000). Starke was installed in March 2000 as pastor at St. John Amelith Lutheran Church in Bay City, Mich., from which he retired at the end of 2020. Starke served as circuit counselor in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) New England District (1988-97) and as first vice president of the LCMS New England District (1997-2000). Starke served on the Hymn Selection Committee for Hymnal Supplement 98 (1996-97), and he served as the chairman of the Hymnody Committee for the Lutheran Hymnal Project (1998-2006) which culminated in the release of Lutheran Service Book in 2006. In 2005, Concordia Publishing House (CPH) released a book of 122 of Starke’s hymn texts titled O Sing of Christ. CPH also released a CDof Starke’s hymns in 2011 titled “We Praise You and Acknowledge You.” Since the 2005 release of O Sing of Christ, Starke has written an additional 90 hymns; these were released by CPH in 2018 as a second volume of his hymn texts and is titled Marvel at the Mercy.

Starke and his wife, Pat, a physical therapist at McLaren Bay Region in Bay City, Mich., have been married for 43 years. They have four children and three grandchildren.

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