Lutherans, Anglicans name 2014 Companion of the Worship Arts recipients

In the spirit of Full Communion, for the first time the Companion of the Worship Arts (CWA) Award will be presented to two recipients this year – one each from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC).

The CWA is awarded every two years in recognition of significant contributions to the worship life of the church. The honour recognizes ongoing inspiration and encouragement to others, and service to God, through worship, spirituality and the arts.

This year’s Lutheran recipient is Dr. Joy Berg, who has a “passionate desire to teach, share and model her faith through the gifts she has been given by God,” notes her nomination form. “She is an accomplished pianist, organist, vocalist and conductor who generously shares her talent with the church community.”
Dr. Berg serves as Lutheran Co-Chair of the 2014 National Anglican Lutheran Worship Conference and coordinates Concordia University’s Worship and Music Symposium each summer. She will present at the Hymn Society this year and leads workshops across denominations on sacred music with an emphasis on Canadian hymnody. Dr. Berg is past president of Region 4 of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians (2010-12), served as ELCIC National Convention Musician (2011) and is a frequent musician for Synod Conventions. She served on the ELCIC Program Committee for Worship, the Synod Committee for Worship and the Arts, as a synodical trainer for the introduction of Evangelical Lutheran Worship, as a workshop leader for National Worship Conferences, and as a principle teacher in the Synod’s Leadership Program for Musicians. She was the Canadian representative for the development of the hymnal for the Lutheran World Federation Assembly in Winnipeg in 2003.

Dr. Berg is Associate Professor of Music, Program coordinator, Director of Choral Activities, and chapel cantor at Concordia University College of Alberta, Edmonton. She is a member of Ascension Lutheran Church in Edmonton where she serves as choir director, musician and singer. And she is an active chorister in the professional choir, Pro Coro Canada.  

The Rev. Canon Dr. Graham Cotter is the inaugural Anglican laureate of the CWA. The award is in recognition of a lifetime of contributions by Canon Cotter to the worship life of the ACC in all its expressions. A lifelong student of religion and the arts and prolific writer, he is the producer of several liturgical dramas, an accomplished liturgical dancer, and has collaborated in the design and creation of a major altarpiece, vestments, and even labyrinths. He has dedicated much of his ministry to encouraging local worshipping communities to give expression to their faith through the arts.

In 1994 Canon Cotter and his late wife, Evelyn, donated the seed money for the Sacred Arts Trust, an endowment administered by the Anglican Foundation which continues to provide financial support for creative liturgical expression across Canada through worship and drama, liturgical dance, performing arts, music, and the visual arts. The Sacred Arts Trust has also helped support several National Worship Conferences.

“Graham’s encouragement and support of the liturgical, worshipful arts has increased public appreciation and visibility of the arts,” reads his nomination form, “and he plans to continue this work as long as he is able to breathe!”

Now retired, Canon Cotter lives near Warkworth, Ontario, and continues to serve as an honorary assistant priest at the parish of St. Mark, Port Hope.

The CWA recipients will be presented with their awards at the 2014 National Worship Conference, July 20-23 in Edmonton, AB by ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson and ACC Archbishop Fred Hiltz.

Each recipient was selected by a jury of members from their denomination following an open call for nominations in both churches.

Find out more about the 2014 National Worship Conference and the Companion of the Worship Arts award online:

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 145,376 baptized members in 594 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

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