2020 Companions of the Worship Arts Recipients Announced

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Companion of the Worship Arts (CWA).

The CWA is presented biennially as a way to highlight significant contributions and immense gifts in the worship life of the church at both the local and national levels. The ACC and ELCIC have presented the award jointly since 2014, with one recipient from each denomination recognized for their commitment and service to God, through worship, spirituality and the arts.

This year’s Lutheran recipient is Robb Wilson of St. Thomas, Ontario. Wilson, 42, has been involved in worship design and execution for a number of years. Serving as liturgical director for many assemblies, educational events and ordination services, Wilson has excelled at planning and leading worship, while creatively implementing the five senses into his intricate worship space designs. Wilson has widely contributed to reshaping and restructuring of worship spaces at Mount Zion Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Luther Hostel, as well as a host of synodical assemblies, and the 2013 Joint Anglican Lutheran Assembly in Ottawa.

Wilson’s creative touch has helped both enliven and transform congregational worship throughout the Eastern Synod through his work at the biennial conventions. His enriching gift of design perfectly encapsulates a side of the worship arts that often goes unnoticed and underappreciated.

“Robb’s liturgical leadership within the life of our church has been both profound and significant,” says Eastern Synod Bishop Michael Pryse. “He exercises the gifts of that craft to exceptional effect within the life of the church and expresses a keen sensitivity to integrating the particular liturgical context, the needs of the worshipping community and the broader needs of the world.”

A member of Christ Anglican Church in Port Stanley, Wilson was taken aback when learning of his recognition, calling the acknowledgement an “emotionally joyous occasion.”

“I cried in joy and happiness with recognition of what the weight of that honour is and the company of who it holds,” Wilson says. “The recipients before me have modelled what it means to be an artist within my church community, and to be within their company, there are no words. I am blessed to be an instrument of God’s work within the larger community, not just within the church but within the world. My gifts and skills in creativity are a blessing that I hope to continue putting into use in unconventional ways.”

This year’s Anglican recipient is Thomas Roach. Read the full ACC announcement here.

The CWA awards were originally scheduled to be presented by ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson and ACC Archbishop Linda Nicholls at the National Worship Conference “SUBVERSIVE STORY, SONG, SYMBOL: Worship in an Age of Spectacle,” in July of 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic meant the National Worship Conference will now take place in 2021. For more details, please visit: www.nationalworshipconference.org.