The Liturgy Inspires

Bill Stevens

Bill Stevens first visited Augsburg at the invitation of Cantor Don Armitage who asked him to sub in the tenor section one Sunday when Rob Ulery was out of town. Bill sang that Sunday and never left. Though he had sung in liturgical churches before, including the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., he was immediately smitten with the shape of the liturgy at Augsburg, the flow of the service, and how it all works together in a way that builds upon and honors centuries of tradition.

When Bill came to Augsburg, it filled a need in him that he didn’t know he had–a desire to have a creative voice in the liturgy. Since joining Augsburg, Bill has written many pieces, from tiny acclamations to anthems to full-length works. Bill feels that Augsburg has been uniquely supportive and encouraging to him as a composer, as well as to Bruce Tippette and other composers in the local community. He says, “I have sung in other churches with very fine professional choirs that are stuck in the past. What a joy it is at Augsburg to have a service with Bach at one end and something written this week at the other and have it all work seamlessly. As Pastor Wollner often says, Augsburg is liturgically traditional yet theologically progressive. That description pretty well sums up why Augsburg is the place for me.”

Now Bill sees Augsburg taking a step into community awareness, a direction he feels is a good and necessary thing. And supporting this transition to an outward focus of the church will be the richness of new music to enhance Word and Sacrament.