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It is a privilege to be here with you at this annual gathering to explore matters of consequence affecting our churches at the beginning of this new millennium. I feel honored to be invited into the ongoing conversation of the Institute of Liturgical Studies. I've had opportunities to cross paths with many in this Lutheran family through associations at the Liturgical Conference, the North American Academy of Liturgy, and Notre Dame, and all have been positive and enriching experiences. My contacts have served to deepen my appreciation of the strong commitment of the Lutheran churches to promoting life-giving worship within congregations. I am inspired by the desire for unity that runs deep in the Lutheran soul.

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