Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

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Benjamin M. Stewart

Gordon A. Braatz Associate Professor of Worship, Director of Advanced Studies

Benjamin M. Stewart

Phone: 773-256-0769

Education | Areas of Expertise | Profile | Published Works | Sermons

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B.A., Capital University
M.Div., Trinity Lutheran Seminary
S.T.M., Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
Ph.D., Emory University

Areas of Expertise

Topics that Dr. Stewart is available to address at adult forums and other congregational events

Renewal of congregational worship life
Worship and ecology
Natural burial as a Christian practice
Baptism: history, theology, renewal


Benjamin M. Stewart, PhD, is the Gordon A. Braatz Associate Professor of Worship and Director of Advanced Studies at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, where he has taught since 2009.

A frequent conference speaker and a Lutheran pastor, Ben previously served as pastor to a small, Appalachian community in Ohio, and as village pastor to Holden Village retreat center in the Glacier Peak Wilderness of Washington.

In addition to articles in a number of journals including WorshipLiturgy, and The Christian Century, Ben is author of A Watered Garden: Christian Worship and Earth’s Ecology (2011). He is a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy and serves as convener of its Ecology and Liturgy Seminar. He is currently writing an ecotheology of natural burial practices.

Ben and his wife Beth live in Western Springs, near Bemis Woods and the Salt Creek, and are parents of two sons, Justin, in high school, and Forrest, in college.

Find Benjamin on Twitter: @bstewLSTC

Published Works


A Watered Garden: Christian Worship and Earth's Ecology. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress (2011).

Worship Guidebook for Lent and the Three DaysMinneapolis: Augsburg Fortress (2009). With Susan Briehl, Mark Mummert, Liv Larson, and Gail Ramshaw.


“Why We Need an Altar Call to the Font,” The Yale ISM Review: Vol. 2: No. 1, Article 3. (2015)

Listening for the Accents: Noticing Patterns in the Conversation about Table and Font,” in Let’s Talk: Living Theology in the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, 19, no. 4, Advent 2014.

Invitation and Open Table” in Table and Font: Who is Welcome?, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2014.

The Place of Earth in Lutheran Funeral Rites: Mapping the Current Terrain.” Dialog 53, no. 2 (June 1, 2014): 118–26. 

A Forgotten Body of Knowledge? The Earth as Tutor in Prayer. Let’s Talk: Living Theology in the Metropolitan Chicago Synod. Volume 18, no. 2 (Easter 2013).

Book review: Worship as Repentance: Lutheran Liturgical Traditions and Catholic Consensus by Walter Sundberg. Theology Today 70, no. 1 (April 1, 2013): 83–85.

The Risen Gardener,” Blogging Toward Sunday, Easter Sunday 2013, on The Christian Century website.

Palm/Passion and Paradox,” Blogging Toward Sunday, Palm/Passion Sunday 2013, on The Christian Century website.

Living By the Word: Easter Sunday 2013.” The Christian Century, March 20, 2013, p. 23.

Living By the Word: Palm Sunday 2013.” The Christian Century, March 20, 2013, p. 22.

Review of The Four Gospels on Sunday: The New Testament and the Reform of Christian Worship, by Gordon Lathrop.” Worship 87, no. 1 (January 2013): 77–79.

"Worship Without Walls: Taking Liturgy to the Streets" (cover story). The Christian Century v. 129, no. 20 (October 3, 2012): 22–25. Read the article online.

Spiritual Nomads: Exploring the Landscape, Points of Interest of Young Adults in Worship.” (cover story) The Lutheran, August 2012, p. 20-25.

Edited volume: Liturgy 27.2, theme issue on Liturgy and Ecology, February 2012, invited guest editor

Committed to the Earth: Ecotheological Dimensions of Christian Burial Practices.” Liturgy 27.2 (February 2012).

“Lessons and the Arts for Advent 2 – 4 and Christmas Day.” Lectionary Homiletics and (December 2011).

"Water in Worship: The Ecology of Baptism," The Christian Century 8 February 2011 v. 128 n. 3.

“‘I Too Must Sing When All Things Sing:’ Paul Gerhardt’s Nature Hymns.” CrossAccent: Journal of the Association of American Lutheran Church Musicians 15:1 (2007): 40-44.

“Liturgical Preparation: Reviving the Center by Reaching Toward the Horizon.” Liturgical Ministry 16 (Winter 2007): 30-35.

“O Blessed Spring: Paschal Initiation in an Age of Ecological Disintegration.”  Seattle University Theology Review 6 (2006): 76-88.

“Flooding the Landscape: Luther's Flood Prayer and Baptismal Theology.” CrossAccent: Journal of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians 13: 1 (2005): 4-14.

“Robert Hovda: Facing the Assembly.”  Worship 78:5 (September 2004): 421-444.


Introduction, Sundays and Seasons: Preaching. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2015.

“What, then, do theologians mean when they say ‘culture’?” in Worship and Culture: Foreign Country or Homeland? After Twenty Years: The Ongoing Life of the Lutheran World Federation Study Series on Worship and Culture. Gláucia Vasconcelos Wilkey, editor. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015.

“Baptismal Water in Lutheran Worship and on the Earth: A Living, Sacramental Landscape” in Eco-Lutheranism: Lutheran Perspectives on Ecology, edited by Shauna Hannen and Karla Bohmbach, . Minneapolis: Lutheran University Press, 2013 87–99

Shifting the University: Faculty Engagement and Curriculum Change,” in Susan A. Crate and Mark Nuttall, eds. Anthropology and Climate Change: From Encounters to Actions. Left Coast Press, 2009. With Peggy F. Barlett.


The Role of Baptismal Water at the Vigil of Easter in the Liturgical Generation of Eco-theology. Ph.D. dissertation, Emory University, 2010. Published at Emory University's Electronic Thesis and Dissertation repository:


Interview of Don Saliers and Emily SaliersPractical Matters: A Transdisciplinary Multimedia Journal of Religious Practices and Practical Theology, Issue 1. Spring 2009.


The 2011 Byberg Preaching lectures that Benjamin Stewart and Barbara Rossing and gave in Oregon are now available online for downloading or listening (click on the year at the right; media archive); Barbara gave three lectures and one sermon; Ben Stewart gave one lecture and one sermon.

Page last modified Nov 24, 2015