The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship is excited to announce the refreshing of its grants program, including a new name, “Vital Worship: A Grants Program for Worshiping Communities,” some new emphases and a new leadership team.
After being established at the Worship Institute in 2000, the former Worship Renewal Grants Program awarded more than 600 grants to organizations across North America for projects that could impact public worship at the local, grass-roots level. Former program manager Betty Grit gave faithful and caring leadership to the grants program until her retirement from that position this past summer.
Now, under a new leadership team of Kathy Smith (Associate Director and Program Manager for Grants Programs), Betsy Steele Halstead (Program Coordinator for Grants and Communications and Resource Specialist for Visual Arts) and Cindy DeBoer (Administrative Assistant), and under the guidance of Institute Director John Witvliet, the program has made some tweaks, including the Vital Worship Grants Program moniker.
Says Smith: “The new name is short and easy to remember, positive, life-giving and organic, and we hope will resonate well with our many different constituents."
And with the name change comes a new focus on projects that connect public worship to intergenerational faith formation and Christian discipleship. This is a theme, says Smith, that can unfold in many facets of worship from Bible reading to preaching to baptism and Lord’s Supper, intercessory prayer, congregational song, visual arts, and more.
The sub-title to the new Vital Worship name is "a grants program for worshiping communities" which indicates that the program is open to both emerging and established congregations, as well as other worshiping communities such as seminary, college or school chapel programs and hospital, prison or nursing home ministries.
In addition to the new leadership team and the new program name, the Vital Worship Grants Program also has refreshed webpages on the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship website, including a step-by-step process for applying for a grant, and is rolling out a new, national ad campaign to announce the changes and encourage a wide range of applicants.
"We want to get the word out," says Smith, "that we are looking to fund a wide array of projects from all sorts of worshipping communities. Last year we awarded $300,000 to almost 30 organizations. We want to continue that momentum and take this program even further. We have been blessed by the work of Betty Grit for the past decade, and the foundation she helped establish provides a wonderful launching pad as we seek, relying on the Holy Spirit, to revitalize Christian worship in God's world."