Navaho Canyon by Don West (

Symposium on Worship  -  January 28–30, 2016  -  Grand Rapids, MI, USA

a growing list of confirmed presenters   -  see this list of featured publications by presenters

Jennifer Ackerman, director of the Micah Groups program with the Ogilvie Institute of Preaching at Fuller Theological Seminary, where she equips ministry leaders in their journey to become empowered, wise preachers who live and lead at the convergence of worship, preaching, and justice. 

Vanessa Allen, assistant director of the Grand Rapids African American Youth Chorus and music specialist for Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Mariano Avila, professor of New Testament and director of the Certificate in Hispanic Ministry Program, Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The certificate program trains pastors and leaders in the Grand Rapids area in strategic areas of ministry to enhance their service to the church.

David M. Bailey, director of Arrabon and program affiliate with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Arrabon is a ministry that provides cultural training and worship resources for reconciling Christian communities.

Jeff Barker, professor of theatre at Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa, and author of The Storytelling Church: Adventures of Reclaiming the Role of Story in Church (Webber Institute Books, 2011).

Robert J. Batastini, retired vice president and senior editor of GIA Publications, Inc., of Chicago. He has served in parish music ministry for 60 years.

J. Todd Billings, Gordon H. Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology at Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan, and the author of several books including Union with Christ (Baker Academic, 2011), winner of a Christianity Today Book Award, and Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ (Brazos, 2015).

Michael Burkhardt, organist, choral clinician, and director of worship and the arts at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Livonia, Michigan. He is internationally known for his innovative and inspiring hymn festivals and for his creative work with children.

Mark Charles, speaker, writer, and consultant who works on issues of race, culture, and faith. He works through the ministry 5 Small Loaves and is a program affiliate with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship in the area of worship and culture.

Peter Choi, pastor at City Church San Francisco, senior fellow at the Newbigin House of Studies, and a member of the Newbigin Faculty at Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan. 

Carlos Colón, composer, liturgist, and native of El Salvador; coordinator for worship initiatives at Baylor University and resident scholar at Baylor Institute for the Studies of Religion, Waco, Texas. 

María Cornou, resource development specialist for international programming and Spanish language resources, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. She is completing her PhD in theology with the Free University of Amsterdam.

Michael J. Crosbie, editor-in-chief of Faith & Form, a journal that exists to provide and exchange knowledge, insight, and creativity among those who create and use religious art and architecture. He is also professor of architecture at University of Hartford.

Duane Davis, recently retired as director of vocal music at Grand Rapids Community College after 39 years as a full-time music educator. He is director of vocal jazz at Indiana University and musical advisor for Grand Rapids African American Youth Chorus.

Karetha Davis, founder and artistic director of Grand Rapids African American Youth Chorus, whose primary purpose is to bring cultural awareness of the rich and diverse legacy of African American composers and arrangers.

Lisa De Boer, professor of art, Westmont College, and author of Whose Art? Which Church: Mapping the Terrain of the Visual Arts in the Worshipping Church (forthcoming, Eerdmans).

Kevin den Dulk, professor of political science and director of the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College.

Elizabeth Dias, correspondent for TIME magazine. She is a graduate of Wheaton College and Princeton Theological Seminary. Her story "The Rise of Evangélicos" made the cover of TIME in April 2013.

Peggy Goetz, associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Calvin College. Her current research explores the experiences of stroke survivors in their church communities.

Rawn Harbor, one of the preeminent African American Catholic liturgists and musicians in the U.S. today. A gifted pianist and composer, he is a sought-after workshop facilitator, speaker and liturgist.

Zac Hicks, pastor of worship at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He is an avid blogger ( and songwriter and spends his recording energies on reimagining old hymns and writing new ones.

Syd Hielema, team leader for Faith Formation Ministries for the Christian Reformed Church and co-directs a youth ministry infrastructure development project in Canada.

Zebulon M. Highben, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities at Muskingum University in Ohio. He conducts several choirs and teaches conducting, choral methods, and applied voice. He also serves on the faculty of the annual Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival.

Carol Hochhalter, director of the Music and Worship program at Kuyper College, Grand Rapids. Carol studied music at Northwestern College, and studied worship under Robert Webber at Northern Seminary and the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. 

Mary Hulst, chaplain of Calvin College and author of a forthcoming book on preaching.

Monique Ingalls, researcher, network builder, and musician teaching at Baylor University. Published in the fields of ethnomusicology, religious studies, and media studies, she is series editor for Ashgate Press's new Congregational Music Studies book series and co-founder of the biennial "Christian Congregational Music: Local and Global Perspectives" conference.

Meg Jenista, pastor of the Washington D.C. Christian Reformed Church. She is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a Th.M. in preaching, also from Calvin Theological Seminary.

L. Gregory Jones, senior strategist for the H.E. Butt Family Foundation, and also the Williams Professor of Theology and Christian Ministry at Duke University. From 1997-2010 he was dean of Duke Divinity School.

Peter Jonker, preaching pastor at La Grave Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and author of Preaching in Pictures: Using Images for Sermons that Connect (Abingdon Press, 2015).

Matthew Kaemingk, director of Fuller Theological Seminary's Institute for Theology and Northwest Culture based in Seattle, and editor-in-chief of the online journal Christ & Cascadia.

Laura Keeley, a regional catalyzer for Faith Formation Ministries of the Christian Reformed Church and director of children’s ministries at 14th Street Chr. Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan. She has a number of publications, including Celebrating The Milestones of Faith (Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2009), Psalms for Families (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, 2013) and The Church Staff Handbook (Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2014).

Robert J. Keeley, professor of education at Calvin College; director of Distance Learning for Calvin Theological Seminary; and author of several books, including Helping Our Children Grow in Faith: How the Church Can Nurture the Spiritual Development of Kids (Baker 2008).

Charles Kim, Korean ministry coordinator and ethnic ministry leader for the Christian Reformed Home Missions. He has been a church planter and lead pastor of Ttokamsa Seoul Church, reaching out to a unique community of people in the district of Gangnam in Seoul, Korea, which is the epicenter of a new culture in Asia. He travels globally to consult and speak on issues related to the next society and leadership.

David H. Kim, executive director of the Center for Faith & Work based at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City. He oversees all the ministries of the Center and is the pastor of faith and work at Redeemer. 

C.J. Kingdom-Grier, associate director of admissions and assistant to the president for racial initiatives, Western Theological Seminary. He is pastor of music and worship at Maple Avenue Ministries in Holland, Michigan.

Jaime Lázaro, a Peruvian journalist who has lived in the United States for almost twenty years. He founded two important pastoral conglomerates in southern California. He has sought unity in the church and worked for immigrant rights. He also serves as a pastor at Iglesia El Centro in Colorado Springs.

Swee Hong Lim, Deer Park assistant professor of sacred music at Emmanuel College, Toronto, ON, and the director of the Master of Sacred Music Program. He also serves as the director of research for the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.

Jeanne Logan, fiber artist based in Grand Rapids. She has numerous commissions in both liturgical spaces and other venues.

Eric Mathis, assistant professor of church music and worship leadership at Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, where he teaches courses in music and worship; he also serves as program director of anima: the Forum for Worship and the Arts.

Sandra McCracken, singer, songwriter, and hymn-writer from Nashville. Over the course of nine studio albums, Sandra has developed a body of work that encompasses hook-driven melodic pop, contemporary re-castings of classic hymns (a founding member of Indelible Grace Music), and children's music. She has focused her musical efforts toward songs for the church while serving as music minister for her local parish community. Her new album is ‘Psalms.’

David McNutt, associate editor at IVP Academic, an imprint of InterVarsity Press; a guest assistant professor of theology at Wheaton College; and an ordained teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). 

Maria Monteiro, assistant professor and chair of the Music Department at Baptist University of the Américas (BUA) in San Antonio, Texas, where she teaches courses in music and Christian worship. Maria is also the music director at Primera Iglesia Bautista Mexicana (First Mexican Baptist Church) in San Antonio.

Richard J. Mouw, professor of faith and public life and president emeritus, Fuller Theological Seminary. Prior to joining the Fuller faculty in 1985, he taught in the philosophy department at Calvin College. Mouw has also served as visiting professor at several institutions, including the Free University in Amsterdam. He is the author of numerous books, including When the Kings Come Marching In: Isaiah and the New Jerusalem (Eerdmans).

Barbara J. Newman, a church and school consultant for CLC (Christian Learning Center) Network and program affiliate with Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. She is the author of the recent book Accessible Gospel, Inclusive Worship (CLC Network, 2015). She is a frequent national speaker at educational conferences and churches.

Mark Noll, who is on the history faculty of the University of Notre Dame, is the co-author of Is The Reformation Over?  An Evangelical Assessment of Contemporary Roman Catholicism (Baker, 2005); and Protestantism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2011).

Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., professor of systematic theology and president emeritus, Calvin Theological Seminary, and senior research fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship; he is the author of numerous books, including Reading for Preaching: The Preacher in Conversation with Storytellers, Biographers, Poets, and Journalists (Eerdmans, 2013).

Denise L. Posie, co-director of the Reformed Leadership Initiative and pastor/congregation consultant in Pastor-Church Relations in the Christian Reformed Church in NA.  She is the author of the new book, Consider a Greater Purpose: Vashti, Esther and the Courageous Women Who Followed.

Emmett G. Price III, professor of music, Northeastern University, Boston; founding pastor of Community of Love Christian Fellowship, Allston; columnist for GIA Quarterly; noted scholar of Christian worship and African American Sacred Music with numerous articles, book chapters, and publications including The Black Church and Hip Hop Culture: Toward Bridging Generational Divide (Scarecrow, 2012).

Mitri Raheb, senior pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, Palestine. He is president of Diyar Consortium and of Dar al-Kalima University College in Bethlehem, and serves as president of the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. He is author of many books, including Faith in the Face of Empire: The Bible through Palestinian Eyes (Orbis, 2014).

Wen Reagan, PhD graduate in American Christianity from Duke University, in the area of cultural history of contemporary worship music in America. Wen also serves as music director at Christ Community Church, Chapel Hill, and contributes to Cardiphonia, a network of church songwriters that produce worship music for the joy and benefit of the church.

Debra Rienstra, professor of English at Calvin College and author of several books, including So Much More: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality (Jossey-Bass, 2005) and Worship Words: Disciplining Language for Faithful Ministry (Baker Academic, 2008).

Ron Rienstra, professor of preaching and worship arts at Western Theological Seminary, and co-author of Worship Words (Baker Academic, 2008).

Sue Rozeboom, assistant professor of liturgical theology at Western Theological Seminary. She co-authored Discerning the Spirits: A Guide to Thinking about Christian Worship Today (Eerdmans, 2003).

Paul Ryan, associate chaplain for worship, Calvin College, and resource development specialist for mentoring worship leaders at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. 

Charsie Sawyer, professor of music at Calvin College and director of the Calvin Gospel Choir. Her new book is Gospel Vocalises & Warm Ups: Engaging Mind, Body & Spirit.

Greg Scheer, minister of worship at Church of the Servant, Grand Rapids, Michigan; music associate at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship; author of The Art of Worship: A Musician’s Guide to Leading Modern Worship (Baker, 2006).

Kathy Smith, associate director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and program manager for the Institute’s grants programs. She is an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church, adjunct professor of church polity at Calvin Theological Seminary, and author of Stilling the Storm: Worship and Congregational Leadership in Difficult Times (Alban, 2006).

Reggie Smith, a Christian Reformed Church pastor who recently served as senior pastor of Roosevelt Park Community Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Olivia Stewart, director for children’s discipleship at Central Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan; minister for family and children’s ministry for the national offices of the Disciples of Christ Church; and ordained in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Enamored with children and dedicated to the communities that nurture and love them, Olivia works to foster a culture of openness, spontaneity, joy, and eagerness for a relationship with God.

Frank A. Thomas, Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Homiletics and director of the Academy of Preaching and Celebration, Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Adam M. L. Tice, a widely-published writer of hymn texts, a song leader, and Mennonite pastor. Four collections of his hymns and a recording are available from GIA Publications.

Sandra Maria Van Opstal, pastor at Grace and Peace Community in Chicago, and author of The Mission of Worship (IVP, 2012) and a forthcoming book on leading worship in a multicultural world.

Howard Vanderwell, resource development specialist with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and adjunct professor of worship at Calvin Theological Seminary; he is editor and author of The Church of All Ages: Generations Worshiping Together (Alban, 2008).

Larry Visser, minister of music and organist, La Grave Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the composer of the new collection Praise God in the Heights: Descants for Use with Lift Up Your Hearts.

Lisa Weaver, doctoral candidate at the Catholic University, Washington, D.C., and ordained pastor in the Baptist church. She serves on the Vital Worship Grants board for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.

Cory Willson, Jake and Betsy Tuls Assistant Professor of Missiology and Missional Ministry, and director of the Institute for Global Church Planting and Renewal, Calvin Theological Seminary. 

Raymond Wise, professor of practice in the African American African Diaspora Studies department; associate director of the African American Arts Institute; and director of the African American Choral Ensemble, Indiana University. He is a singer, pianist, composer, teacher, and frequent guest lecturer and conductor at events around the world. He has penned more than 600 compositions and served as a church musician for more than 30 years.

Anne Zaki, assistant professor of Practical Theology, Evangelical Theological Seminary, Cairo, Egypt, and program affiliate for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship in the area of Middle East worship resources.

Joyce Ann Zimmerman, director of the Institute for Liturgical Ministry, Dayton, Ohio, and author of the new book Worship with Gladness: Understanding Worship from the Heart (Eerdmans, 2014).