January 26–28, 2017 • Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
The conference program begins and ends each day with worship.
- Thursday seminars
- Thursday retreats
- Thursday and Friday vespers
- Friday and Saturday plenary addresses
- Friday and Saturday workshops
On Thursday, choose one seminar from Session A and one seminar from Session B or choose one all-day retreat.
Thursday Seminars Session A
A1: Singing Our Savior's Story: Songs for Congregations, Choirs and Worship Teams
James Abbington, Alison Adam, Alfredo Colman, Joel Navarro, Emmett G. Price III, Kathleen S. Turner, Abbington Church Music Academy alumni, moderated by Joyce Borger
Explore a rich variety of music that reflects deeply on the life of Jesus, and is appropriate for any service based on one of the four New Testament gospels, including some songs that focus on "telling the story," others that are adept at "unpacking the meaning of the story," and still others that "help us see ourselves taken up into the story." Examples will include historic texts by Watts and Wesley, music from African-American, Asian, Latino, and Anglo contexts appropriate for use in both contemporary and traditional contexts. Come ready to transcend stylistic divides as we focus our attention on the life-giving ministry of Jesus.
A2: Commemorating the Reformation Around the World: Ireland, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, Indonesia and More
Tony Alonso, Mariano Avila, André Bartlett, Karen Campbell, Sabine Dressler, Joan Thomas, OP, moderated by María Cornou
2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. This anniversary will feel very different in different parts of the world. Too often, our awareness of Protestant and Catholic identity is based only on nearby cultures, without awareness of vastly different experiences around the world, especially in places marked by inter-denominational violence. This seminar offers a fascinating glimpse at difference experiences of Protestants and Catholics in different parts of the world, along with pastoral reflections about how the Reformation anniversary could be commemorated in honest, healing, and redemptive ways.
A3: Prophetic Lament
David M. Bailey, Mark Charles, Danjuma Gibson, Soong-Chan Rah, Gabriel Salguero, Sandra Van Opstal, moderated by John D. Witvliet
When Soong-Chan Rah planted an urban church near Boston, he began with a series of sermons on the Book of Lamentations, a radical counter-cultural approach to ministry that later became the basis for his book Prophetic Lament. This seminar will reflect deeply on themes in this book, focusing on how local ministry context shapes prophetic lament, and probing how we can move beyond talking about lament to practicing it more faithfully. Come for a session that feels at once like a session on worship, evangelism, justice, pastoral care, church education, preaching, and the arts.
A4: Innovation in Worship: Working with a Team to Make Healthy Changes
Jordan Clegg, Dawn Baldwin Gibson, Jonathan Tamayo, Jeff Wong, moderated by Kathy Smith
Listen to a diverse group of panelists from various churches across North America describe how they envisioned and led their congregations through changes in worship. We will consider the value of empowering members’ gifts in worship, and wisdom for healthy change processes. This seminar will be valuable for any church considering changes in worship.
A5: Culture of Collaboration: Alternative to Rivalry and Competition in the Arts
Makoto Fujimura and Bruce Herman, hosted by Debra Rienstra
In 2011–2013 painters Mako Fujimura and Bruce Herman embarked upon an ambitious collaboration spurred on by patron Walter Hansen. At Mr. Hansen’s encouragement they created eight large commissioned paintings in response to T. S. Eliot’s magnum opus Four Quartets. After their initial forays in the studio on this project, Yale composer Christopher Theofanidis was commissioned to write a powerful piano quintet in four movements, and Duke theologian Jeremy Begbie came aboard giving direction to the discourse between the arts and theology—making a fitting foursome in the collaborative project. The exhibit and concert have been seen and performed at Baylor, Duke, Yale, Carnegie Hall, Cambridge University, Hong Kong University, and Hiroshima City University as part of the 70th anniversary of the destruction of that city. Come see and listen to a compelling narrative of joined hearts, minds, and imaginations for Christ’s glory.
A6: The Justice Calling: Challenges and Opportunities
Bethany Hoang and Kristen Deede Johnson, with responses by Lora A. Copley, Luke A. Powery, and Reginald Smith; moderated by Scott Hoezee
Christian leaders and preachers know that the Bible consistently calls us to a greater justice in our lives as God's people. But preachers in particular know that the closer any given issue gets to home, the more a call for justice can get labeled a politicization of the church and of the pulpit. How can preachers and leaders call for justice without being vulnerable to such criticisms? In this seminar authors Hoang and Johnson will present core ideas from their recent book and will enter into conversation with seasoned preachers to ponder how this can all work out best in practice so that the church will truly be a place where people "act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God."
A7: Playing in Luke's Gospel
Though we often think of Bible study as serious business, adding an element of play into our exploration of scripture deepens our emotional connection to the text and can invite our congregations to experience God's Word in a new way. In this hands-on seminar, we will explore and consider contextualized ways to present portions of Luke's gospel in worship.
A8: Worship 101: Giving Witness to the Unseen
Eric L. Mathis, Paul Ryan, and students from Calvin College and Samford University
A fundamental task of worship leadership is giving witness to God. Although we do not see God, we do see evidence of God’s work in the world. We bear witness to God’s work in worship through songs, stories, prayers, and words, and we prompt the congregation to do the same as they embody each action of worship. In this seminar, we will explore the ways worshiping communities name, or give witness to, those things that are seen and unseen. Then, we will imagine how communities similar to or different from our own might teach us about our own faithful witness.
A9: Autism and Your Church
Barbara J. Newman
With one in 68 individuals being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), it is likely that your worshiping community already includes someone with ASD. If you are a pastor, worship leader, musician, church school teacher, or church volunteer, discover specific ways to identify, interact with, and worship with persons with ASD. Using six key areas of difference, this session will take best practices in special education and apply them to a church setting. Leave with a toolbox full of new ideas to try starting next week with both children and adults!
A10: The Value of Making a Mark: Bringing Interactive Visual Art into Worship
Artist Joel Schoon-Tanis will share examples of different ways he has incorporated art into worship. In this digital age people navigate the world through images. They are wired to “read” symbols. Joel will suggest that participating in the creation of an image or symbol during worship helps anchor the liturgy in a very real way. One does not have to be an artist to participate in this hands on seminar. One simply needs to have a creative spirit and be ready to dive in.
A11: Surprised by Scripture: Faithful Christian Engagement with the Cultural, Philosophical, Religious and Political Worlds
N.T. Wright, moderated by Mary Hulst
Explore with N.T. Wright how immersive engagement with scripture can inform how we approach the opportunities and challenges of Christian life together in the world—both in our public preaching and praying as well as in other forms of Christian witness.
Thursday Seminars Session B
B1: Singing Bilingually in Spanish and English: A Vision and Resources for Singing Together on the Journey of Faith
Tony Alonso, Emily Brink, Alfredo Colman, Carlos Colón, Coro Polifónico from the Seminario Internacional Teológico Bautista, moderated by María Cornou and Rebecca Snippe
In North America, we have a splendid opportunity in the years and decades ahead to learn to sing bilingually, transcending a language divide in ways that help us all learn and grow together as we discover scripturally inspired songs from a variety of contexts and cultures. This bilingual music is needed in both cities and rural communities, and in every part of North America, both south and north, both east and west. It can include bilingual versions of deeply loved hymn texts, as well as newly written music and popular coritos. Come explore a sampling of old and new music that can be used in congregations, campus ministries, seminaries or divinity schools, summer camps, nursing homes, parachurch organizations, denominational meetings or local ecumenical or cross-denominational contexts—music that is being gathered for a forthcoming bilingual resource book developed by CICW and GIA Publications.
B2: Trauma, Culture Care and Public Worship
David M. Bailey, Makoto Fujimura, Danjuma Gibson, Chineta Goodjoin, Gabriel Salguero, moderated by John D. Witvliet
What does faithful ministry look like after trauma? What if that trauma is public trauma, like ministry after 9-11 in New York or after recent trauma in Ferguson or Orlando? Hear testimonies and reflections from those who shaped liturgical responses to these events in both "ground zeros" of these kinds of events, as well as in communities who were far removed geographically from them, but who were close in spirit. Ponder the intersection of preaching, worship, pastoral care, and arts ministries for redemptive responses to local, national, and international trauma.
B3: Faith, Work, and Worship: Next Steps for Congregations
Luke Bobo, Denise Daniels, Kate Harris, Matthew Kaemingk, Isaac Wardell, moderated by Cory Willson
A remarkable number of initiatives throughout North America are working to help congregations help people connect their faith with their work. As we began to explore last year, this involves making the connections between Sunday worship and weekday life in the world much more vivid, through adapting worship practices, providing resources for daily devotional life, and—more fundamentally—challenging the frameworks for connecting worship and life that we promote in our ministries. This valuable discussion means quite different things for people in different stages of life and in different cultural and geographic contexts. How can we strengthen the connections between liturgy and faith, faith and work for college students, young professionals, returning citizens seeking to re-enter the workforce, immigrant workers, the unemployed, homemakers, and those approaching retirement? How do these particularities inform our approach to worship and discipleship ministries more generally?
B4: How Churches Around the World Pray for Churches Around the World
Nina Ciesilski, Dwight Kelly, Hanns Lessing, Gerardo Oberman, Ester Widiasih, N.T. Wright, Anne Zaki, moderated by Kathy Smith
Intercessory prayer is an essential part of public worship, and we are called to pray for the flourishing of Christians all over the world. This seminar begins with a brief reflection by theologian N.T. Wright on Ephesians 6:18: “Pray….with all perseverance and intercession for all God’s holy ones….” Then learn from church leaders from Argentina, Indonesia, Egypt, Jamaica, Germany, and Scotland about how their communities pray for the worldwide church, and also how they would like others to pray for them. Come to see the world from several different perspectives, from voices that come to us from beyond a North American context.
B5: Universal Design, Responsive Design: Keys for Welcoming Persons with Varied Abilities
Benjamin T. Conner, Melissa Conner, Barbara J. Newman, Karen Roberts, and Reginald Smith
Worshipers and congregation members certainly do not come in a “one size fits all” wrapping! As you gather for worship you will notice an array of gifts, but you may also see the areas of struggle each one brings to the community. How do worship planners and pastors best weave in best practices for including each one in the conversation with God in worship? Join us as we highlight ideas to get your congregation launched in the right direction as you include members with disabilities.
B6: Preaching Revelation to Millennials
Mary Hulst, moderated by Scott Hoezee
Do college-aged students have much interest in the Bible's most apocalyptic, strange, and difficult book? Are there messages in Revelation that resonate with millennials in these early years of the twenty-first century? Calvin College chaplain Mary Hulst spent the fall semester of 2016 preaching on Revelation. In this seminar she will discuss what that experience was like, bringing in several Calvin students to share what God taught them through those sermons and what insights the Spirit opened up for them as they probed the Bible's last book.
B7: Create Artwork for Worship Space
Gain confidence to create original banners and installations for your worship space using simple techniques practiced in this seminar. During this hands-on session, artist Machelle Knochenhauer will lead participants through the creative process from conception to completion. We will experiment with various materials and construction techniques. The techniques employed are specifically designed for creative group involvement. In addition to artwork enhancing your worship space, the act of creating it will bless those involved.
B8: Sola Scriptura: Encountering God's Word in the Reformation Era and Beyond
Karin Maag, with responses by Mike Abma, Sandra Bowden, Bruce Herman, and Elizabeth Vander Haagen
In his 1523 preface to the Old Testament, Martin Luther declared, "think of the Scriptures as the loftiest and noblest of holy things, as the richest of mines, which can never be worked out, so that you may find the wisdom of God that He lays before you in such foolish and simple guise, in order that He may quench all pride." Luther and his fellow Reformers underscored again and again the importance of the Bible in shaping Christians' faith. Yet the tag-line "Scripture Alone" conceals a richer and more complex relationship that emerged as the Reformers worked out the implications of putting scripture at the center of Christian faith. Panel participants will discuss key aspects of "Sola Scriptura," including the challenges of producing Bibles and commentaries and making them accessible to readers, the drive to transmit the teachings of scripture through sermons and catechisms, and the impact of the Bible in Christianity over time.
B9: Worship 201: Giving Witness to the Urgent
Eric L. Mathis, Paul Ryan, and students from Calvin College and Samford University
A critical task of 21st century worship leadership is to name pressing issues, and give confident witness to the reality of God’s presence in sometimes difficult circumstances. In this seminar, we will identify pressing issues in local and global worshiping communities. Then we will engage past and present worshiping communities as case studies to identify their approach to urgent issues. Finally we will imagine how these communities might teach us about giving confident witness to those issues that are urgent in our time and place.
B10: Defying the Dichotomy Between Evangelical and Liturgical Churches
Melanie C. Ross, with responses from Kevin Adams, Joan DeVries, Luke A. Powery, Lisa M. Weaver
In her book Evangelical vs. Liturgical, Melanie Ross challenges the unfortunate dichotomy between evangelical and liturgical churches, drawing on insights from historical analysis, systematic theology and sociological study of two vibrant evangelical churches. Ross's analysis challenges how each of us thinks about the identity of our own churches, and the profound implications of how we describe this identity for our ministries. Do churches that avoid the term 'liturgical' end up resisting a formative approach to worship? Do churches that embrace the term 'liturgical' end up with tepid evangelical witness? Do churches that avoid the term 'liturgical' end up unable to perceive how entrenched their own implicit patterns for worship might be? Do churches that embrace the term 'liturgical' end up squelching potentially fruitful forms of creative artistry and missional engagement with communities? Come for a lively discussion of congregational identity and ministry practices, as we work together to transcend this dichotomy and embrace a more unifying vision for congregational identity.
B11: Movement and Worship: An Experiential Engagement of Embodiment in Ministry
Cassandra Vander Well
From the earliest origins of the Judeo Christian tradition, dance and movement have been integral to the Christian life and faith practice, moving us individually and communally closer to the heart of God. This seminar will examine the history of liturgical/sacred dance in the church and how a biblical perspective on dance can inform current approaches to weaving movement into the fabric of Christian worship and ministry. Come ready to explore and engage these concepts through movement and dialogue.
On Thursday, choose one seminar from Session A and one seminar from Session B or choose one all-day retreat.
R1: While We Are Waiting, Yielded and Still
This retreat will be limited to 15 people who will spend time together in a home setting, also enjoying fellowship over the noon meal. In this day of quiet together, we will ponder afresh “how deep the Father’s love for us;” enjoy “sweet communion” with Jesus; and pledge anew, God’s Spirit helping us, “with one holy passion,” to return our Lover’s love.
R2: A New Song. A Skillful Song.
Marty Haugen, Wendell Kimbrough, Kiran Young Wimberly, moderated by Greg Scheer
Those of us who feel Psalm 33’s call to write new songs must remember that the Psalm also tells us to play skillfully. In this seminar we will focus on the skills of songwriting for congregations, digging into what it means to balance inspiration and perspiration. Join singer-songwriters Marty Haugen, Wendell Kimbrough, and Kiran Young Wimberly as they speak with Greg Scheer about their approaches to creating new texts, new tunes, and the combining of texts and tunes. The afternoon will be spent discussing participants’ song submissions. Attendees of all levels and musical styles will benefit from this seminar.
R3: Strengthening Your Congregation’s Faith Formation Culture
Syd Hielema, Shannon Jammal-Hollemans, Lesli van Milligen
Our congregations are like gardens, and each of us is like a plant growing there to bear fruit. Most gardens have healthy and unhealthy conditions for growth; in congregations we call this the “culture.” Just as a gardener seeks to maximize the healthy conditions and minimize the unhealthy conditions, so we are called to tend the cultures of our congregations. Our calling is to be congregations that embody the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in all that we are and do. Join us as we identify and assess the health of your church culture, and explore what faith formation and worship practices might be best for strengthening our congregations’ cultures.
Thursday and Friday Vespers
Trumpets, Ashes, and Tears: New Psalmody for the Journey of Faith
Tony Alonso, Marty Haugen, Wendell Kimbrough, Isaac Wardell, Lisa M. Weaver
Songwriters with ministries of writing congregation-friendly settings of the biblical Psalms lead us in sung prayer, along with scripture readings and intercessions focused on ministering to the needs, challenges, and vocation of worship leaders, artists of all kinds, and pastors.
Tú Jesús, nuestra esperanza/Come to Be Our Hope, Jesus
Alfredo Colman, Carlos Colón with Coro Polifónico
A bilingual pilgrimage of songs and prayers that trace the life of Jesus and testify to healing and transformation which Jesus' ministry continues to bring through the Holy Spirit. The service will feature songs for both choir and congregation from Latin America, led by Coro Polifónico from the Seminario Internacional Teológico Bautista from Argentina, including several being prepared for use in bilingual English-Spanish language communities in North America.
A Mosaic of Faith and Hope: A Festival Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs
James Abbington, Emmett G. Price III, Kathleen S. Turner with alumni of the Abbington Church Music Academy
Alumni of the Abbington Church Music Academy of the Hampton Ministers Institute lead a festival of congregation songs from a variety of cultural settings that explore contrasting, but complementary ways that music brings to expression Christian faith and hope.
Celtic Psalms: Finding Light in the Darkness
Karen Campbell, Kiran Young Wimberly, with the McGrath Family from Northern Ireland
In this worship service we pray with psalms set to soulful Irish and Scottish melodies, exploring how God's light shines even in the midst of our darkest nights, guiding us into places of joy, forgiveness, and peace.
Rejoicing in God, My Savior: the Magnificat in Four Acts
Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence and scripture arts team
In this interactive playful and prayerful worship service, we will move through the Great Reversal in Mary's song, embracing God's Kingdom where rulers are brought down and the humble are lifted up.
Friday only Vespers
Silence and Beauty: Prayers for the Suffering Church
Makoto Fujimura, Lily Constantine Kakish, Joel Navarro, Gabriel Salguero, Eric Sarwar, Anne Zaki
This vesper service will focus on prayers for the suffering church, with testimonials, music, and artwork evoked by poignant experiences of faith in Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan, Japan, and the United States.
Many Colors Paint the Rainbow: A Service of Scripture Proclamation, Choral, and Congregational Song
James Abbington, Pearl Shangkuan with alumni of the Abbington Church Music Academy, ACTion Choir, Calvin Alumni Choir, Coro Polifónico
The Calvin College Alumni Choir collaborates with members of Coro Polifónico from the Seminario Internacional Teológico Bautista in Argentina and Artists Creating Together, a Grand Rapids-based choir that empowers individuals with disabilities to learn, grow, and celebrate through the arts to lead songs, hymns, and anthems which express our profound solidarity as members together of Christ's body. Accompanying instruments will include Calvin's Dobson pipe organ, a South American Charango, and a West African djembe, as we explore together what it means to experience the beatific vision of Psalm 133: How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!
Glorifying God in a Diverse World: Next Steps in the Journey
Sandra Van Opstal
Public Worship as Sign and Means of New Creation
A1: Shaping a Congregation’s Worship DNA
This workshop offers wisdom for designing and shaping the first year of worship in new and restart church settings, with practical and theological insights about how worship connects to the tradition, neighborhood, and persons of the church planting context, leader and team.
A2: In Endless Song: Connecting the Music of Worship and Life
Singing is one of the most expressive of all human activities, the way in which we sing our lives to God and to those we love. This workshop will explore the relationship between the music we make in worship and the music we experience in the world, inviting ways beyond polarized conversations about musical styles to a deeper reflection on the richness of God’s gift of song.
A3: Designing Worship from the Bottom Up: Practical Ethnographic Tools for Worship Leaders
Luke Bobo, Denise Daniels, Kate Harris, Matthew Kaemingk, Cory Willson
The “Faith and Work” movement has become popular in many churches in North America in recent years. Many have sought to bridge the gap between Sunday worship and Monday work by showing how Christian liturgy and theology affect how we approach our weekday work. But our weekday work also affects how we inhabit Sunday worship in profound ways, and those who lead and craft liturgies do well to be attentive to this reality. This workshop will explore practical ways for worship leaders to discover the effect weekday work experiences have on worshipers, drawing implications for how to design and lead worship.
A4: Creating Space with an Artist-in-Residence
Jordan Clegg and Joel Schoon-Tanis
Worship and Arts Pastor Jordan Clegg and artist Joel Schoon-Tanis will share their discoveries following a year of an artist-in-residence program at Fellowship Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan. The program set out to create a space within the church for artists through the establishment of a small group and through open studio time. This small group’s artwork was regularly brought into the church’s worship services. Jordan and Joel will unpack both the benefits and challenges of starting such a group. They will build a case for arts integration within the church, while sharing practical insights on what worked for them and what didn’t.
A5: Latin American Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs: Basic and Intermediate Accompaniment
Aimed at keyboardists as well as other instrumentalists, this workshop emphasizes basic and intermediate accompanying techniques such as re-harmonization and rhythmic variations, and applies them to specific examples that illustrate a variety of styles within the Latin American sacred music tradition.
A6: Universal Design, Responsive Design: Keys for Welcoming Persons with Varied Abilities
Benjamin T. Conner, Melissa Conner, Barbara J. Newman, Karen Roberts, Reginald Smith
Worshipers and congregation members certainly do not come in a “one size fits all” wrapping! As you gather for worship you will notice an array of gifts, but you may also see the areas of struggle each one brings to the community. How do worship planners and pastors best weave in best practices for including each one in the conversation with God in worship? Join in as we highlight ideas to get your congregation launched in the right direction as you include members with disabilities.
A7: Teach Me to Pray: Growing the Family Prayer Time
Lora A. Copley and Elizabeth Vander Haagen
This workshop introduces the book Teach Me to Pray: Scripture-Centered Family Worship through the Year. Using samples from the book, we will discuss and practice prayer as a family-deepening, extended conversation with God. Teach Me to Pray is a daily prayer book that guides families in both listening to and speaking to God through songs, scripture readings, guided action and quiet contemplation, organized to follow the life of Jesus through each season of the Christian calendar.
A8: Faith Formation from Birth to Age 20: A Psychology Professor’s Insights for Strengthening Congregational Ministry
What are the most important things to know when working with kids ages 0–2, 3–6, 7–11, early adolescents, and late adolescents? This fast-paced session is a (really, really) condensed version of a course required for Calvin students minoring in Youth Ministry—without the homework. Helpful for parents, pastors, teachers, mentors and anyone who cares about the faith formation of the next generation.
A9: What’s Love Got to Do With It? How the Heart of God Shapes Worship
Sam Hamstra, Jr.
In the conversation about worship over the last three decades, one word has been conspicuously absent. The heart and soul of the Christian life is love, and the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13 insists that worship without love fails to be worship. In this workshop, Sam Hamstra wrestles with questions like: What's love got to do with corporate worship? How does love shape the weekly gathering? Who determines what is a loving act?
A10: The Psalms in Time—The Ever-Ancient, Ever-New Voice of Metrical Psalmody
At the time of the Reformation, metrical psalmody placed the rich storehouse of the Psalms on the lips and in the hearts of Christian communities of many denominations. Many of the old inspired tunes and translations are still forming new generations. In the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, this seminar will explore the use of metrical psalm settings today, examine their potential and their pitfalls, compare and contrast the use of metrical settings with other musical forms, and offer new settings with an ear to how they can form and inspire a community in their faith journey.
A11: The Face of the Beloved: A Collaborative Arts Project
Learn from visual artist Bruce Herman about a generative arts project, "Ordinary Saints," that features portraits by Bruce Herman, poetry by Malcolm Guite, and the music of J.A.C. Redford. This unique project models a collaborative creative process and encourages the various art forms to inform each other. This session will be instructive for any pastor or worship arts leader who wants to explore different approaches and ideas for the arts in worship.
A12: The Challenges and Opportunities of Preaching Matthew
Each of the four gospels has its own flavor, themes, and overall character and so each requires different things of the preacher. Matthew’s Gospel presents a number of challenges, a few of which are peculiar to the present day when biblical literacy in most places has fallen off. Steeped as Matthew is in the Hebrew Scriptures—and so chock-full as Matthew is with citations of and allusions to that part of the Bible—the modern preacher needs to employ extra effort to keep listeners hooked into sermons on Matthean texts. This workshop will consider how best to do this while also exploring other rich parts of Matthew.
A13: Singing and Praying with the Suffering Church
Lily Constantine Kakish, Eric Sarwar, Anne Zaki, moderated by Emily R. Brink
Come to sing with, pray with and learn from three people who have much to teach us: Lily Kakish, the Lebanese composer of the Arabic Lord’s Prayer that is known by every Arabic-speaking Christian; Anne Zaki, from Cairo, who teaches in the oldest and largest Arabic-speaking Christian seminary in the Middle East, and Eric Sarwar, a pastor from Pakistan now studying in the United States.
A14: Singing the Psalms in a Modern Worship Setting
The Psalms were written to be sung. But if your church favors guitar-led modern worship, how do you sing the Psalms? Songwriter Wendell Kimbrough’s pastor answered this question by asking him to write short Psalms refrains that are singable and memorable for his congregation. For the past two years, their church has engaged the Psalm through music each week, following the Revised Common Lectionary. In this workshop, Wendell will share some of the best-loved of these refrains and talk about his church’s journey learning to sing and love the Psalms.
A15: The Sun Rises in the East: Young Composers of Congregational Song and Sacred Choral Music from Southeast Asia
This session features new congregational songs and music for church choir from young composers in Southeast Asia whose works are currently making waves in many parts of the world. This session is recommended for choir directors and singers who are looking for fresh ideas for regular worship, intercultural worship, or church choir repertoire.
A16: Unlocking the Mysteries of Church Sound Systems
Of the many hats worship musicians and pastors wear, "sound system purchaser and troubleshooter" may be the most uncomfortable. Nonetheless, your understanding of how a sound system works could have a huge impact on your congregation's ability to hear the preaching and take part in singing. This session will teach you about microphones, channel strips, speaker placement, and a myriad of other subjects that likely weren’t included in your seminary or music education.
A17: The History of Worship: God’s Story and Our Story
What do people in Jerusalem in the fourth century have in common with people in Anaheim, California, in 1980? What do people in Constantinople in the sixth century have in common with people in Mississippi in 1900s or with people in Geneva in the sixteenth century? What do any of these folks have in common with us? In this workshop, we will look at how history—that is, how the stories of people throughout history and around the world—is God’s story and part of our story. As a church, how can we learn from other worshipers who are sometimes very different from us? What questions are God’s people asking then and now? How could the answers others find shape the questions we ask? We will explore these themes based on recently published volumes in CICW's "Church at Worship" book series with Eerdmans.
A18: Worship: The Embodied Moment for Self and Church Community
Kathleen S. Turner
The guiding question for this workshop is: How can movement gesture enhance the worship of God in ways that are whole, imaginative and fulfilling for both the individual and the collective church body? This workshop will explore the ways in which song, word, prayer, liturgical materials and movement gesture meet within the worship experience. It will pay particular attention to the use of the body as an expressive instrument that embodies and displays reflective thought and honest emotion during the worship moment. This workshop welcomes participants to wear comfortable clothing and shoes in order to explore various worship movements that are both simple and thoughtful.
A19: Loving Your Neighbor with Dementia
Mary L. VandenBerg
By the end of 2015, more than 5,000,000 Americans were living with dementia. This number is expected to increase in the years ahead as the population ages. Situated in a culture that gives little worth to the elderly and even less worth to those who are both elderly and ailing, how should the church respond to people with dementia? More specifically, what might it look like for the church love our neighbor with dementia?
A20: Conversation on Glorifying God in a Diverse World: Next Steps in the Journey
Sandra Van Opstal, hosted by David M. Bailey
An opportunity for conference attendees to ask questions related to the themes presented in the plenary session.
A21: Hosanna: Ecumenical Songs for Justice and Peace
Ester Pudjo Widiasih
This collection of music is gathered from five continents and many different cultural contexts. Each song carries with it a story that provides insights into the unique challenges and piety of worshiping communities around the world. Learning these songs and the stories, gestures, rhythms and instruments that accompany them is a wonderful way to pray for the church around the world and to stretch your community experience toward new empathy for the piety of others.
A22: Conversation on Public Worship as Sign and Means of New Creation
N.T. Wright, hosted by Joan DeVries
An opportunity for conference attendees to ask questions related to the themes presented in the plenary session.
A23: Short Songs: Deepening Our Participation in Worship
Short songs do something different: they deepen, with music, the responses a congregation makes in an act of worship. Often tied to liturgical moments in a service, short songs enable us to gather, to pray, to prepare to hear God’s Word, to affirm, to go forth, to move, to rejoice. They tap into the emotion of worship songs, and they draw on the ancient tradition of chant, but they are neither contemporary nor traditional. We’ll sing about 10 of these songs, gathered by the Iona Community from their own writers and from the world church. They are easily led, enable harmony, and encourage the participation of all ages and abilities.
B1: Music from African-American Traditions for Use in Any Congregation
One of the remarkable stories about music that has emerged out of African-American communities is its reception in communities of diverse cultural backgrounds all over the world. Both spirituals and early and modern gospel songs have been widely sung in Asia and Eastern Europe, and in a wide variety of congregations throughout North America. Come to sing music you can take home for your choir, school, or congregation.
B2: From Generation to Generation: Many Voices Singing the One Body
Tony Alonso and Marty Haugen
Two hymn writers and collaborators, one Roman Catholic and one Protestant, representing different generations, explore how the demographic, ethnic and denominational differences of contemporary American culture offer challenges and opportunities in crafting new, relevant and faithful song for Christian communities. Examples will be offered for discussion, and attendees will be encouraged to be a part of the conversation.
B3: Here Are My Hands: A Practical Workshop on Affirming Vocation in Weekly Worship Practices
Bruce Benedict and Isaac Wardell
While many pastors and worship leaders have a desire to equip their congregation members to approach their daily work as a means of God's kingdom coming into the world, it can often be a more theoretical than practical conversation. Join Isaac Wardell and Bruce Benedict for a workshop providing some very practical first steps for congregations with a desire to address vocation in worship. After surveying individuals working in a number of fields, the leaders of this workshop look forward to sharing answers to some very basic questions such as "As a nurse, how do you wish your worship leader prayed for you in worship?" or "What do you wish your pastor understood about your job?" At the end of this workshop, pastors and worship leaders will leave with very practical tools for addressing this questions in weekly worship services.
B4: Shaping a Reformation Commemoration Prayer or Worship Service
Dale Cooper, Sabine Dressler, Dwight Kelly, Hanns Lessing, Lisa M. Weaver, moderated by Joyce Borger
How can we prepare to commemorate this significant anniversary with both grace and truth, acknowledging both the insights and limitations of the Reformers, expressing gratitude for Christ-centered renewal and lament for divisions and even violence within Christ's body? Come to share perspectives on celebrations in both Europe and North America, and learn about emerging resources for music, public prayer, preaching, and church education.
B5: Most Highly Favored: The Life of the Virgin Mary (Friday only)
Sandra Bowden and Bruce Herman
The title of the exhibition, drawn from the angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary in Luke 1:28 and the Basque hymn, “Most Highly Favored Lady,” sets the tone of the show. Through the many pieces of art in this show, this session will help the viewer reconsider this remarkable woman of the Bible. All Christians recognize Mary as the mother of Jesus, but devotion and admiration for her has been mostly within the Catholic and Orthodox traditions. While her role in the nativity and birth of Jesus is recalled each December, Protestants hear little about her the rest of the year.
B6: Ecce Homo/Behold the Man (Saturday only)
Ecce homo is Latin for “behold the man,” a declaration that refers to the presentation of Christ by Pontius Pilate before the Jerusalem mob who wanted to crucify Jesus. This small exhibition of 20 images demonstrates how artists since the early 16th century depicted this scene from the Passion. Sandra Bowden will walk the viewer through the show pointing out how the image developed and changed over time. Artists in this show include Jacques Callot, Odilon Redon, Schmidt-Rotluff, Guido Reni, Georges Rouault, Salvador Dali and many others.
B7: Approaching Civic Holidays as Occasions of Both Thanksgiving and Lament
Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah
The Psalms form us as people of faith to express both thanks and lament to God. This offers us a perspective that is especially needed when we worship together on or near civil holidays, and face the temptation to promote a civic religion substitute for robust Christian vision. Lament forms us with the language we need to approach and resist systemic racism and dysfunctional theological conclusions that are based on the Doctrine of Discovery, which is buried throughout the history we celebrate (not only in North America, but in several countries around the world). Thanksgiving forms us with the language that helps us express our response to what God has done and is doing around the world, in places where freedom to resist racism and oppression has emerged.
B8: Fresh and New; Tried and True: Organ Resources for Holy Week
Norma deWaal Malefyt
This workshop will introduce recently published organ pieces for Holy Week worship as well as alternative accompaniments for congregational songs often used during the week. “Not-so-recently” published resources that have stood the test of time will also be explored.
B9: Inviting the Text to Direct the Service
Biblical text is central to Christian worship gatherings. Generally, the most significant piece of scripture is the focus of the sermon or the message, and worship planners are happy when they can match that theme in other parts of the worship gathering. What if, however, we invited the text with its various parts and movements to shape the whole of our service more concretely rather than have it be packaged as the teaching contained in a sermon? What if we adopted the movements within a psalm as the separate movements of our worship gathering and we enacted the psalm together? This workshop (for pastors, worship planners, musicians and brainstormers) will walk through several sample services before we brainstorm together.
B10: Limelight and Christian Leadership
Rebecca Konyndyk De Young
Work in Christian ministry and worship leadership often brings a struggle with image, reputation, and audience-pleasing. In this workshop, we’ll learn about the vice of vainglory—both the patterns of its temptation to show off a false self and time-tested spiritual disciplines of resistance to this vice. In a world captivated with selfies and social media, we’ll explore virtuous practices that can help Christians handle the limelight well and show appreciation for each other in ways that glorify God.
B11: The Preacher as Liturgical Artist
This workshop will consider a new metaphor of identity of the preacher as a working liturgical artist. This identity draws on a theology of communion and the doctrine of the vicarious humanity of Christ to relocate the preacher's identity in the creative and ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ. The Preacher as Liturgical Artist connects preachers to the person and work of Jesus Christ, whose own double ministry took the raw materials of the human condition and offered them back to the Father in a redemptive and imaginative fashion through the Holy Spirit. It is in the large creative ministry of Jesus Christ that preachers find their creativity freed to proclaim the gospel bodily within the context of the liturgical work of God's people.
B12: Bringing Hymns to Life on Guitar
We’ve heard many of the great old hymns played beautifully with organs, pianos, and choirs, but their journey into the world of guitar-led worship can be awkward. Old tunes are often abandoned or significantly altered in the name of modernization, but such revision is not always necessary. This workshop will focus on demonstrating and discussing how to translate traditional hymns into a guitar-led band format while keeping the hymn’s soul intact.
B13: Biblical Storytelling Masterclass
How can dramatic arts and oral interpretation be used in worship? By applying skills from these art forms to scripture recitation! Bring your memorized Bible narrative to share and hone. Participants are welcome to observe, or to work with Joy in deepening their communication of God's Word.
B14: Teenage Youth Worship Leaders: Wisdom for Teenagers and Those Who Mentor Them
Eric L. Mathis
“Sometimes, it’s so awkward to stand in front of your friends and lead them in worship,” a teenager recently said. It may be awkward at times, but it’s also an unfathomable privilege that comes with much responsibility. This workshop, designed with teenagers and their mentors in mind, will focus on the task and responsibility of leading worship when those closest to us are present. More importantly, this workshop will remind us all of the ways God fits into the work of teenagers seeking to be an example in speech, behavior, love, life, and purity.
B15: Celtic Psalms: Soulful Songs for Congregational Worship
The McGrath Family and Kiran Young Wimberly
Sing through Celtic Psalms with Kiran Young Wimberly and The McGrath Family of Northern Ireland, learn about the background of these traditional Irish and Scottish melodies paired with psalms, and explore ideas for incorporating them into worship.
B16: What Makes Christian Worship Trinitarian?
Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
The doctrine of the Trinity is old, deep, and mysterious. How should Christian trinitarianism manifest itself in worship—that is, beyond simple repetition of the trinitarian formula? How might deep trinitarian worship bless God and ourselves? How might it even affect the way we look at each other after worship is over?
B17: The Evangelical Mosaic: Patterns and Tensions in 21st Century Worship
Melanie C. Ross
How do we communicate the relevance of Scripture? How do we engage music and the arts? How does our worship connect with our witness in the world? This workshop provides an “aerial view” of how 12 geographically and liturgically diverse congregations across the US have engaged these three questions. The variety of their answers may surprise you and encourage you to think more deeply how your congregation’s approach to worship fits into the vibrant theological mosaic.
B18: Worship and Proclamation in a Multicultural and Multigenerational Congregation
There are many challenges and opportunities to liturgy and proclamation in a multicultural and multi-generational context. This session seeks to unpack both a theology and practice for this ministry.
B19: Essential Worship: Introducing People to the Art of Leading Worship
Greg will offer reflections on his new book. This is an ideal session for beginning worship leaders, anyone who mentors, teaches, or encourages them, or anyone who is preparing to lead brief training sessions for a worship team or worship committee in their context.
B20: Choral Music for Choirs of All Sizes
Come to this choral reading session led by Calvin College Alumni Choir director Pearl Shangkuan, featuring 12-15 pieces accessible to choirs of all levels. Friday’s session will feature pieces published by GIA. Saturday’s session will feature pieces published by Augsburg.
B21: Young Children and Worship
Research as well as experience is showing churches that creating a sacred space for children where they can encounter the living God is vital for their faith formation. This workshop will explore different approaches churches can take to create this sacred space and how to engage your congregation in inviting children into the adult worship experience. It will talk specifically about the program Young Children & Worship and how it can impact the children and adults at your church or religious institution.
B22: The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving at Baptism and the Lord's Supper
John D. Witvliet
In the past 40 years, many Protestant communions have recovered a robust, historically-oriented prayer of thanksgiving at celebrations of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Nearly every official denominational liturgical publication has featured strong examples of this practice. Yet thousands of local congregations do not practice this for a variety of reasons, including concern over the length of the service, and—quite likely—not really understanding the spiritually formative power of this practice for the daily life and faith of Christian believers. This session will feature a robust testimony about the value of this ancient practice, deeply rooted in the Psalms, and present flexible and creative ideas for local communities in a variety of contexts to embrace this practice.
C1: Communion Service Conference Choir Rehearsal
Join the Communion Service conference choir directed by Joel Navarro. The choir will participate in the Saturday closing communion service. Please attend both Friday and Saturday to prepare for the final worship service.
C2: Singing Psalms: An Outpouring of Contemporary Song for Congregational Use
Alison Adam, Alfredo Colman, Wendell Kimbrough, Isaac Wardell, moderated by Joyce Borger
Remarkably, even since the publication of Psalms for All Seasons just a few years ago, over 30 new Psalm-based songwriting and recording projects have emerged from a variety of contemporary worship leaders across North America and beyond. While some of these settings are designed for solo voices, many are well-suited to congregational use, and are worthy heirs to the legacy of congregation-based Psalms re-established by Luther and Calvin. Come to explore a variety of examples of this music, as well as the stories behind the songs. In addition, to consider new songs you might use in your context, come ready to explore how you can shape a worship culture in your context that is eager to embrace and explore the rich texts of the Biblical Psalms.
C3: Explaining Christian Worship to the Skeptical or Questioning Seeker
What are best practices for introducing people to the practices of Christian worship? How can we give an account of what we do in worship in warm, winsome, and convicting ways that move beyond surface level explanations to address the deepest spiritual hungers of our age?
C4: Celebrating the Church Year in the Global South
André Bartlett and Bruce Theron
Imagine Christmas during summertime, and Easter during the fall. How would these alignments—common in the global south—change how we invite worshipers to engage in these celebrations? Come not only to learn about worship in South Africa, but also for insights and reflections about how this learning can challenge and deepen our response to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus wherever we live and worship.
C5: Sola Scriptura: Biblical Text and Art Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation (Friday only)
Christendom will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, and in honor of this event Sandra Bowden will give a gallery tour of Sola Scriptura: Biblical Text and Art. This exhibition offers a variety of artifacts and art to give new insight into the historical marvel of the Reformation with an emphasis on how Luther’s translation of the Bible into German then inspired subsequent English translations. Translating the Bible, the first section of the show includes original pages from Martin Luther’s 1529 New Testament, the Tyndale Bible, The Great Bible, Geneva Bible and the 1611 Kings James Bible. Illuminating the Bible and Picturing the Bible, two other sections of this exhibition, are a visual testimony of how the scriptures have compelled artists who cherish the Bible to incorporate its text into their art.
C6: Reflections from a Young Preacher (Friday only)
There are moments when young preachers (and if they’re honest—all preachers) find themselves feeling like they have run out of things to say. It could be because of spiritual turmoil, burnout, fear of redundancy, writer's block or other reasons. This workshop will share the struggles this young preacher has experienced, provide a time for others to share, and then offer how this preacher has been moved from these struggles to new horizons in preaching. The session includes responses by seasoned pastor Mike Abma.
C7: Innovation in Worship: Implementing Change with a Vital Worship Grant
Dawn Baldwin Gibson and Jonathan Tamayo (Friday), Jordan Clegg and Jeff Wong (Saturday), moderated by Kathy Smith
Learn about making changes in worship in healthy ways and discover the benefits of applying for a Vital Worship Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Grants program manager Kathy Smith will moderate a discussion with recent grant recipients. This workshop will be valuable for any church considering changes in worship.
C8: Cultural Intelligence for the Pastoral Leader
Come learn how to develop and practice the capacities that build our cultural intelligence (CQ) within the body of Christ. CQ is an essential skill for all those in the worshiping community, especially those in leadership positions. Like cultural competency, cultural intelligence has no fixed end point but instead is a process that offers insights about individual capabilities to cope with multi-cultural situations, to engage in cross-cultural interactions, and to interact faithfully in culturally diverse groups.
C9: The Church as Intergenerational Community
Lynn Barger Elliott with a panel of Calvin students
There is much talk about the importance of “Christian community.” What is meant by that? Is it the same as the “church”? Is it possible to have one without the other? How do different generations relate to each other within this community? A panel of Calvin College students will address what Christian community means to them, how it relates to the church, why it matters in the world, and how they may think differently about this topic than previous generations. They will also reflect on the significance of worship in terms of establishing and maintaining intergenerational Christian community both within and beyond the church’s walls.
C10: Beauty, Silence, and Culture Care: An Interview with Makoto Fujimura (Friday only)
Makoto Fujimura and Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
Theologian Neal Plantinga engages with artist and author Mako Fujimura on his vision for complementing recent work on creation care with what he has termed "culture care"—a redemptive approach to artistry and other forms of cultural engagement which seeks to contribute to "the healing of the nations." What is it like for a novelist, filmmaker, and painter to embody this culture care approach? And what might this teach those who lead worship or congregational life? Come for a wide-ranging discussion that promises to include a discussion Martin Scorcese's latest film, Mako's own painting, and some resourceful examples emerging from next-generation leaders around the world.
C11: Suffering, Grief, and the Psalms of Lament
Danjuma Gibson and Cory Willson
Human experience is laced with suffering and grief in this good but broken world. The Christian community needs forms of dealing with suffering and grief in healthy ways. While a growing emphasis is being placed on lament in some parts of the Christian world, more work needs to be done to encourage integration into the worship practices of local churches. The Psalms are ancient prayers that the people of God have consistently looked to for forming their worshiping life. The poetry of the Psalms has traveled well across ethnic and linguistic differences throughout history, reflecting a rich diversity of human experiences and cultural realities. Worshipers have found themselves in the words of the Psalms as they bring their own experiences of hurt and loss before God. This session provides a theological framework for thinking about communal practices of lament and offers concrete examples from a diverse group of worshiping communities.
C12: Music, Congregational Identity, and the Relationships that Spark Effective Ministry
Chineta Goodjoin, Marty Haugen, Dwight Kelly, moderated by Kristen Verhulst
How does music express and form a congregation's identity? How can that identity be defined and shaped by the relationships it seeks to nurture and the mission it seeks to promote? What if we approached music not just from the point of view of the music we may like, or the music that most quickly fills the seats in church, but rather the music that nurtures the healthiest congregations over time?
C13: Visual Arts 101: An Exploration of its Purpose-full Role in Worship Today
Betsy Steele Halstead
The visual arts can reflect the deeper meaning and purpose of worship. We will explore how the visual has influenced corporate worship and how art plays a broad range of roles in worship. We will discover the biblical foundation for encouraging disciplined creativity, see how every space speaks theologically, and consider the purpose-full visual elements of worship.
C14: Justice and Worship: From Genesis to Revelation
Bethany Hoang and Kristen Deede Johnson
Learn how to respond to violent injustice in our world today through immersion in the whole story of scripture, allowing God to form us in Jesus Christ as God prepares, sends, and goes with us into this work of justice. This session will offer in-depth, interactive teaching on scripture and spiritual disciplines, with an emphasis on the role of worship in the pursuit of justice. Participants will be encouraged to reflect on their specific congregational context and the ways in which they might weave a commitment to God's passion for justice more deeply within their worship services.
C15: A Sweet Sound: Absorbing God’s Word in the Language of the Heart
Many people around the world are multilingual but do not have access to the scriptures in their mother tongue. What changes when a person hears God’s Word in their own language as opposed to their second or third language? How does the translation of key theological terms into a person's mother tongue change their understanding? Beyond language, some cultures are oriented to oral methods of communication rather than reading and writing. What methods, resources, and new technology are available to people who prefer to listen to God’s Word rather than read it? This talk will be a wide-ranging discussion how to make God’s Word available to people in a language and format that is most meaningful to them. Explore how insights from a Bible translator might challenge you to think about how people in your community absorb the deep meaning of scripture.
C16: Coaching: HELP!
Barbara J. Newman
We have heard your cries for some brainstorming help! After last year’s discussion of Universal Design for Worship, many communities were looking for very specific information to better include individuals in their congregation with a disability. Sign up for a 30-minute slot where you or a small team from your church can meet with Barbara J. Newman for some brainstorming support.
C17: The Contemplative Worship Leader
Parker Palmer writes, “At root, contemplation and action are the same.” For worship leaders, a deep well of spiritual practice is vital amid the activity and demands of worship leadership. But as the anxious and hurried, our spirituality is often found wanting. New and ancient patterns in Christ’s Spirit, however, are available to worship leaders, and in this workshop we will together explore how to find life and vitality in our diverse contexts and through our varied our personalities.
C18: Teaching Children about the Meaning of the Lord's Supper
Joel Schoon-Tanis and Carrie Steenwyk
Gathering at God's Table is a new, vividly-illustrated bilingual children's book which introduces young children to the meaning and significance of the Lord's Supper. Learn from the illustrator and co-author key lessons about how we can invite children to ponder the mystery and grace of the Lord's Supper, in families, church education contexts, and in worship itself.
C19: Caring Worship: The Essential Link Between Public Worship and Pastoral Care
Whether your liturgy is printed or not, long or short, formal or more spontaneous, the same every week or different, it is filled with rich potential for providing pastoral care. Everyone who comes to worship brings with them needs, fears, hopes, and both acknowledged and unacknowledged vulnerability, longing for God's grace to bring healing. How can worship strengthen pastoral care? How can pastoral conversations all week long inform worship? This is an ideal workshop not only for pastors, but also for anyone involved in pastoral care in the congregation and any worship leader who is eager to embrace the essential pastoral dimensions of being a leader.
C20: Forum for Christian High School Chapel Programs (Friday only)
moderated by John D. Witvliet
All Christian high school students and their leaders are invited to this informal time of mutual sharing and learning about the deep meaning and purpose of worship within the context of Christian high school worshiping communities.
C21: What J.S. Bach's Music Means for Worship Today (Friday only)
Christiane Bräutigam, with responses by Emily R. Brink
What is it like to be a church musician today in the same place that J.S. Bach once worked? In what ways can Bach's music be a model for us? How can some of Bach's music still be used? What about contexts where Bach's music could not be used directly, but could still inform how we approach music in the church? How are people remembering Bach, and how are patterns of remembrance changing over time? Learn from the insights and practices of a resourceful German organist and conductor, who ministers every day in a city that is constantly abuzz with people looking back to Bach.