Navaho Canyon by Don West (

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

Throughout the month of September, finalized program information will be posted. Check back regularly for updates.

Wednesday, January 27

International Day of Learning
This program is designed for convened international guests of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

Worship and Citizenship in an Age of Divisive Politics

One of our callings as Christians is to live as resourceful and redemptive citizens of the countries in which we live—a vexing challenge in an age of political division in so many countries around the world represented at the Symposium. How should preaching, public prayer, and other aspects of worship relate to this? How can music and other artworks contribute to sanctifying and redemptive approaches? How does worship form us for faithful citizenship without becoming politicized? What might this look like in your country? In your neighbor's country? 

Facilitated by Maria Cornou and John D. Witvliet
Panelists include Carlos Colon, Mitri Raheb, Anne Zaki, and others

Thursday, January 28

Concurrent with Symposium are two convened seminar groups:

  • NetVUE Campus Chaplaincy Leaders: Traditioned Innovation in Campus Worship.”
  • Faith Formation Ministries of the Christian Reformed Church: "Faith Formation, Worship, and the Building Blocks of Faith"
    Faith formation is central to all church ministry, including worship, but it is both difficult to define and difficult to talk about. This convened group will consider faith formation through a concept called the Building Blocks of Faith. They will explore how congregations can use this concept to assess and enrich faith formation practices. Several churches will share their experiences in using this concept, and the group will explore what next steps might be taken.

Friday, January 29

Plenary Sessions (repeated on Saturday, January 30):

Improvising New Life: Why Tradition and Innovation Belong Together in Christian Theology and Worship
L. Gregory Jones
with jazz ensemble
Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium

The infamous “worship wars” typically pit “traditional” versus “contemporary” worship and music. But what if “tradition” and “innovation” actually belong together? What if “traditioned innovation” is a biblical way of thinking that is appropriate, indeed crucial, to bearing faithful witness to the Triune God? What might that imply for our worship, our theology, and our Christian life?


Universal Design for Worship: Shaping Worship for People of All Abilities  
Barbara J. Newman
College Chapel

‘Universal design’ is now standard for architecture: we don’t want to retrofit buildings to make them accessible, we want to build them that way from the start. What would it look like for this vision to be extended to the worship services we plan and lead? What if we didn’t need to retrofit our planning to be accommodating to persons with disabilities, but planned them that way from the start?