Program

Symposium on Worship  -  January 26–28, 2017  -  Grand Rapids, MI, USA


2017 program information will be posted in late August.

The program information below is from the 2016 conference. 

View the 2016 conference program booklet (pdf).

Wednesday, January 27

International Day of Learning

This pre-conference program is designed for the convened international guests of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.

Worship and Citizenship in an Age of Divisive Politics
Facilitated by María Cornou and John D. Witvliet
Panelists include Carlos Colón, Judith Laoyan-Mosomos, Mitri Raheb, Anne Zaki, and others
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? 

Gospel Conference Choir Rehearsal

Gospel Conference Choir (6:00 p.m.)
Raymond Wise, director
Join the Gospel conference choir directed by Raymond Wise. The choir will participate in the Friday night service: Lord, Make Me An Instrument of Your Peace: A Festival of Song.

Join one or both conference choirs:

Gospel Choir: rehearses Wednesday and Friday at 6 pm
Participates in Friday night 7 pm service

Communion Service Choir: rehearses Friday and Saturday during Session C
Participates in Saturday afternoon communion service

Thursday, January 28

Thursday Morning Worship (8:30 a.m.)

Please choose one worship service. They are repeated on Thursday evening.

Isaiah 43
Mary Hulst, preaching, with the Calvin Worship Apprentice team

Isaiah 53, "Looking for a Savior"
Reggie Smith, preaching, with the Hope College worship team

Retreats

Choose to attend one full-day retreat (four options listed below) or choose two seminars to attend (one from list A (am), one from list B (pm)).

Retreat 1: While We Are Waiting, Yielded and Still
Dale Cooper
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.

Retreat 2: Leading Congregations in Song: Techniques and Resources for Organists
Michael Burkhardt, with Larry Visser, hosted by Norma de Waal Malefyt 
Michael Burkhardt will explore how choices about harmony, tempo, registration, and other techniques can form an assembly into a strong singing congregation—drawing particularly on songs and hymns often used during Lent and Eastertide. The session will also explore how the very same song or hymn can be led in quite contrasting ways depending on the context of the service and the season. The session will also include a presentation by Larry Visser on the use of descants in worship, featuring his new collection of over 200+ descants that will be available to session participants.

Held at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church. Transportation provided.

Retreat 3: A New Song. A Skillful Song
Sandra McCracken and Adam Tice, 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 critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Sandra McCracken and widely published hymn writer Adam Tice 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.

Retreat 4: Faith Formation, Worship, and the Building Blocks of Faith
Syd Hielema, Laura Keeley, and Robert J. Keeley
Faith formation is central to all church ministry, including worship, but it is both difficult to define and difficult to talk about. During this retreat, participants 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 church groups will share their experiences in using this concept, and all the participants will explore how this concept might be used in their worshiping communities.

Instead of one full-day retreat, you may select two Thursday seminars:

Seminar A (10:15 a.m.)

A1: Worship 101: Principles and Practices for Word, Song, & Discipleship
Eric Mathis, Paul Ryan, with Nate Glasper and students from Calvin College and Samford University
Learning to lead worship encompasses what you do and who you are. It entails spirituality as much as it requires skill. In this seminar, we will explore two vital practices of worship leadership: choosing songs and presenting scripture. Along the way we will discuss how we engage these practices as a matter of discipleship, identify cultural trends that resist our efforts, and recommend habits for faithful and healthy leadership.

A2: Preparing to Remember the Reformation
Robert J. Batastini, Peter Choi, Karin Maag, David McNutt, Mark Noll, Lisa Weaver, and Joyce Ann Zimmerman, moderated John D. Witvliet
In 2017, churches around the world, both Protestant and Catholic, will mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. How we mark this milestone will say as much about us, and our own sense of identity, as it does about the events of five centuries ago. Indeed, the history of past milestone anniversaries (100, 200, 300, and 400 years ago) reveals stunningly different ways of remembering this history—and some crucial lessons about what to avoid this time around. Come for a fast-paced tour of histories of the Reformation and vigorous discussion by both Protestant and Catholic leaders about how we can do our remembering in profoundly sanctifying ways.

A3: Solid Resources for Lively Preaching
Jennifer Ackerman, Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., and Frank Thomas, moderated by Scott Hoezee
Preachers know that unless they receive fresh input from good resources, sooner or later their weekly output in the sermon will get thinner and thinner. But where are the solid resources on which the preacher can rely? What best practices exist to enrich preaching? In this seminar Jennifer Ackerman will discuss the vital role of peer learning to keep preachers fresh, even as she highlights a number of resources being used by the Micah Group project of peer learning groups. Neal Plantinga and Frank Thomas will also present ideas from their experience of resourcing preachers. Plantinga will speak of his role in leading the “Imaginative Reading for Creative Preaching” seminars and Thomas of his work with the “Preaching as Celebration” digital lecture series. Together the presenters will give seminar participants hands-on ideas on how to engage the resources and opportunities that are available.

A4: Best Contemporary Worship Music You May Not Know
David M. Bailey, Bruce Benedict, Zac Hicks, Emmett G. Price III, Wen Reagan, and Sandra Maria van Opstal, moderated by Monique Ingalls
In the age of the internet, we all have access to hundreds of thousands of songs. Hundreds more are written each week. There are dozens of remarkable songs written that are biblically faithful, musically excellent, theologically robust, liturgically fitting, and singable by ordinary people—but they can be hard to find! For this session, we have asked a group of resourceful, imaginative leaders to search the globe for fabulous examples of songs to sing, and to share with us not only songs to try back home, but better ways of finding them, for in this internet age, we are all “curators.” Come to sharpen your powers of discernment.

A5: Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling With Incurable Cancer, Cancerous Racism, and Life in Christ
J. Todd Billings, Mark Charles, and Mary Hulst, moderated by C.J. Kingdom-Grier
Todd Billing’s Rejoicing in Lament (Brazos Press) has opened up profound pastoral conversations for hundreds of families struggling with a cancer diagnosis. The book has significant implications for worship, challenging congregations to follow the lead of the Psalms in practicing candid lament as an essential aspect of deeply joyful worship. The first hour of this session will probe what Todd and his readers are learning about lament, and then our discussion will turn toward the practice of prophetic lament in the face of the cancerous racism that continues to shape so much of contemporary life—in nearly every country around the world. Be assured: the point of this session is the recovery of profound Easter-shaped joy in worship, the only kind of joy that matters.

A6: Worship and Citizenship in an Age of Divisive Politics
Matthew Kaemingk, Judith Laoyan-Mosomos, Richard J. Mouw, and Anne Zaki, moderated by Kevin den Dulk
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 not only in the United States and Canada, but also in Cairo and Singapore?

A7: Wisdom for Leading through Changes in Worship in Diverse Communities
Michael C. Chen, Steven Guthrie, John Huizinga, Maria Monteiro, moderated by Kathy Smith
Is your worshiping community facing change in worship and looking for wisdom and advice? Do you believe change is needed in your worship and wonder how to initiate it in healthy ways? In this session a panel of leaders who have introduced and managed change in worship in very different worshiping communities will share their wisdom, stories and best practices. From smaller and larger churches and universities, these leaders have experienced the joys and challenges of leading authentic worship in changing communities that vary denominationally, racially, in size, and in local context. The panel will be moderated by Kathy Smith, manager for the Vital Worship Grants Program, and will include representatives of two universities and two congregations that have engaged in Vital Worship grant projects.

A8: The Formative Power of Art and Architecture in Worship
Michael J. Crosbie and Lisa De Boer
Hear from two experts whose work puts them in touch with a wide variety of worshiping communities across North America. First, art historian Lisa De Boer will share insights from her forthcoming book, The Visual Arts in the Worshiping Church (Eerdmans) about how Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant worshipers relate to the meaning of art in such different ways. Then, Michael Crosbie, editor of Faith and Form, will take us on a memorable tour of recently built or renovated award-wining worship spaces, taking note of the underlying motivation and artistic vision of master architects and the congregations they work with. This is an ideal session not only for artists and architects, but also for people engaged in other forms of ministry, especially those who are eager learners about the cultures that shape communities.

A9: The Artistry of Scripture for Biblical Storytellers
Jeff Barker and Northwestern College Drama Ministries Ensemble
Our primary book is not just a book! It’s meant to get off the page. Come and learn different ways we can present the Bible verbatim. Professor Barker is encouraging the church in why and how to reclaim the voice, action, and artistry of scripture. Jeff is a playwright and author of the book The Storytelling Church. His Northwestern College students will join in this morning full of activities and performances surrounding biblical storytelling (in solo and groups). Bring a memorized scripture to share.

Seminar B (1:30 p.m.)

Choose two seminars to attend (one from list A above, one from list B below) or choose to attend one retreat (listed above).

B1: Worship 201: Principles and Practices for Word, Song, & Discipleship
Eric Mathis, Paul Ryan, with Emily Andrews and students from Calvin College and Samford University
Worship leaders rely on resources. Choosing a song or selecting scripture can be as easy as the click of a mouse. But in our digital age, there are two resources that have stood the test of time: the hymnal and the lectionary. Whether in physical or virtual form, they root the worship leader within the church across time and place and provide a framework for continued growth in skill and spirituality. In this seminar, we will outline techniques for using the hymnal and the lectionary as vital resources for contemporary worship ministry and discipleship.

B2: The Sermon: Making It Work (Every Week!)
Mary Hulst and Peter Jonker, moderated by Scott Hoezee
Preachers know that Sundays are relentless—there seems to be one every week. Mary Hulst and Peter Jonker are every-week preachers, too; each of whom has recently written a book to help preachers tackle their daunting task successfully week after week. Peter Jonker will consider particularly how finding a controlling image is a powerful tool for propelling a sermon forward and for speaking to the listener’s imagination. Mary Hulst will help preachers recover basic tools that will keep sermons from going off the rails (and how to put them back on the rails in case things start going bad on any given week!). This seminar will be practical and focused on the wonderful, if challenging, task of proclaiming God’s Word to God’s people. 

B3: Worship Leader as Pastoral Musician
David M. Bailey, Rawn Harbor, Monique Ingalls, Sandra Maria van Opstal, Wen Reagan, and Ed Willmington, moderated by Zac Hicks
Musicians who lead worship are not merely performers, directors, coordinators, or music industry peddlers. We are primarily pastoral people—priestly leaders who shape the prayers and acclamations of God’s people. This vision for the role of a worship leader makes a huge difference in how we go about our work, how we select music and how we lead it, how we convene teams of musicians and how we relate to our worshiping communities. Come to hear what a wide variety of pastoral musicians are learning about their own work and to imagine what steps you and other leaders in your congregation might take to grow in this way.

B4: Worship in Times of Tension
Denise Posie, Kathy Smith, and Cecil VanNiejenhuis, moderated by Joyce Borger
We've all been there or will be—planning worship when things just aren't the way they are supposed to be. Tension and even conflict will happen in every church at some point. In this seminar we will examine the common dynamics at play in such situations, how to plan and lead worship wisely in the midst of them, and how to design worship that is hospitable to the Spirit’s work of reconciliation.

B5: Connecting Sunday’s Worship to Monday’s Work
Peter Choi, Laura Robinson Harbert, Meg Jenista, Matthew Kaemingk, and Reggie Smith, moderated by Cory Willson
“Faith and Work” has recently become a major theme of Christian renewal in congregations across North America and beyond. Our faith matters a great deal for how and why we work, and we can all grow in making this vision more specific and tangible. The liturgy not only effects how we approach our weekday work, but our weekday work also shapes how we inhabit Sunday worship. This session will explore how public congregational worship relates to faith and work, exploring tangible ideas of preaching, public prayer, and the arts.

B6: Gifts of Hispanic and Latino Protestants in North America
Mariano Avila, Carlos Colon, Jaime Lázaro, and Maria Monteiro, moderated by María Cornou 
This session will explore the depth, gifts, wisdom, and insights that have emerged through Christian worship among the rapidly growing Hispanic and Latino worshiping communities in the United States. It will also explore the way these gifts can bless and strengthen all kinds of churches—both multicultural churches and culturally homogenous churches; Spanish-speaking, English-speaking, and bi-lingual churches; and churches of other ethnic and cultural groups here in North America and across the world. The session will highlight themes identified in a recent consultation on bilingual worship resources and suggest practical strategies for further learning in your context.

B7: Heartsongs for Good Friday and Easter: Insights and Inspiration from Worshiping Communities Across North America and Around the World
Robert J. Batastini, Swee Hong Lim, Judith Laoyan-Mosomos, Emmett G. Price III, and Raymond Wise, moderated by John D. Witvliet
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is at the center of Christian faith, life, and worship. Every Good Friday and Easters, Christians from all over the world gather in remarkably different contexts to tell this story—and sing about what it means for us and the world God loves. During this session, panelists will be asked to choose two songs from their ministry context which unpack the significant of Jesus’ death and resurrection—songs which are deeply loved and that poignantly express the meaning of these events. Come to discover some new songs that you will want to sing, to glimpse the beauty of Christ’s church in variety of ministry contexts, and to see again the power and beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

B8: Imagining Liturgical Art for Your Worship Space
Jeanne Logan
This seminar will explore the possibilities of liturgical art for the participants' own worship spaces. Participants will send in images of a space for which they are interested in creating a meaningful artistic liturgical environment. After seeing examples of Jeanne's commissioned work and that of others, the group will discuss various options for utilizing their own spaces and what media might be used. Consideration will be given to both the liturgical season and the character and needs of the congregation. Limited to 25 participants.

B9: The Body and Voice of Worship Words
Jeff Barker and Northwestern College Drama Ministries Ensemble
Lots of words are spoken in worship: the Bible, sermons, poems, testimonies, prayers, invitations, transitions, and even announcements. How can we artists help each other (and the whole church) speak worship words with joy, clarity, energy, and authenticity? Join an afternoon of activities, encouragement, and inspiration surrounding both what we say and how we say it.


Convened Seminar Gathering
Concurrent with Symposium is a convened group for NetVUE Campus Chaplaincy Leaders: “Traditioned Innovation in Campus Worship”

Vesper Services (4:15 p.m.)

Please choose one. These vesper services repeat on Friday. 

  • The Good News for the Hurting: A Service of Scripture and Song
    Michael Burkhardt, the Choral Scholars, and Zebulon Highben, featuring texts by Adam Tice
    Led by choir and organ, this service of scripture and song surrounds a few Isaiah texts, bringing good news for a hurting world. 
  • Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?
    Jeff Barker, C.J. Kingdom-Grier, and Northwestern College Drama Ministries Ensemble
    The Northwestern College touring theatre ensemble along with CJ Grier will help us remember the story of the arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. This service is a verbatim presentation of Isaiah 53 and Luke 22-24.  
  • “Through It All:” Our Story, Our Song
    Emmett G. Price III, and several alumni from the James Abbington Church Music Academy
    This service will feature the inspiring prayers, songs, and readings from the African American worship tradition past and present.
  • My Soul Finds Rest in God: Psalms of Praise, Lament, and Hope
    Sandra McCracken with Hope College musicians
    Join with singer-songwriter Sandra McCracken for contemplative songs and liturgical prayers, while making space within this worship service for both lament and joy.
  • God of Justice, Love, and Mercy
    Fuller Theological Seminary worship team, with Jennifer Graffius, Laura Robinson Harbert, Todd Johnson, and Ed Willmington
    Led by singers, band, organ, and strings, the Fuller Seminary Chapel worship leaders utilize traditional and original resources to guide worshipers through a prayerful liturgy of confession and forgiveness. 

Dinner break and additional options (5:00 pm)

Dinner available for purchase in the Commons Dining Hall

Planning with Hymnary.org 
Come and find out what's new at Hymnary.org and learn how it can become a valuable tool in your weekly worship planning. Hymnary.org is a comprehensive index of over 1 million hymn texts, hymn tunes, and hymnals, with information on composers, lyrics, scores, and more!
Greg Scheer

Learn about the Vital Worship Grants Program 
Would your church or organization be interested in a whole year of focusing on worship? Come and learn about the Vital Worship Grants Program at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, which seeks to foster vital worship in congregations, parishes, and other worshiping communities in North America through projects on a wide variety of worship-related topics. Come learn how you might develop a grant proposal for 2017!
Kathy Smith and Betsy Steele Halstead


Thursday PM Worship (7:00 p.m.)

Please choose one worship service. They are repeated from Thursday morning.

Isaiah 43
Mary Hulst, preaching, with the Calvin Worship Apprentice team

Isaiah 53, "Looking for a Savior"
Reggie Smith, preaching, with the Hope College worship team

Friday, January 29

Friday Morning Worship (8:30 a.m.)

Please choose one worship service. They are repeated Saturday morning.

Isaiah 61
Frank Thomas, preaching, with Michael Burkhardt and Rawn Harbor

Isaiah 60, "A Light to the Nations"
Richard J. Mouw, preaching, with Urban Doxology

Plenary Sessions (10:15 a.m.)

Please select one plenary session; both are repeated on Saturday.

Improvising New Life: Why Tradition and Innovation Belong Together in Christian Theology and Worship
L. Gregory Jones with jazz ensemble
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 
‘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 at all levels of ability and disability, but planned them that way from the start? 

Session A Workshops (11:45 a.m.)

A1: Spanish and English Together: Learning and Worshiping Interculturally
Robert J. Batastini and María Cornou
Changes in the United States’ demographics can be seen by churches as a problem or as an opportunity. In this workshop, we will explore some reasons, challenges, and benefits of worshiping interculturally.

A2: Rediscovering Biblical Lament and Christian Hope in a Congregational Context
J. Todd Billings and Ann Conklin
How can congregations reclaim the biblical practice of bringing both grief and anger before the Lord in prayer and worship? How can these practices ultimately be an expression of Christian hope in God’s promises? In this workshop, Rev. Ann Conklin will explore questions such as these in an interview with Todd Billings about his book Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ. There will be an opportunity for further questions from attendees on this topic as well.

A3: A Cross-Cultural, Multi-Generational Discussion on Contextualized Worship
Mark Charles
The Christian Church has been contextualizing its worship of Christ for thousands of years. But the gift of contextualization, modeled by Jesus and commanded by Paul, was not passed down to Native and Indigenous followers of Christ. This workshop will seek to understand the Biblical model for contextualizing the gospel and listen to many voices regarding contextualized worship across the spans of tribes, cultures, languages, and generations. There will be time for questions from session attendees.

A4: The Church as Intergenerational Community
Todd Cioffi 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.

A5: A Refugee Looks at the Psalms of Ascent
Carlos Colón
Recent unrest, conflict, and war have caused an unprecedented refugee crisis. The plight of Syrian, Iraqi, and other Middle Eastern refugees has shocked the whole world. Also, many youth and children are trying to enter the United States from Central America to escape violence and poverty. Carlos Colón will share some of his story as a refugee of the civil war in his native El Salvador. In this session, we will strive for a Christocentric reading of the Psalms of Ascent, journeying with our eyes set on Jesus, and also keeping in sight our call to love, show compassion and hospitality to those different from us, and offer them good news, as we follow a Savior who is full of grace and truth.

(On Saturday, this workshop is offered in Spanish.)

A6: Learning to Worship for the Life of the World
Steven Guthrie
For the Life of the World is one of the most influential books ever written on the sacraments. But this classic text by the Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann encompasses all of the Christian experience, inviting the reader into a pattern of “sacramental living.” This seminar will provide an accessible introduction to For the Life of the World and will think about how its vision might shape our worship and our lives.

A7: Projection Practices
Betsy Steele Halstead
Worship leaders and planners are well aware of the pervasive use of projection media for songs, prayers, litanies, art, and advertisements in our worship services. There seems, however, to be so little discussion to guide us in its thoughtful and effective use. In this workshop we'll explore best projection practices that serve to enable the full, conscious, and active participation of the people.

A8: Psalms From the Soul
Rawn Harbor
Explore musical settings of the biblical Psalms shaped by a black gospel idiom, the power of call-and-response approaches to singing, and a deep commitment to engage the full congregation in singing as prompted by soloists or choirs. The Psalm settings were designed to link Psalms with appropriate Christian celebrations of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and for other commonly celebrated occasions. Come both to find music to sing in your context and to be inspired by these soulful settings of the biblical text. 

A9: The Worship Pastor: Thinking Through the Pastoral Dimensions of Worship Leading
Zac Hicks
Whether we know it or not, as worship leaders, we are pastors. The services we plan and lead have a formative effect on the worshipers with whom we gather weekly. The question is not if people are being formed by our leadership, but how. In this workshop, we will explore various vignettes, different lenses through which we might see the pastoral ministry of worship leading. In a mixture of biblical framing and practical application, we will look at the Worship Pastor through metaphors like Prayer Leader, Theological Dietician, Caregiver, Mortician, War General, and Emotional Shepherd. 

A10: Singing the Great Fifty Days
Zebulon M. Highben
Easter Sunday is the beginning of the church’s longest festival: the Great Fifty Days of Easter. Yet it can be a musical challenge to connect the exuberance of Easter Sunday with the season’s culmination at Pentecost. This workshop presents ideas for musically and liturgically unifying the Easter season while highlighting each Sunday’s individual lessons and themes. Hymns, canticles, and choral repertoire from several publishers will be featured.

A11: Understanding Your Congregation's Unique Worship Culture
Monique Ingalls
Each local congregation has its own unique history, geographical and social location, demographic makeup, and mission. As worship leaders, we need to understand each of these aspects of our local church's "worship culture" in order to choose and adapt worship resources that engage the mind, heart, and spirit of our congregation members. This workshop introduces models and methods from the social sciences, including ethnography, interviewing, and structured observation, that we can use to explore these dynamics within our congregations. It then highlights practical ways how we can use the insights we glean from these methods to more deeply understand and engage our congregations. 

A12: Conversation on Traditioned Innovation
L. Gregory Jones, hosted by Kathy Smith
An opportunity for conference attendees to ask questions related to the themes presented in the plenary session. 

A13: Using Images to Preach to the Imagination
Peter Jonker
Preachers are always looking for ways to make their sermons more memorable. In this workshop we will study controlling images as a tool for crafting impactful sermons. We will enlist the help of poets and other artists as we seek to sharpen our skills.

A14: Incorporating Faith and Work into the Worship Service
David H. Kim
How do we help people connect their faith to their work in our worship services? For many Christians, bringing faith into the workplace falls into two main categories—evangelism and ethics. While certainly Christians should be eager to share their faith with anyone who asks, and while we hope that Christians would be known as trustworthy ethical people, is this what it means for the gospel to transform work? This seminar will present how the framework of motivations, relationships, and world can expand our understanding of what it means to bring faith into our work.

A15: Do You Know Where You're Going To? A Glimpse of the Next Generation of Congregational Song
Swee Hong Lim
This workshop will explore the next generation of congregational song. This emerging genre occupies a soundscape of music-making where its character is postmodern in the West and postcolonial in the Global South. It seeks to revitalize local, cultural traditions in a myriad of communities' efforts of meaning-making in the 21st century. This is a guided conversation time where participants are encouraged to share their perspectives and observations. Musical examples will be shared.

A16: How Can Art Bring About Such a Great Thing?
David McNutt
How can a consideration of one of the most divisive issues during the Reformation helpfully inform the church’s corporate worship today? Questions surrounding the theology and practice of the church’s sacraments—including their number, their nature, and their function—were among the most hotly contested issues during the Reformation. Likewise, the category of sacrament has been appealed to in recent considerations of the arts and their place in the life of the church. In this session, participants will consider what we can learn from the sacramental life of the Reformation church and how that can inform our understanding of the potential role of the arts in its worship today.

A17: Worship and Public Engagement
Richard J. Mouw
That corporate worship must equip us for serving God's purposes in the world, certainly means that we must attend to the social-political-economic dimensions of our lives as citizens. How do we structure our congregational patterns with this in mind without making our worship "too political"? What are the proper ways of preaching, praying, singing, and catechizing about the obligations of citizenship? We will focus in this workshop on preaching during times of political controversy, on the use of "patriotic hymns," and other practical—but challenging—concerns that emerge in our efforts to be biblical faithful in planning worship.

A18: Conversation on Universal Design for Worship
Barbara J. Newman, hosted by Lyn Ten Brink
An opportunity for conference attendees to ask questions related to the themes presented in the plenary session. 

A19: Singing with Martin Luther and the Lutherans
Mark Noll
This workshop is designed to explore the riches of Lutheran hymnody for those, like Professor Noll, who are not themselves Lutherans. We will take a quick historical journey to note important landmarks. The rest of the session will take advantage of one of the recently published American Lutheran hymnals to explore the contours of contemporary Lutheran song. The hope is to help those outside the Lutheran tradition appreciate its historical richness and think about exploiting those riches to enliven worship in all traditions.

A20: Wording the Sunday Sermon
Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
One of the preacher's big challenges is finding language for the Sunday sermon that will engage the most of her or his listeners. But what kind of language is that? What are some of its features? Using multiple examples from published sermons, this workshop will identify, discuss, and recommend certain excellent features of well-worded Sunday sermons.

A21: The Holy Spirit and Sacraments: Calvin's Take
Sue Rozeboom
John Calvin has been acclaimed “the theologian of the Holy Spirit.” His discussions of the sacraments attest to the fittingness of this identity. Together, we'll harvest Calvin's thought, expecting our understanding of the sacraments to be nourished and our celebration of the sacraments to be refreshed.

A22: Preaching to the Streets: Homiletics for Urban Ministry
Reggie Smith
How can the Bible speak to the hopes and fears of urban people who don’t know anything about the Christian life? This workshop will provide biblical case studies and principles for preaching to people who struggle with bringing the ancient text to the struggles of life today.

A23: Sanctifying Art: Inviting Conversation Between Artists, Theologians, and the Church
Deborah Sokolove
In her book, Sanctifying Art, Deborah Sokolove offers ways to understand the arts as a way of thinking and understanding, as a tool for healing the broken places in the world, and even as a divinely ordained means of grace. To sanctify an object or an activity is to set it aside for divine purposes, to purify it, to make it holy. Similarly, individuals and even communities are said to be sanctified when they live in close alignment with God’s will. Art is one of the activities that human beings have been given to aid in the process of sanctification. In order to do that, we need to think clearly about what art is, the role of artists in the community, and how the arts affect those who participate in them, both as makers and as audience.

A24: Liturgy That Cares
Howard Vanderwell
Some call it the “preliminaries,” some hastily put it together, and others have very elaborate liturgies. This sectional is built on the conviction that it’s time to take a thorough new look at the pastoral power of the order of worship. We will try to identify the needs worshipers bring to church, and we’ll examine the liturgy with an eye to finding the best ways to meet those needs. Our goal is the development of liturgies that join with the sermon in providing pastoral care.

A25: "Praise God in the Heights: Descants for Worship" (offered Friday only)
Larry Visser
This session will explore the new publication of 164 descants composed by Larry Visser designed to accompany the hymnal Lift Up Your Hearts by sharing ways in which descants can be used in worship and by singing several examples from the collection.

A26: "Worship with Gladness": Beginning a Conversation about Worship’s Deep Meaning
Joyce Ann Zimmerman
We might lament that the religious culture in society is in decline. Or we can raise glad hearts that many people are intensely committed to the deep meaning and purpose of worship. This workshop will explore key issues for worship today, elements of worship, God’s Word in worship, baptismal identity and worship, and the relation of worship to everyday living.

Session B Workshops (1:15 p.m.)

B1: Fostering a Safe Place for Courageous Conversations: Lessons Learned from 100 Peer Clergy Groups around the World
Jennifer Ackerman
Many peer clergy groups tend to be comprised within a particular affinity group—pastors from a single denomination or culture group, men or women, etc. What happens when you form an intentionally diverse group made up of men and women from a variety of cultural, denominational, theological, and socio-economic contexts? Diversity changes the conversation. This workshop will explore the challenges and the gifts of participation in this kind of "safe place for courageous conversations" as experienced by more than 1,000 clergy participating in Micah Groups over the past five years.

B2: When Music Helps Us Hear the Bible
Jeff Barker
Sometimes the Bible rejoices when joined by song and sound! Experience a variety of simple ways music can help us receive the scripture in worship with our heads and our hearts.

B3: Writing and Recording Worship Music with Your Music Team
Bruce Benedict and Wen Reagan
Would you like to integrate song writing and recording into your church music team, but not sure how? Or maybe you've written some songs, but are not sure where to start with recording and audio production? Come learn from Wen and Bruce, fellow songwriters and producers of Cardiphonia, a national collective of songwriters and producers, who write and record new worship music for the benefit of the church. In this workshop you'll learn some tips on how to direct the creativity of your music team into recorded music that you can share with your local church and the wider body of Christ.

B4: May I Have This Dance?
Michael Burkhardt
This workshop—for choir directors, dancers, organists, and more—will focus on realizing the dances of hymns with the voice, with the body, and at the keyboard. Alexander Technique principles and the music education research of Edwin Gordon will provide foundations for the hymn experiences.

B5: The Promise and Peril of Preaching for Revival: Lessons from George Whitefield's Life and Ministry 
Peter Choi
Seasons of renewal are God's gift to the church. They are also occasions for controversy and division. Together we will reflect on one of history's greatest revival preachers to understand not only how revivals come but what follows in their aftermath. "God's anointed barnstormer," according to J. I. Packer, and "the greatest English preacher who has ever lived," in the estimation of Martin Lloyd-Jones, George Whitefield also made crucial mistakes and had his fair share of regrets. To pay attention to the long duration of this famous preacher's life is to learn both the promise and peril of revivals in the church. 

B6: El culto como práctica formativa (offered Saturday only, see below for description)
María Cornou

B7: How the News Shapes Our Prayers and Preaching: Deepening our Loving Engagement with the World God Loves
Elizabeth Dias, Richard J. Mouw, Anne Zaki, moderated by John D. Witvliet
If our public prayers and preaching are at all responsive to the needs of the world, then how we glean information about the world is crucial. Whether through new or old media, journalists have a key role to play in whether and how we pray and preach about everything from the persecution of Christians, conflict in the Middle East, creation care, and abortion to local concerns related to public education and social services. Join a conversation with a leading national journalist (Elizabeth Dias), a public theologian (Richard Mouw), and a seminary professor and preacher (Anne Zaki) that can inform your own engagement with the world God loves.

B8: Compare and Contrast: Learning from the Visual Arts across Christian Traditions
Lisa De Boer
Many Protestant congregations are eagerly and actively working to recover the riches of the visual realm to deepen their worship and communal life. And while much good work and learning is occurring within these congregations, what might we learn from a close examination of the how the visual arts function in Orthodox and Catholic settings? This session highlights three theological questions regarding worship and congregational life, raised by a cross-confessional comparison of the role of the visual arts.

B9: Stroke Survivors in our Worshiping Communities (offered Friday only)
Peggy Goetz
Stroke survivors usually receive excellent support from their churches during the "crisis" time immediately after their stroke. People visit, bring food, and pray for them. But upon returning home, most stroke survivors must learn to deal with new challenges that affect their entire lives, they may even have physical and linguistic challenges that affect their experiences in worship services. This workshop will present an ethnographic study describing the experiences of stroke survivors in their church communities and two worship services planned for these participants. As a group, we will then discuss future possibilities for planning worship with stroke survivors.

B10: Augsburg Fortress Choral Reading Session
Zebulon M. Highben
This reading session features newly published choral repertoire as well as best-sellers from the Augsburg Fortress catalog. Pieces for all seasons of the liturgical year, in a variety of voicings and musical styles, will be included.

B11: The Gifts of Worship-on-Purpose
Carol Hochhalter
The Four-Fold Pattern of Worship (echoing the four-fold pattern of the Old Testament covenant) answers the “major” questions that many people are asking today: Who am I? What am I here for? Where do I belong? How should I spend my life? This formational aspect of worship is powerful and requires deep reflection and careful planning to shape the worshiping community well. Come to this workshop to learn more about this pattern and ideas to implement it.

B12: Preaching and The Troubles of the Day
Scott Hoezee
Preaching and pastoral care go well together and never more so than when the sensitive preacher is able to think through the kinds of troubles and hurts people bring with them to church each week. The sermon that names concrete situations of pain not only help people see themselves inside the sermon better, but it opens them up to be hungry for God's corresponding message of comfort and grace. This workshop will suggest categories of pastoral trouble that can be brought into sermons and how preachers can bring this fruitfully into the preaching moment.

B13: Worship for Workers: (Re)Connecting Sunday and Monday Morning
Matthew Kaemingk
A deep chasm exists for the people of God between their worship on Sunday morning and their work on Monday morning. One is seen as purely sacred and the other as purely secular. One is understood has holy and beautiful while the other is understood to be profane and mundane. This workshop will explore why this chasm exists, why it is problematic for both our worship and our work, and how worship leaders can help their congregations overcome it.

B14: Faith Formation, Cradle to Grave
Laura Keeley and Robert J. Keeley
Churches have a variety of faith forming activities. It can be difficult to see how they fit together to form the faith of young and older members of the congregation. Worship is one of the few activities that many churches do with all ages. In this workshop we will introduce the Building Block of Faith model as a way to think about all the church’s activities as faith forming events.

B15: Just Show Up: Bible Listening Gatherings
Charles Kim
Learn more about a unique book club where listening to extended Bible passages is the key activity for the group. The purpose of this gathering is to rediscover the value of the public reading and listening to scripture as it has been done during the early church and throughout Christian history. In partnership with Grace and Mercy Foundation based in New York City, Charles Kim has been starting and actively promoting "Bible Listening Gatherings" and "Just Show Up" book clubs at various locations, including corporate offices on Wall Street, university lecture halls, local coffee shops, and international locations. Participants will learn why, what, and how to practice Bible Listening Gatherings as a unique form of worship.

B16: How the Scattered Church Informs the Way We Think about the Gathered Church
David H. Kim
What would our worship services look like if we lived out the understanding that church is the people of God at all times and places? When Christians go to work on Monday they don’t cease being the church. How does this understanding of the scattered church inform the way we think about the gathered church? Imagine how your worship service would change if it felt less like a destination and more like a launching pad into the rest of the week. We will explore the Biblical theme of exile to help us think through these pertinent questions.

B17: Worship Within U.S. Latino/a Evangelical Communities: A Journalistic Analysis
Jaime Lázaro
In cooperation with the Centro Latino and Fuller Seminary’s Brehm Center, the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship commissioned Jaime Lázaro to conduct a series of interviews with influential worship ministers who have been active in the Latino/Latina evangelical community in the United States, as well as interviews with pastors of the same demographic in the Southern California region. The topics that Jaime will share represent diverse denominational backgrounds along the evangelical spectrum. The objective of this project, through the method of journalistic interviews, is to better understand the multiple experiences present in Latino/Latina public worship in the United States.

B18: How to Commission Liturgical Art
Jeanne Logan
Jeanne will show examples of her own commissioned work as well as outstanding examples of the work of others. She will then focus on the nuts and bolts of commissioning a work of liturgical art: what does the artist expect from you and what you should expect from the artist.

B19: From the Inside Out: Guiding Adolescents in Worship Leadership
Eric Mathis
Following worship, a student worship leader remarked, “I’m always told what to do, but rarely how to do it or even why I’m doing it.” This student is asking the church to ponder a critical question: How can we guide young worship leaders? More poignantly, how do we encourage them to create, play, and imagine? How do we the instill confidence they need to stand before the body of Christ? How do we cultivate a theological lens they can use for practice and reflection? Guided by these questions, this discussion-based workshop will work toward establishing a framework for shaping the habits, practices, and formation of young worship leaders.

B20: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue: Principles for Renewing Language in Worship
Debra Rienstra and Ron Rienstra
This workshop will offer tools and ideas for creating rich, balanced language in worship. Participants will explore principles for and discuss examples of welcoming traditional language gracefully; composing or improvising elements in fresh language; using songs and prayers to worship with the global church; and finding a place for lament. The session is based on the book Worship Words (Baker Academic, 2009), co-authored by Ron and Debra Rienstra.

B21: Gospel Vocalises & Warm Ups: Engaging Mind, Body, and Spirit
Charsie Sawyer
Many classically trained singers who desire to sing gospel straddle the vocal fence, trying, often unsuccessfully, to produce a sound that is aesthetically “legitimate” by both standards. This struggle can be debilitating and often ends only when the singer feels forced to subscribe to a single style. On the other hand, many gospel singers are afraid to approach gospel singing with a healthier vocal technique because they fear losing that guttural authenticity characteristic of the gospel tradition. How can we blend both without damaging the vocal cords and engaging the mind, body, and spirit? Come to this workshop ready to learn both physical and spiritual practices to guide this blended approach. Participants will receive a copy of Dr. Sawyer’s new book.

B22: No More Footprints: Preaching and Theological Clichés
Noel Snyder
Have you ever considered using a certain phrase or illustration in your preaching—say, the “Footprints in the Sand” poem—but then decided it was too cliché? What makes something a cliché, and what is at stake in the use of clichés—especially the theological kind—in preaching? How can we avoid the gospel itself becoming something of a cliché in our preaching? Seasoned and novice preachers alike are invited to explore this issue in a fun and interactive setting.

B23: Sing the Peaceful Kingdom
Adam Tice
Sing and explore new congregational song resources based on passages from Isaiah. Song leaders and worship planners sample from a wide variety of styles and resources representing the best in recent contemporary song, hymnody, and world music. The presenter will also present and discuss a few of his own pieces, offering insight into one writer's engagement with Isaiah's poetry and prose.

B24: The Next Worship: Glorifying God in a Diverse World
Sandra Maria Van Opstal
What happens when a diverse church glorifies the global God? We live in a time of unprecedented intercultural exchange. Our communities welcome people from around the world. Music and media from every culture are easily accessible. And our worship is infused with a rich variety of musical and liturgical influences. But leading worship in multicultural contexts can be a crosscultural experience for everybody. How do we help our congregations navigate the journey? This workshop will provide biblical foundations for multiethnic worship, with practical tools and resources for planning services that reflect God’s invitation for all peoples to praise God.

B25: "21 Spirituals for the 21st Century"
Raymond Wise
The Negro Spiritual has been hailed as American's first authentic folk music. Spirituals have served as a primary musical source from which many sacred and secular musical genres have stemmed. The "Spiritual" itself has evolved into many forms. There are oral, concert, art song, congregational, and gospel spirituals, and each has its own unique musical characteristics that have helped to preserve the Spiritual as a musical form. Come learn more about Spirituals, hear and sing some traditional spirituals and experience contemporary spiritual arrangements from Raymond Wise’s collection of 21 Spirituals for the 21st Century.

B26: "Come to God's Table”: A Philosopher's Reflections on Visual Depictions of Hospitality, Justice, Hope, and the Lord's Supper
Nicholas Wolterstorff
The curated collection of artworks in the Center Art Gallery features works that celebrate both the rich community gathered at the Table of Fellowship and the privilege of meeting with God at his Table of Communion. From Abraham entertaining angels, to the Christ’s Last Supper with his disciples, to the great Marriage Feast of the Lamb at the end of time, the table is a rich biblical metaphor. Indeed, the promise of Revelation 19 is that human history will culminate around a table where the people of God are all present. God’s Table is a place of welcome, justice, abundance, and worship. This session features reflections on this remarkable collection by philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff, whose writings are noted for their insightful discussions of the arts, justice, and the Lord's Supper. Come to learn and see more deeply both into these artworks, but also into the nature of the gospel itself.

Session C Workshops (2:45 p.m.)

C1: Principles of an Urban Doxology
David M. Bailey and Urban Doxology
What does worship look like for a church that is economically, educationally, and culturally diverse? This is a question that David Bailey and the members of Urban Doxology have been exploring in the context of their diverse urban church, East End Fellowship, a community that endeavors to be a faithful presence seeking God’s joy and justice for their neighborhood out of love for Christ. In this workshop, they will share the guiding principles of worship for their community to facilitate reconciliation across dividing lines. ‘Urban Doxology’ is a liturgy that includes preaching, music, and arts, and crosses boundaries in ethnicity, race, and class that prepares God’s people for the city of God. Come and learn!

C2: What Does World Christianity Mean for Your Church?
Peter Choi 
The remarkable story of Christianity's growth as a world religion has implications not only for mission work in the far corners of the globe but also for ministry in each local congregation. In what ways is the gospel—to use Andrew Walls' terms—a "prisoner" as well as "liberator" of culture? What does faithful Christian ministry look like in our increasingly pluralistic contexts? How can sacramental worship speak to secular skeptics? In this workshop, we will explore key lessons for the life of your church that emerge from the spread of Christianity across the world. 

C3: The Church Behind Bars (offered Friday only)
Todd Cioffi
This session will explore the growth of the church behind bars in several Michigan prisons and in Angola Prison in Louisiana. Much of this growth is due to the vibrant worship services and programs offered in these prisons. How does prison shape worship? And more importantly, how does worship shape a prison? What can the “outside” church learn from those churches behind bars?

C4: Revitalized Worship Spaces
Michael J. Crosbie
Renovated, restored, and reborn sacred spaces are the wave of the future, as congregations revitalize their aging facilities, move into spaces once occupied by other denominations and faith traditions, and retrofit religious buildings to serve new uses. This presentation will focus on religious buildings and facilities that have been given a new lease on life thanks to creative and inventive designs that make them vital to changing demands as congregations change and evolve. 

C5: Discerning the Body—Shaping Perceptions about Catholic and Protestant Identity
Elizabeth Dias, Mark Noll, Joyce Ann Zimmerman, María Cornou, moderated by John D. Witvliet
Our worshiping communities are constantly sending implicit messages about the breadth and unity of Christ’s body, especially about the 500 year rupture between Protestant and Catholic communities. These implicit messages have a powerful effect on worship practices (“that practice is too Catholic… or too Protestant”), on conversations among neighbors and family members from different Christian traditions (“do you really do that in your parish/church”), and on institutional collaborations among churches and parishes (“should we work together on this?”). Hear reflections on this key theme from a national journalist who has covered Pope Francis, a leading evangelical historian who teaches at the University of Notre Dame, a Catholic liturgical scholar who regularly interacts with Protestant worship communities, and the newest CICW staff member who brings expertise on Christianity in Latin America.

C6: Learning about Twitter (offered Friday only)
Phil de Haan and Grant Austin
Learn more about how to use Twitter wisely and strategically in your ministry work. Phil de Haan and Grant Austin from the Communication and Marketing department of Calvin College will share their wisdom on using Twitter as a communication tool, including practical details such as setting up an account and creating tweets.

C7: Worship as Spiritual Formation
Laura Robinson Harbert and Todd Johnson
The privilege of Christian worship is the invitation to the community by our holy God to encounter the love of that living God and to be transformed by it and to nurture the transformation of one another. This workshop will explore the potentials and practices of Christian worship specifically aimed at spiritual formation of both the individual and the community of faith.

C8: Preaching to and with Millennials (offered Friday only)
Mary Hulst
As a college chaplain, Mary preaches to millennials every weeks. Learn what she has discovered and why she thinks the future of the North American church relies on preaching that engages this generation.

C9: 'Glocal' Worship: Experiencing  the fullness of Christ (offered Friday only)
Charles Kim
Much has happened in recent years with globalization and urbanization where people from all nations are living as our neighbors. These immigrant communities have started vibrant churches with unique worship expressions. Churches in North America have the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of global cultures and experience the fullness of Christ through ‘glocal’ worship. Missions historian Andrew Walls puts it this way: “the understanding of Christ—knowing the ‘full stature’— arises from the coming together of the fragmented understandings that occur within the diverse culture.” In other words, we only fully understand the fullness of Christ by interacting with Christians of other cultures. Come and find out ways to experience the ‘All Nations’ in the context of local ministry.

C10: Worship 101: Principles and Practices for Song & Discipleship
Eric Mathis, Paul Ryan, and students from Calvin College and Samford University
Learning to lead worship encompasses what you do and who you are. It entails spirituality as much as it requires skill. In this workshop, we will explore a vital practice of worship leadership: choosing songs. Along the way we will discuss how we engage this practice as a matter of discipleship, identifying cultural trends that resist our efforts and recommending habits for faithful and healthy leadership.

C11: Songs of Praise, Lament, and Hope: A Songwriter's Journey with the Psalms
Sandra McCracken
The Psalms—the Holy Spirit's inspired songbook right in the middle of the Bible—are a rich source of insight and inspiration for songwriters, singers, and worshipers of all kinds. But these are not easy texts that can be quickly skimmed and set to superficial music. Come to explore with Sandra McCracken how we can engage with these texts with candor, humility, and a deep sense of expectation that they will transform us into more faithful followers of Jesus. 

C12: Bad Worship in the Bible
Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
Dirkie Smits, eminent South African theologian, has observed that virtually every book of the Bible condemns bad worship—which is likely to be some odious combination of idolatrous, hypocritical, or careless. Concretely, what does the Bible have to say about bad worship? And how might we strive to learn from what it says and adjust our own worship practices accordingly?

C13: Communion Service Conference Choir Rehearsal
Pearl Shangkuan
Join the Communion Service conference choir directed by Pearl Shangkuan. The choir will participate in the Saturday closing communion service.

C14: Marking Time: Dressing the Church for the Liturgical Year
Deborah Sokolove
The seasons and special days of the church year are often marked visually by artworks that come and go. In this session we will examine art as a congregational practice in which both adults and children produce banners, paraments, installations, and other occasional artworks that take their place in the worship space alongside those elements that are permanent. Participants are encouraged to send images of what their own congregations do to dress their churches as a way of marking liturgical time.

C15: Children and Worship
Olivia Stewart
With a new frontier of research on children's spirituality, 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, how to engage your congregation in inviting children into the adult worship experience, and how to talk specifically about the program Young Children & Worship and how it can impact the children and adults at your church or religious institution. 

C16: Preaching As a Celebrative Act
Frank A. Thomas
In this age of pessimism, skepticism, discouragement, fear, and hopelessness, people come to church and listen to the preacher searching for hope. The heart of the message of the gospel is hope. Celebration is the joyful, ecstatic reinforcement of the hope that the preacher gives the people in the sermon. The African American preaching tradition has rich and generous resources in celebration of the gospel in the preaching moment. Frank A. Thomas will share insights, wisdom, and practical skills for celebration in preaching from his book, They Like to Never Quit Praisin’ God: The Role of Celebration in Preaching.

C17: Learning to See Your Church through New Cultural Eyes
Howard Vanderwell
How does your church look through the eyes of those from other parts of the world? What can we learn about ourselves from the insights of those shaped in difficult cultural contexts? Calvin Theological Seminary has many international students among its student body. A panel of them will help us see what they have discovered in their experience of worship in North America, what has surprised them, and what puzzles them. Come for a rich dialog shaped by insights from the North and the South, the East and the West. 

C18: The Doorway to a New World: The Gracious Power of Baptism in the Christian Life
Lisa Weaver
What a remarkable event baptism is: at once a sign of our being washed clean, a sign of rebirth, and a sign of our dying and rising with Jesus. How can we celebrate baptisms in ways that convey this grace, this depth, and this mystery? How can we best mentor, teach, and encourage those who are baptized, whether as adults or children? Come to learn from a student of worship who has learned from Baptists, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholic communities, and whose research is unpacking the power of early church baptismal practices. 

C19: Work, Worship, and Mission: Overlooked First Steps of Missional Ministry
Cory Willson
There is a lot of talk about missional communities in North American churches today. These important conversations are helpful as we think about the church’s witness to society. There is a danger of rushing to restructure Christian communities while overlooking the current ways in which church members are already located in strategic contexts for mission in God's world. This workshop will discuss critical first steps in equipping congregations for a missional engagement with society. 

Vesper Services (4:15 p.m.)

Please choose one. These vesper services are repeated from Thursday. 

  • The Good News for the Hurting: A Service of Scripture and Song
    Michael Burkhardt, the Choral Scholars, Zebulon Highben, featuring texts by Adam Tice
    Led by the choir and organ, this service of scripture and song surrounds a few Isaiah texts, bring good news for a hurting world. 
  • Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?
    Jeff Barker, C.J. Kingdom-Grier, and Northwestern College Drama Ministries Ensemble
    The Northwestern College touring theatre ensemble along with CJ Grier will help us remember the story of the arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. This service is a verbatim presentation of Isaiah 53 and Luke 22-24.    
  • “Through It All:” Our Story, Our Song
    Emmett G. Price III, and several alumni from the James Abbington Church Music Academy
    This vesper service will feature the inspiring prayers, songs, and readings from the African American worship tradition past and present.
  • My Soul Finds Rest in God: Psalms of Praise, Lament, and Hope
    Sandra McCracken with Hope College musicians
    Join with singer-songwriter Sandra McCracken for contemplative songs and liturgical prayers, while making space within this worship service for both lament and joy.
  • God of Justice, Love, and Mercy
    Fuller Theological Seminary student worship team with Jennifer Graffius, Laura Robinson Harbert, Todd Johnson, and Ed Willmington 
    Led by singers, band, organ, and strings, the Fuller Seminary Chapel worship leaders utilize traditional and original resources to guide worshipers through a prayerful liturgy of confession and forgiveness. 

Dinner break and additional options (5 pm)

Dinner available for purchase in the Commons Dining Hall

Dinner with The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies
Alumni and friends welcome, hosted by James Hart and Kent Walters
Go through the cafeteria line and bring your food to the staff dining room area.

Dinner with the Renewal Lab Worship members
hosted by Betty Grit and Carol Hockhalter
Go through the cafeteria line and bring your food to the Student Senate meeting room.

Dessert reception and informal conversation 
All are invited and especially those who minister in CRC congregations
hosted by Worship Ministries of the Christian Reformed Church 
Covenant Fine Arts Center east upper lobby

Reception and informal artist conversation 
held at the Center Art Gallery in Covenant Fine Arts 

Friday PM Worship (7:00 p.m.)

Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace: A Festival of Scripture and Song
Conference Gospel Choir
A service of song, prayer, and scripture, led by the Conference Gospel Choir, under the direction of Raymond Wise. The Conference Gospel Choir is a group comprised of members of the Calvin College Gospel Choir, Hope College Gospel Choir, Grand Rapids African American Youth Chorus, and conference participants. 

Saturday, January 30

Saturday Morning Worship (8:30 a.m.)

Please choose one worship service. They are repeated from Friday morning.

Isaiah 61
Frank Thomas, preaching, with Michael Burkhardt and Rawn Harbor

Isaiah 60, "A Light to the Nations"
Richard J. Mouw, preaching, with Urban Doxology

Plenary Sessions (10:15 a.m.)

Improvising New Life: Why Tradition and Innovation Belong Together in Christian Theology and Worship
L. Gregory Jones with jazz ensemble
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 
‘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 at all levels of ability and disability, but planned them that way from the start? 

Session A Workshops (11:45 a.m.)

Most workshops repeat from the Friday schedule. See titles and descriptions above.

A5: Un Refugiado Mira a los Salmos del Ascenso
Carlos Colón
Los disturbios, conflictos, y guerras de los últimos cien años han causado una enorme crisis. El sufrimiento de refugiados de Siria, Iraq, y otros países del Oriente Medio ha dejado estupefacto al mundo entero. También, muchos niños y jóvenes centroamericanos tratan de entrar a los Estados Unidos para escapar violencia y pobreza. Carlos Colón compartirá parte de su testimonio como refugiado de la guerra civil de su país de origen, El Salvador. En ésta sesión buscaremos una lectura Cristocéntrica de los Cánticos Graduales (Salmos 120-134). Caminaremos con la vista puesta en Jesús, recordando nuestro llamado a amar, compadecernos y a mostrar hospitalidad a aquellos diferentes a nosotros y nosotras; y compartiendo las buenas nuevas, mientras seguimos a un Salvador quien es lleno de gracia y verdad.

(On Friday this workshop is offered in English. See translation above.)

Session B Workshops (1:15 p.m.)

Most workshops repeat from the Friday schedule, with a few exceptions. This workshop is offered Saturday only.

B6: El culto como práctica formativa 
María Cornou
Uno de los movimientos más importantes en los campos de Estudios Litúrgicos y Educación Cristiana en los últimos 30 años ha sido un renovado énfasis en cómo las prácticas cristianas modelan la espiritualidad de la congregación y de sus miembros. En este taller vamos a explorar cómo las diferentes prácticas cristianas, en especial las prácticas cúlticas, pueden formar a los y las creyentes en la vida y doctrinas cristianas como fieles y fructíferos discípulos y discípulas  de Jesús en un mundo que tanto necesita la gracia restauradora del evangelio.

(Translation: Worship as a Formative Practice
One of the most significant movements in the fields of Liturgical Studies and Christian Education in the last 30 years has been a renewed emphasis on how Christian practices shape individual and congregational spirituality.  In this workshop we will explore how different Christian practices, especially worship practices, can form believers in Christian doctrine and life to be faithful and generative disciples of Jesus in a world that so deeply needs the healing grace of the gospel.)  

Session C Workshops (2:45 p.m.)

Most workshops repeat from the Friday schedule, with some exceptions

Saturday Closing Communion Worship Service (4:00 p.m.)

Isaiah 65
Anne Zaki, preaching
This final worship service is based on the text of Isaiah 65, where we look toward the new heavens and new earth. By celebrating communion together in this service, we anticipate this glorious day. The service involves participation by the Conference Communion Choir, under the direction of Pearl Shangkuan.

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The following worship services are led by symposium presenters and participants. 

Church of the Servant
Psalm Contest winner: Song included as part of the worship service
8:30 am and 11 am
3835 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546, (616) 956-7611
In an effort to encourage Psalm-singing, Church of the Servant sponsors the New Psalm Contest open to any congregational songwriters (now in its sixth year, free entry, cash prize to winner). Songwriters submit a Psalm-based song by an October due date. The winner is announced and the song is premiered in worship in January (if possible, the same weekend as Symposium). Church of the Servant is a Christian Reformed Church with a rich history of encouraging the arts in worship. Its worship is Reformed, liturgical, participatory, eclectic, and open to creative new worship expressions. See https://www.churchoftheservantcrc.org  

Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church
Frank A. Thomas, preaching
10:00am
940 Neland Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507, (616) 245-0669

Light Dawns in a Weary World: Psalms and Hymns of Praise and for Peace
“Made in Michigan”
Sunday, January 31, 2016, 7:30 p.m.
St. Adalbert’s Basilica, 654 Davis Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Co-sponsored by
The Grand Rapids Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada

(All songs by writers/composers born in or working in Michigan, including Bruce Benedict, Mary Louise Bringle, James and Marilyn Biery, Ray Haan, David Haas, Roy Hopp, Ken Medema, Bill Rowan, Greg Scheer, Adam Tice, Larry Visser)