The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW), located at Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is an interdisciplinary study and ministry center that promotes the scholarly study of the theology, history, and practice of Christian worship and the renewal of worship in worshiping communities across North America and beyond.
Founded in 1997, CICW is dedicated to using the unique resources of a Christian liberal arts university and theological seminary—with its collegial environment, international faculty and student body, wide interdisciplinary expertise, and culture of ongoing learning—to partner with congregations, denominations, parachurch organizations, professional organizations, and publishers to further our mission.
The implementation of this mission is guided by the following commitments:
- Integration of Faith and Learning
Worship can be immeasurably enriched by rigorous study of the history, theology, and practice of Christian worship. The Institute models the integration of faith and learning which is at the heart of Calvin’s mission.
- World Perspective
We have much to learn from Christian worship in ancient North Africa and modern-day Korea, in medieval Europe and modern-day South America. The Institute promotes learning about and from Christian worship in all times and places.
- Inter-disciplinary Scope
Artists, theologians, cultural anthropologists, missionaries, musicians, historians, pastors, and sociologists all have unique insights into ways Christians may worship God more profoundly. The Institute promotes active discussions among practitioners of several disciplines.
- Wide Ecumenical Audience
The Institute respects and cultivates the strengths of the Reformed, evangelical tradition in which Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary stand, as well as to engage Christians in other traditions.
- Constructive Purpose
The Institute encourages public worship that is both spiritually vital and theologically rooted, that has both integrity and relevance, and resists unnecessary divisions over worship styles.
10 Core Convictions About Worship
Range and Scope of Programming
Funding for the basic operation of CICW is provided by Calvin University. We are also grateful for generous grants from Lilly Endowment Inc. and the Luce Foundation, which have allowed us to significantly increase the range and scope of our programming.
Over the past years, CICW has
- seen our annual Symposium on Worship grow in attendance from 400 to 1,500 annual participants,
- awarded worship grants to more than 950 congregations throughout North America, and many Christian college campuses, and introduced a second stream of grants to teacher-scholars,
- offered over 250 regional education events in 25 states and provinces,
- co-sponsored worship conferences or training events in Egypt, El Salvador, Mexico, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands,
- published 100 books of either scholarly analysis or practical worship resources, including book series with Eerdmans, Baker, and The Alban Institute, and a choral music series with GIA Publications, Inc.,
- developed an extensive library of web-based worship resources,
- translated worship-related writings into Spanish, Korean, and many other languages,
- co-sponsored conferences, consultations, and seminars on diverse topics such as worship and evangelism; the music of Bach; the 35th anniversary of Vatican II; the practice of worship worldwide; worship and aesthetics; worship in post-modern culture; worship and technology; worship and biblical theology; worship on college campuses; universal design for worship; worship and intergenerational faith formation for the urban context; and income inequality, congregational life and the practices of Christian worship,
- partnered with numerous professional organizations, parachurch organizations, colleges and seminaries in various publishing and continuing education events, as well teams and departments of the Christian Reformed Church, and
- mentored students at Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary as active participants in Institute work.
Other Centers and Institutes at Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary
The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship is one of several centers and institutes at Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary. Each of these centers is designed to accomplish particular programmatic goals in research, publication, networking, or educational events in ways that draw on the wide expertise of Calvin faculty and staff, provide rich learning experiences for students, and offer significant resources for a wide audience, locally, nationally, and internationally.
- Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship
Founded in 1976, the CCCS supports and enables scholars from a wide variety of academic fields to produce books, articles, lectures, conferences, etc., dealing with issues of public concern and areas of Christian scholarship.
- Calvin Center for Faith and Writing
The CCFW seeks to create space for conversations about faith and writing and to create a culture of active, discerning readers, particularly through the biennial Festival of Faith and Writing.
- Calvin Center for Innovation in Business
In support of the Calvin Business Department, the CCIB provides educational and networking opportunities to ensure students are well-equipped for business careers.
- Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary
The Center for Excellence in Preaching serves the church by providing preachers with fresh ideas and resources to help make the weekly sermon from God's Word an eventful and vibrant proclamation of grace and hope.
- Center for Social Research
The CSR employs students and recent graduates to conduct social-scientific research projects, striving to be a valued learning partner for all who seek wisdom-driven social research and development.
- Clean Water Institute of Calvin University
The CWICC supports projects, research, and learning dedicated to lasting solutions for water safety and aims to inspire a generation of young people to address the problem.
- de Vries Institute for Global Faculty Development
The de Vries Institute at Calvin University exists to strengthen the connection between faith and learning. We provide deep learning and wide-ranging resources for Christian educators and leaders around the globe and across the range of academic disciplines.
- H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies
The Meeter Center offers extensive research collections on John Calvin, Calvinism, the Reformation, and Early Modern Studies, which has attracted scholars from all over the world.
- Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning
The Kuyers Institute promotes Christian reflection on every aspect of education, from pre-kindergarten to college, by publishing research, developing resources, and providing training.
- Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity
The Nagel Institute links Christian scholars worldwide in order to promote a deeper understanding of world Christianity and to strengthen Christian intellectual movements.
- Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics
The Henry Institute promotes serious reflection on the interplay between Christianity and public life in areas of scholarship, leadership, and citizen involvement.
- Van Lunen Center: Executive Management in Christian Schools
The Van Lunen Center trains heads of schools in executive management from a Christian-based perspective, primarily through its year-long Fellows program.
Other Institutes of Worship
Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts
Fuller Theological Seminary
Pasadena, California, USA
Georgetown Center for Liturgy
Washington, D.C., USA
Institute for Worship Studies
Orange Park, Florida, USA
Metropolitan Ardiry Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies
Saint Paul University
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Notre Dame Center for Pastoral Liturgy
Notre Dame University
South Bend, Indiana, USA
Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute
Berkeley, California, USA
Yale Institute of Sacred Music
New Haven, Connecticut, USA