Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 2022

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

To center worship in the seminary’s curriculum by fostering symbiotic exchange between the worship program and other departments, with emphasis on worship as a central place of formation for the whole community.

Summarize your grant project and how it will address a need in your worshiping community. 

We believe that worship is central to our life as a community and vital to theological education and formation, yet our practice as a seminary does not match this belief. We will seek to center worship in the seminary’s curriculum and community life by fostering symbiotic exchange between the worship program and other departments, with emphasis on worship as a central place of formation for the whole community. 

What two questions might you ask about worship in the coming year that will generate theological reflection and shape your project? 

Amidst a host of opportunities offered to support spiritual and vocational formation of seminary community members, what makes worship the central point of engagement for spiritual nourishment? 

As we engage theological education in a diverse and ecumenical community, how can we invite students and other community members into worship experiences that are truly theocentric by drawing on our unique gifts and preferences while delighting in one another’s? 

How will your project impact the worship life and habits of the congregation?

Worship will come to be perceived as central to the life and formation of our community and its individual members. Through rich conversation, communal learning, and close collaboration among students, staff, and faculty, we will come to a deeper engagement of our life together as a community gathered in God’s presence and called to serve God in the world through myriad expressions of ministry. This project will facilitate dialogue and collaboration around worship, which will be carried into other areas of the seminary experience. It will also nurture members in a posture of curiosity and delight in diversity. As worship becomes central place of formation, our communal encounters with God will inform the rest of our life together. 

What might be your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)?

One challenging opportunity is reengaging our diverse community of students, staff, & faculty in the surprising connections that are only made in worship of the triune God--how to shape and allow worship to be expressive of a broader community than that of the historic denominational affiliation of our institution. Further, we desire to nurture and increase the opportunities for celebrating the gifts, traditions and styles that our diverse student, faculty and staff brings into the community. 

What do you hope to learn from the Grants Event and other grant recipients?

First, we are excited for the opportunity to engage with grant administrators from other theological institutions.  The opportunity to hear the about the creative and innovative ideas that other institutions have tried to deepen the worship life and spiritual formation within their contexts would be invaluable.  Second, we are eager to hear broadly from other worshipping communities about the challenges that are faced in creating robust worship offerings in a post pandemic space.