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Emerging research on worship practices affecting human flourishing  

A panel of teacher-scholars with research projects focused on worship practices that affect human flourishing share the fruits of their research, with a special focus on the implications of their research for worshiping communities.

This panel, moderated by Noel Snyder, was part of the 2021 Virtual Vital Worship Grants Event. Panelists received Vital Worship Grants from CICW to do research that serves worshiping communities by strengthening Christian public worship practices. Panelists are listed below with a brief description of their research project, can be found below.


  • Shively Smith (Boston University School of Theology)   
    To identify the metaphors and images that shape the interpretation of Scripture within worshiping communities, and to assess the impact of these interpretive images on a community’s relationship to various “others” and socio-political realities.   
  • Nathan Myrick (Mercer University)  
    To identify, through ethnographic research, the myriad ways that musical worship participates in human flourishing, and to share these insights with Christian leaders in order to promote healthy and vibrant communities of Christian fellowship and worship. 
  • Lynn Japinga (Hope College) 
    To explore the history of policies and practices regarding divorce in the Reformed Church in America, and to study how these policies have shaped worship practices such as Scripture reading, public prayer, and preaching, and affected divorced people.  
  • Rebecca Spurrier (Columbia Theological Seminary)  
    To create a liturgical resource that responds to ableist images, narratives, and symbols that are common in Christian worship, drawing from insights in liturgical studies and disability studies.