First Round of Vital Worship Grants awarded for 2023 by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship has announced 15 projects for funding in this first round of grants awarded for 2023-2024, 11 in the Teacher-Scholar stream of Grants and 4 in the Worshiping Communities stream of grants.
The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) announced today the first round of Vital Worship Grants awarded for 2023. This year, CICW is offering two submission dates for Vital Worship Grant proposals to both Worshiping Communities and Teacher-Scholars. This first round of proposals was submitted in October, but proposals for the 2023-2024 grant cycle can still be submitted by January 10, 2023. The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship has announced 15 projects for funding in this first round of grants awarded for 2023-2024, 11 in the Teacher-Scholar stream of Grants and 4 in the Worshiping Communities stream of grants.
The Teacher-Scholar stream of the Vital Worship Grants program recognizes that teacher-scholars in many disciplines have a unique role to play in strengthening and nurturing the life of Christian worshiping communities. CICW is excited to learn with this strong pool of Teacher-Scholars who will engage disciplines traditionally associated with worship, such as theology and music, but also from philosophy, higher education, applied science, and sociology. These projects have a fascinating variety of emphases—playfulness in very small churches, equipping bi-vocational preachers, an analysis of industry distribution of popular worship songs, multidimensional preaching practices, implications of online pandemic liturgies—but they have as a common purpose a desire to both deepen people’s understanding of worship and strengthen practices of public worship and faith formation.
"Teacher-Scholars from a wide variety of disciplines have so much to contribute to congregations and parishes—helping us all see things we otherwise might miss, offering access to essential wisdom for ministry. We are grateful for each of these Teacher-Scholars and the promise of their work for strengthening congregational life," said John Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.
This year’s recipients include scholars at three research universities, four seminaries, and four private colleges and universities, representing nine US states and one Canadian province. Each grant (ranging from $9,850 to $20,000) will fund a research project beginning in 2023 that shows promise to serve worshiping communities by strengthening Christian public worship practices.
The four projects funded after the first time an October deadline has been offered to Worshiping Communities emphasize deepen engagement with the sacraments, engaging Scripture through art, and developing a common language for worship. These projects all have as a common purpose a desire to both deepen people’s understanding of worship and strengthen practices of public worship and faith formation.
This round’s Worshiping Communities Grants (ranging from $9,000 to $18,450) represent two churches as well as a K-12 school and a parachurch organization, from four different states, and will fund a year-long project beginning in June that promotes vital worship and faith formation.
Kathy Smith, leader of the Vital Worship Grants Team, said, “We are grateful to award these new grants, trusting these projects will serve to encourage vital worship in new ways. We thank God for the thoughtfulness and creativity expressed and pray that these groups and their leaders will be richly blessed in the year of learning ahead. We also look forward to receiving further grant proposals by the January 10, 2023, deadline.”
Since it began in the year 2000, the Vital Worship Grants Program has now awarded over 1,000 grants to churches, schools, organizations, and teacher-scholars across North America for projects that generate thoughtfulness and energy for public worship and faith formation at the local, grass-roots level. An advisory board of pastors and teachers from a variety of backgrounds assists in the grant selections, and the program is generously supported by Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. Founded in 1937, the Endowment’s major areas of programming are religion, education, and community development.
For more information on the grants program, including a complete list of this year’s grants recipients, please see worship.calvin.edu/grants.