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Teacher-Scholars awarded Vital Worship Grants for 2021 by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship  

The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship announced today that it will fund 17 grants to Teacher-Scholars for 2021-2022 as part of its Vital Worship Grants Program.     

This 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 aesthetics, dance, history, and sociology. 

These projects have a fascinating variety of emphasesoral communication of parables, arts and trauma healing, ecumenical conversation on baptism, building a pneumatological perspective of the sacraments, creating Byzantine iconography, the state of homiletics in the Catholic church, the reciprocal relationship between worship and leisure—but have as a common purpose a desire to both deepen people’s understanding of worship and strengthen practices of public worship and faith formation.  

Kathy Smith, leader of the Vital Worship Grants Team, said, “We look forward to learning with these scholars as they explore connections between their areas of study and Christian worship, and we are excited to engage these voices from across North America.”  

This year’s recipients include scholars at three research universities, five seminaries, and nine private colleges and universities, representing ten US states and one Canadian province. Each grant (ranging from $12,000 to $18,000) will fund a research project beginning in 2021 that shows promise to serve worshiping communities by strengthening Christian public worship practices 

This is the third round of the Teacher-Scholar stream of the Vital Worship Grants Program, which has been awarding grants to Worshiping Communities since 2000. This stream of grant-making seeks to foster vital worship by supporting teacher-scholars in any field as they do integrated research that connects worship with other disciplines of study and practice.  

"Teacher-Scholars from a wide variety of disciplines have so much to contribute to congregations and parisheshelping 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. 

Since it began in the year 2000, the Vital Worship Grants Program has now awarded over 900 grants to churches, schools and organizations 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