Vital Worship Grants awarded by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

April 23, 2018: The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship announced today that it will fund 44 Vital Worship Grants projects for 2018-2019 as part of its Vital Worship Grants Program.

These projects have a variety of emphases—visual arts, music, intergenerational relationships, contemplation, movement, and more—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 are delighted to join with another group of churches, schools and organizations to learn about and engage in new practices of worship. We were grateful for a large number of excellent proposals and are eager to facilitate their learning and ours, regarding worship across North America.”

This year’s recipients include 27 congregations, one high school, six colleges and universities, one seminary, and nine other groups, including two community organizations, three denominational organizations, a retreat center, and a retirement community. They also represent 17 different Christian denominations, 25 states and two Canadian provinces. Notable this year are a number of collaborative projects between two or more congregations.

Each grant (ranging from $6,000 to $18,000) will fund a year-long project beginning in June that promotes vital worship and faith formation. John D. Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW), believes that the 2018 projects will help the Worship Institute in its goals to enhance the scholarly study of Christian worship and the renewal of worshiping communities across North America and beyond.

“We learn a tremendous amount from these programs,” he said. “We look forward to sharing insights from these projects with a larger audience in our future programming over the next several years."

This June, project directors and representatives of all 44 grants will gather on Calvin’s campus to dialogue not only with CICW staff, but also with the recipients of the 2017 grants, who will come to campus to share the results of their year-long projects at a poster session that is open to the public (5:00-6:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 20, 2018). 

“The grants event is always an energizing time of conversation and sharing stories,” said Smith. “Every year, some attendees are inspired to write their own proposals for new grant projects. We look forward to receiving those applications for the next round of grants” (due January 10, 2019).

Since it began in the year 2000, the Vital Worship Grants Program has now awarded more than 800 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.

See more information on the grants program, including a complete list of this year’s grants recipients.

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