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

The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship announced today that it will fund 25 Vital Worship Grants projects to Worshiping Communities for 2021-2022 as part of its Vital Worship Grants Program.     

These projects have a variety of emphases, many of which have been shaped by a year in pandemic —designing worship for those who suffer moral injury; an exploration of lament, grief, and resilience; intergenerational worship in the online environment; and pilgrimage through the Christian Year as spiritual formation—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 grateful to award these new grants, even in this time of the pandemic crisis, trusting these projects will serve to encourage vital worship in new ways and support another group of churches, schools and organizations, even in these difficult times.”  

This year’s recipients include 15 congregations, two colleges, two seminaries, and six other ministries related to the arts, storytelling, music, volunteers, and history. They also represent 14 different Christian denominations in addition to some interdenominational and ecumenical projects, 16 states and one Canadian province.  

Each grant (ranging from $6,700 to $18,000) will fund a year-long project beginning in June that promotes vital worship and faith formation. John Witvliet, director of the CICW, said “We are eager to learn from these programs. Although these grant proposals were written well before COVID-19 disrupted patterns of congregational life, these grants show remarkable promise for not only serving these communities as they make adaptive changes, but also to a much wider audience of learners. We look forward to sharing this learning over the next several months and years.” 

This June, project directors of these grants will interact with and learn from not only CICW staff, but also with directors of the 2020 grants and recipients of grants to Teacher-Scholars via a digital grants event. Learning from the 2020 grants will be shared on the CICW website after the event.  

Since it began in the year 2000, the Vital Worship Grants Program has now awarded 969 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