Christian Life & Communal Worship

Catalytic Connections

Faculty/Staff Stipends for the 2023 Calvin Symposium on Worship

Catalytic Connections Stipend Purpose:

  • to make visible and to strengthen connections between public Christian worship practices and a wide variety of classes at Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary, in ways that support the learning objectives of each course, equipping students to perceive and articulate those connections, and
  • to inspire and challenge us with opportunities to engage thoughtful Christian leaders around the world with expertise and gifts in making these catalytic connections in their communities


    • These stipends are for class sessions that during the week of Feb. 6-10, 2023, coinciding with the 2023 Calvin Symposium on Worship.
    • Applications are due Friday, January 6 at noon (find link and instructions below).
    • Written reflections on this teaching and learning due on March 15, 2023.

    Supported Activities:

    We invite you to consider experts with whom you and your students could engage or interview via livestream (Zoom, Teams, etc.) during a class session or student group meeting that you are scheduled to teach or facilitate during Symposium Week (Feb. 6-10, 2023). 

    Stipends will be given to both you (for your reflective writing after the session) and your guest (for their participation).

    The expert you invite would help your students explore connections between public, communal Christian worship and the topics and/or pedagogy you engage with in your course or student program. In these sessions you could consider the following approaches:

    • Type 1: consider how the material you engage with could be preached or prayed about in worship
    • Type 2: consider how your "pedagogical liturgies" or other Christian practices you are using in your course are informed by, depend upon, or could contribute to public worship
    • Type 3: consider how the perspectives and methods of your class could be used to study worship practices
    • Type 4: consider how the skills or competencies you are developing could be employed by those who plan, lead, or evaluate public worship services

    For more on these four types of connections, see this video from CICW Director John Witvliet, or examples of funded projects from 2022 at the bottom of this page.

    *Note: The term 'worship' can be used not only to refer to public worship services, but to our entire life. We truly do worship 24/7. All of us at CICW celebrate that and champion that insight. Having said that, we then go on to explore the crucial, catalytic role that public, communal practices of worship (including prayer, preaching, Lord's Supper, baptism, art, music, funerals, weddings, prayer services, healing services, and more) have as a part of faithful Christian life and witness. So please note, this mini-grant program is not focused primarily on worship in the 24/7 sense of the term. Rather it's focused on the connection between public, communal practices of worship and this broader 24/7 spirituality.

    Stipend Amounts and Requirements:

    Each funded proposal will receive

    • A $300 stipend for a guest that you would engage or interview in your classroom or student group meeting via livestream (Teams, Zoom, etc.) during Symposium Week (Feb. 6-10, 2023). You will arrange for the expert to join you and organize/facilitate the session itself. We will manage the logistics of the stipend following the class session.
    • A $300 stipend for you upon completion of the following activities:

    1) explain to your students that this is part of a campus-wide program connected with the 2023 Calvin Symposium on Worship,

    2) require each student in the course to complete a 2-question assessment survey immediately following their class session (we will share the results with you), and

    3) write a compelling 500-1000 word reflection that summarizes key learning from the session (upon submission you will receive your stipend). We will consider publishing excerpts from these reflections on the CICW/Symposium website.

    Application Link:

    2023 Applications are due Friday, Jan. 6, 2023 at noon, but will be accepted on a rolling basis. Please note that the CICW office is closed Dec. 23-Jan. 2. 

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    Do departmental seminars qualify for this? Yes.

    What about Student Life or other staff-led programs? Yes.

    Do official student-led, on-campus programs qualify for this? Yes, with the faculty mentor submitting the proposal and writing up the learning summary (and receiving the stipend), and all participating students completing the assessment form.

    Is there any flexibility in the timeframe? We want to promote the week of Feb. 6-10, 2023. If circumstances make that impossible, we may consider the week prior.

    What if I can't devote an entire class period to this? Some instructors may choose to engage this material over more than one class. We are open to proposals which involve at least 50 minutes of in-depth exploration--and which entirely support the student learning outcomes for your class or program.

    What do you hope happens here? What does success look like? The students will be able to perceive in fresh ways the natural, organic connections between at least one specific public worship action and what you are doing in class--and that they sense the compelling invitation to strengthen that connection in their own life and in the congregations they are a part of. (This also means that students would not feel as if this class session at all contrived.)

    What if I need help fleshing out my idea or determining who to invite? We would be happy to talk with you about incipient ideas and suggest experts for you to consider. To set up a conversation with the CICW team, please email Alexis VanZalen, CICW Program Coordinator & Administrative Assistant, at

    Funded Projects in 2023:

    • With Prof. Rhonda Edgington and guest Ken Bos, the Calvin Organ Studio will participate in an organ-subbing boot camp in which they will visit two local churches to learn how to overcome the challenges subs face at new organs and in new services.
    • In CMS 251 (Ministry Leadership), Prof. Joanna Wigboldy will invite Sandra Van Opstal to talk with students about how and why sharing leadership across cultures is essential to ministry leadership, in the context of worship and in all of ministry.
    • In REL 332 (Theological Ethics), Prof. Matt Lundberg will invite Dr. Ellen Ott Marshall to talk with students about the roles of baptismal identity and eucharistic practice in living a faithful Christian life amid conflict.
    • In SOC/SOWK 250 (Diversity and Inequality in the United States), Jessica Barron will talk with Prof. Mark Mulder’s class about her research on how churches that want to be multiracial/diverse in their worship and ministry can struggle with effective strategies that honor the notion of Imago Dei.

    Read about funded projects in 2022.