For over 35 years, the Calvin Symposium on Worship has annually gathered together worshipers from many Christian traditions across Canada, the US, and beyond, bringing together people from a variety of roles in worship and leadership, including pastors, worship planners and leaders, musicians, scholars, students, worship bands and teams, organists, visual artists, preachers, chaplains, missionaries, liturgists, council and session leaders, and more. Cosponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary, the Symposium aims to encourage leaders in churches and worshiping communities of all sizes and settings.

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Art as Prayer

Eric Nykamp, Madison Square Church

Explore non-verbal prayer by learning about how the prayer of the eye (perception), the prayer of the hand (expression), and the prayer of the moment (the dialogue with materials) allow us to commune more deeply with God.

Calligraphy: Developing Word Pictures from the Psalms

Timothy R. Botts, Tyndale House Publishers
Betsy Steele Halstead, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

We will begin by learning the ancient style of lettering called “uncial” as a basis for your expression of a psalm. The creative process will be explored through analysis of the grammatical structure along with miming and paraphrasing the text. Design principles such as size, contrast, use of color, repetition, letterpath and letterspacing will all be explored to give you the tools for making your own word picture in the form of a small scroll. Tim will also show some of his own work in the psalms to illustrate some of these principles. All supplies for the class will be provided.

Developing Vertical Habits, a panel with Worship Renewal Grant recipients

Betty Grit, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

Recipients of Worship Renewal Grants will describe practical resources that helped people of all ages better understand why we do what we do in worship.

Drum Circle Worship

Eric Nykamp, Madison Square Church

This hands-on presentation explores how facilitated congregational drumming can be used in worship. All who come will be exposed to the basic facilitation techniques and make worship music together in this fun, interactive presentation. No prior drumming experience necessary!

Enacted Word: Using Theater to Present Scripture

Friends of the Groom

Friends of the Groom Theater Company will demonstrate practical and exciting methods for bringing Scripture alive in worship. Participants will experience a variety of techniques from theater and oral interpretation that can be used to proclaim Biblical texts.

Intentionally Inclusive Worship

Mark Stephenson, Christian Reformed Church in North America
Bill Vanden Bosch
Linda Vanden Bosch

When Rev. Bill and Lyn Vanden Bosch came to Oakdale Park Church in Grand Rapids they decided that they would stay long enough for the church to become an inclusive community. They stayed 30 years. They will help participants understand what an intentionally inclusive church looks like. It’s not about creating programs, but creating a mindset which says to each individual, “You belong.” That same mindset avoids paternalism by also telling each person, “You have something to contribute.” Workshop leaders will touch on issues relating to inclusiveness and worship, pastoral care, outreach, and fellowship.

Los Principios Bíblico-Teológicos de la Adoración Cristiana

Edgar Cajas
Carlos Colón, Baylor University
Ivette Herryman

Nuestro primer taller bilingüe en inglés y español será presentado por tres líderes latinoamericanos procedentes de Cuba, El Salvador, y Guatemala. El taller empezará con un tiempo de adoración por medio de lecturas bíblicas, oraciones, y cantos cristianos de Centroamérica y Sudamérica, con el tema “Cómo Orar Salmos de Paz en Tiempos de Violencia.” La parte principal del taller cubrirá principios bíblicos y teológicos de adoración cristiana y su aplicación en la adoración en grupo e individual. La parte de adoración de la clausura incluirá mayormente himnos y cánticos espirituales de Cuba. Este taller se llevará a cabo en inglés y español, así que nos dará mucho gusto que participe en el taller ya sea que hable uno o los dos idiomas.

This first-ever bi-lingual Spanish/ English seminar at Symposium will feature three Latin American leaders from Cuba, El Salvador, and Guatemala. The seminar will begin with worship featuring Scripture, prayer, and song from Central and South America, with the theme “Praying Psalms of Peace in Times of Violence.” The main part of the seminar will cover biblical-theological principles of Christian worship and its application to corporate and individual worship. The closing worship time will feature mostly new hymns and spiritual songs from Cuba. Note that this seminar will be in Spanish and English, so speakers of either or both languages are welcome!

Praying the Psalms: Personal, Pastoral, Theological and Liturgical Reflections

N.T. Wright

Praying the Psalms: Personal, Pastoral, Theological and Liturgical Reflections is a plenary address presented by Tom [N.T.] Wright at the 2012 Calvin Symposium on Worship. Wright presents a New Testament perspective on the use of Psalms in Christian worship.

Psalms for All Seasons: A Festival of Singing

Martin Tel, Princeton Theological Seminary

An evening celebrating the release of this major collection that holds promise to bring the psalms into the heart of worship. Together we will explore the full spectrum of singing the psalms crossing boundaries of time and tradition. This festival is free and open to the public.

The Dangerous Act of Worship" Living God's Call to Justice

Mark Labberton

Worship and justice are often seen as separate and unrelated. Nothing could be further from the truth based on the character of God and the revelation we have been given in Jesus Christ. How should we understand the relation of worship and justice, and how does that get reflected in our lives and in our services of worship?

The Non-Verbal Languages of Worship

Don E. Saliers, Emory University

This workshop will explore the ways in which sight, sound, taste, touch, gesture and movement animate the essentials of Christian worship. In particular we will examine the “synaesthetic” elements of ritual action where our senses “cross-over” and animate one another in the experience of grace in Word and sacrament.

The Pastoral Resources of the Psalms

John L. Bell, Iona Community in Scotland
Emily R. Brink, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

For many traditions, the Psalms are primarily one of the sine qua nons of Sunday worship, whether sung metrically like hymns in the Reformed tradition, or slotted between the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament reading as in Roman Catholic and Episcopal traditions. But to harness their use solely or primarily for liturgical purposes is almost to deny their origin as songs which spoke to God from particular experiences of delight, triumph, loss, depression or a hundred other emotions. Drawing on the breadth of expression in the Psalms, we will identify how in private pastoral encounters as in public worship arenas the psalms—spoken or sung—can minister to our deepest needs and potentials.

The Strange Silence of Songs of Justice in Contemporary Biblical Worship

John L. Bell, Iona Community in Scotland

The word justice is never far hidden in the vocabulary of the psalmists. Over half the psalms specifically use the word. But in worship today, particularly in the Western church, the word is suspect and politicised. In this workshop we look at how the global church does not share the reservations of the West, and also use examples of psalm settings which celebrate this necessary theme in our praise.

To See Thee More Clearly

Timothy R. Botts, Tyndale House Publishers

Timothy Botts will show some of his work in Scripture and explain his creative process for each of them. He will also make a large word picture of a Scripture to illustrate this method of visual meditation. After reviewing basic design principles, you will have a chance to make your own word picture using your own handwriting and printscript with simple art supplies (which will be provided).

Why is it so Hard to Preach About Money

Craig Satterlee, Lutheran School of Theology

Putting the “M” word back into stewardship, we celebrate giving money in response to an explicit proclamation of the Gospel. This workshop’s goal is to encourage and equip pastors to preach both stewardship sermons and the topic of money as it is found in Scripture.

Worship Practices in the Hispanic Culture

Edgar Cajas

We will explore some of the distinctiveness of worship in Hispanic Churches in USA. There will be a discussion of the characteristics of the Latino culture and its implications on the way worship is conducted in these communities. The concept of Hispanic worship as “fiesta” and in “exile” will be explored as well as bilingual and multicultural issues. Practical ideas on how to minister effectively in cross-cultural contexts will be also presented.