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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1 Peter’s Prickly Passages

Dennis R. Edwards, North Park Theological Seminary

There are several thorny passages in 1 Peter, such as: “Honor the emperor” (2:17), “Slaves, accept the authority of your masters . . .” (2:18), “Wives, in the same way, accept the authority of your husbands . . .” (3:1), and “He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison . . .” (3:18b19). This workshop will take a closer look at these passages (and others if there’s time) with the goal of understanding them better as we consider how we might preach and teach them today.

A Sacramental Vision for Public Worship

Hans Boersma PhD, University of Utrecht
John D. Rempel, Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre
Melanie C. Ross, Yale Divinity School
Sue A. Rozeboom PhD, Western Theological Seminary
Elizabeth Y. Sung, Regent College
John Witvliet, South Bend Christian Reformed Church

What does it mean to have a profoundly sacramental vision of reality, including the ins and outs of our ordinary lives and the places we live and work? What are the historical and theological reasons why a profoundly sacramental vision of reality has been so contested and fragile? How can a profoundly sacramental vision be refl ected in and formed through ordinary worship practices? With the aim of encouraging pastors, scholars, and others who serve in places where a sacramental vision has fallen on hard times, this session will feature engagement with the authors of two signifi cant books: John Rempel’s Recapturing an Enchanted World: Ritual and Sacrament in the Free Church Tradition and Hans Boersma’s Heavenly Participation: The Weaving of a Sacramental Tapestry.

A Tale of Two Rivers

Swee Hong Lim, University of Toronto
Lester Ruth, Duke Divinity

Most histories of contemporary worship emphasize well-known stories like the conversion of hippies in southern California in the late 1960s or the rise of megachurches in the 1980s. While those events are important, there are whole other backstories behind the rise of band-based, technology-driven, hand-raising, extended-singing worship. This workshop will lay out a much fuller history than you’ve ever heard before (including a sampling of music through the years) and raise some pastoral questions for discussion.

Advocating for Justice

Todd Cioffi, Calvin University
Dominique DuBois Gilliard, Evangelical Covenant Church

Dominique DuBois Gilliard has distinguished himself as a tireless advocate for prison reform in the United States, especially in calling the church to lead the way. His book Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice That Restores tackles the shortcomings of the prison system in the U.S. and calls for Christians to promote reconciliation within our prisons instead of punishment. Our time will be spent interviewing Rev. Gillard about his book, his work, and ways in which local churches can get involved in providing reconciliation to inmates and contributing to practices of restorative justice.

Austim and the Church's Mission

Kevin Timpe, Calvin University

This session will focus on how autistic individuals have been excluded from full participation in our faith communities and why the church’s mission is hindered by that exclusion. It will end with a discussion of concrete steps a church can take to become more welcoming and supportive of those with autism.

Being a Worship Leader

Ruth Ann Schuringa, Immanuel Christian Reformed Church

Being a worship leader is no small task. Finding words for segues, choosing Scripture, and writing prayers that will engage your congregations is important work. This workshop will be a conversation about the task of being a worship leader. Come to learn some tips and tools from others and to share your “best practices” too.


Joyce Borger, Christian Reformed Churh
Chris Schoon ThD, Christian Reformed Church in North America

We hear from researchers about the importance of belonging and the epidemic of loneliness. What role can worship play for communicating that children, youth, and adults of all ages and stages belong not just to the community, but also to God? Join us as we discuss this from the perspective of faith formation, missions, and worship practice.

Beyond Stewardship

David Warners, Calvin University

What if God didn’t place humans on earth to be stewards of creation but to be something else? If not stewards, then what? Join Calvin biology professor David Warners as he shares insights from Beyond Stewardship (Calvin Press, 2019), a book he co-edited with Matthew Kuperus Heun, an engineering professor at Calvin. The aim of this book, which includes contributions from scholars in diverse disciplines, is to equip Christians to live better in this world by helping us all think more intentionally about the relationship we have with the nonhuman creation in which we are necessarily and thoroughly embedded. They offer an expanded and enlivened understanding of the place of humans in the context of God’s creation and offer ways we can practice this in the context of a worshiping community.

Bridging Centuries and Continents: Ethiopian Art and the Art of Laura James

Laura James

In her presentation, New York City-based artist Laura James will speak briefly about Ethiopia’s early religious history and Ethiopian Christian art. She will display images of various types of Ethiopian iconography as well as her own work. She will also discuss her background and introduction to Ethiopian art, and she’ll share about her work in The Book of the Gospels and other recent projects.

Children in the Worshiping Community: The Faith that Calls Children to Worship

Joyce Borger, Christian Reformed Churh
Peter Jonker, LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church
Robert J. Keeley, Calvin University
Mimi L. Larson PhD, Wheaton College
La Verne Tolbert, Urban Ministries, Inc.

In this seminar we will discuss together the place of children in the worshiping community and how pastors, worship leaders, children’s ministry leaders, parents, guardians, and other spiritual mentors can raise up worshipers and include children in worship.

Children in Worshiping Community

Mimi L. Larson PhD, Wheaton College

Have you ever asked yourself what we should do with children in worship? Join educator Mimi Larson as we explore how children make meaning of their worship experiences and discuss various ways we can engage children in worship with the aim of creating an intergenerational community of worshipers.

Choral Music for the Faithful Fifteen

Kai Ton Chau, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

Smaller congregations and choirs are blessed by the “Faithful Fifteen”—those singers who are committed to the choir ministry. In this workshop, we explore choral music repertoire that connects meaningfully to the liturgy, is musically beautiful, and edifies the singers artistically and spiritually. A reading packet will be provided.

Church Forsaken: Practicing Presence in Neglected Neighborhoods

Jonathan Brooks, Canaan Community Church

In this workshop, we will challenge local churches to rediscover that loving our neighbors means loving our neighborhoods. Unpacking the themes of Jeremiah 29, we will see how Christians can be fully present in local communities, building homes and planting gardens for the common good. We will also discuss how community stakeholders and civic leaders can rediscover that churches are viable partners in community transformation in ways they may never have considered.

Church Sound 101

Rod Jager, Friendship Christian Reformed Church

An effective presentation of the Word in today’s churches requires an understanding of how modern sound systems function. This workshop introduces all the major components of a church sound system and practical ways to optimize each of them. It explains how components such as microphones, cables, mixer board, and speakers can best be used to enhance worship.

Collaborative Art in the Church: How to Start

Regina Jupp

This session is designed for anyone from artist, to layperson, to worship pastor, to theologian. How can we come together to construct a thriving visual arts ministry? How do we ensure that church art is both understandable and theologically sound? One way to incorporate meaningful, appreciated art into the local church is by involving as many people as possible. While that can seem risky or overwhelming, in this hour, we will learn how to use teamwork to our advantage and explore a collaborative model for future projects. This workshop is a condensed version of Thursday’s seminar.

Cursing, Swearing, and Cussing: The Imprecatory Psalms as Holy Profane Speech

W. David O. Taylor, Fuller Theological Seminary

In this workshop we will explore how the ostensibly obscene language of the curse psalms occupies the same basic territory as profane language. We will see how the psalmist uses hyperbolic profane language in order to give faithful expression to profane experiences—experiences that violate human dignity and that desecrate God’s good purposes for the world.

Desarrollando Jóvenes Líderes: Cuatro Claves para la Innovación

Elizabeth Tamez PhD, New Generation3

Nos une el deseo de ver a nuestros jóvenes ser parte integral y desarrollar su liderazgo en la iglesia, la pregunta es, ¿cómo? Partiendo del trabajo, las experiencias y la investigación de siete líderes latinos cuyas congregaciones y grupos paraeclesiásticos son incubadoras de liderazgo para los jóvenes en sus comunidades, en esta sesión exploraremos conceptos prácticos para expandir nuestra imaginación y conocimiento, con el fi n de fomentar la innovación en la iglesia que conlleve a desarrollar el potencial de liderazgo entre la juventud.

Epiclesis in Action: Songs of the Others

Swee Hong Lim, University of Toronto

In the early 21st century, North American congregations were captivated by non-Western (global) songs and rushed to embrace them despite the underlying concerns of cultural appropriation and authentic performance practice. This session seeks to offer Scriptural principles and pastoral suggestions for enabling this body of congregational songs to revitalize our congregations.

Eschatological Preaching: Imitating the Tension, Movement, and Hope of the Gospel

Betsy DeVries, University of Toronto

In 2009, Thomas Long lamented that the pulpit has grown silent on matters of eschatology. The goal of this workshop is to help preachers begin to remedy that silence by developing a theological structure for preaching that imitates the tension, movement, and hopeful trajectory of the gospel. Participants will come to see that eschatology is not an optional add-on to preaching the gospel, nor is it simply an isolated doctrine to be taught; rather, eschatological hope is intrinsic to the gospel message itself.

Everything I Learned About Giving a Eulogy I Learned from a Science Fiction Novel

W. David O. Taylor, Fuller Theological Seminary

Christians have all too often failed to think thoroughly and biblically or theologically about the nature of a good word in the fi nal testimony of a person’s life and have instead allowed the practice of eulogizing to be determined by Greco-Roman and popular ideas. In this workshop we will explore what it means to speak the unvarnished truth about the deceased in such a way that the grace of God becomes the focal point rather than the dead person’s decency, niceness, or superlative accomplishments.

Flow: An Ancient Way to Contemporary Worship

Lester Ruth, Duke Divinity School

Is there a way to follow the prescribed order of worship from mainline denominational worship resources in a way that feels legitimately and authentically contemporary? That is the question this workshop will try to answer. The source for this answer is ancient, from the earliest centuries of the church. Step by step, we’ll break down the process of rethinking what official orders of worship are calling for so that pastors and worship leaders can plan and lead a Word and Table order that feels genuinely contemporary. This workshop will cast a new, but classic understanding of traditional worship as well as spur a reconsideration of how contemporary worship could be done in mainline congregations.

From Longing to Belonging: Connecting through the Language of Worship with Persons Experiencing Dementia

Barbara J. Newman, All Belong Center for Inclusive Education

Looking for continued connection points with congregational members experiencing dementia? This session will equip and inspire you with practical tools for visiting and learning together. The language of worship serves as the springboard into continued relationship and a meaningful time together.

Gracious Bilingual Worship

Martin Tel, Princeton Theological Seminary

Most often in bilingual worshiping communities, one language is dominant. Sometimes this disparity is massive. In many communities there are shifting patterns in which a previously dominant language is waning. While many assume that bilingual worship will by nature be a positive experience, the way that we plan and lead bilingual singing can in fact exacerbate feelings of anxiety, inferiority, or frustration. In this workshop we will explore alternative and achievable approaches to bilingual singing and praying that feel less like accommodation and more like grace and celebration. Though we will be using the new Spanish/English resource Santo, Santo, Santo / Holy, Holy, Holy, the ideas explored in this workshop are applicable to any bilingual situation.

Guardian Angel Painting

Laura James

“For God will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways . . .” —Psalm 91:11 Guardian angels and other protective images have long been used by the Christian faithful in Ethiopia as in many other religious traditions. Artist Laura James will speak briefly about Ethiopian Christian art and its guardian angel tradition. Participants will then be guided to paint their own guardian angels.

Improvisational Preaching

Jared E. Alcántara, Baylor University

This workshop teaches preachers how to adopt an improvisational approach to preaching. Drawing insights from theology, homiletics, and performance theory, participants will discuss how to internalize sermon manuscripts, how to balance conventional preparation with intuitive spontaneity, and how to read and respond to listeners during the live sermon. As a case study in improvisational preaching, participants will also listen to and learn from the preaching of Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, one of the leading African-American preachers of the twentieth century.

Intergenerational Congregational Singing: A Foretaste of Heaven on Earth

Herbert H. Tsang, Church Music Ministry of Canada

Why is congregational singing so important? How can we encourage our congregation to sing better? As part of the learning we glean from the Vital Worship Grant project, we will explore the importance of congregational singing and the possibility of revitalizing this important aspect of our corporate spiritual disciplines with a focus on fostering intergenerational worship. Ideas for cultivating a vibrant and passionate singing culture in our church will also be explored.

Is Your Youth Ministry Offering Community Where No One Is Looking? And What Are the Implications for Worship?

Terence Gadsen
Robert J. Keeley, Calvin University
Elizabeth Tamez Méndez PhD, New Generation3
Lynn Barger Elliott, Calvin University

Arguably our youth are more connected than any generation before them. Yet studies report that they claim things like “no one knows me well” or “my relationships are meaningless.” They feel lonely and isolated, as if the people who surround them are not necessarily with them. Our youth are becoming accustomed to knowing absence in the presence of others while also feeling presence with others on social media though they are physically absent from each other. With changing expectations of how and where to fi nd community, as well as what one is willing to give to receive it, how do we create a sense of koinonia, or intergenerational Christian community, in our worship and throughout our ministries?

John Calvin, Creation, and the Liturgical Arts

G. Sujin Pak, Duke Divinity School
W. David O. Taylor, Fuller Theological Seminary

While both friend and foe of John Calvin have regarded him as an enemy of the physical body, a pessimist about the material creation, and a negative influence on the liturgical arts, that would tell only half the story—and be far from the more interesting story. This seminar explores ways in which Calvin, standing at the headwaters of the Reformed tradition, represents a rich resource for the arts in worship, even if not in the ways one might initially suppose. More specifically, Calvin’s theology of creation opens up a trinitarian grammar by which we might understand the theological purposes of music, painting, architecture, poetry, and other media of art in corporate worship.

Juntos desde la tierra: seguir a Jesús de lunes a domingo (solo el viernes)

Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Resonate Global Mission of the Christian Reformed Church in North America

Partiendo de su pertenencia en Casa Adobe, Ruth invita a los participantes de este taller a explorar lo que significa seguir a Jesús como miembro de una comunidad cristiana intencional, como vecinos de Santa Rosa de Heredia, Costa Rica, y más allá, y como cuidadores del jardín en el cual nos ha colocado Dios a todas y todos.

Building on her membership in Casa Adobe, Ruth invites participants in this workshop to explore what it means to follow Jesus as a member of an intentional Christian community, as neighbors in Santa Rosa de Heredia, Costa Rica and beyond, and as caretakers of the garden in which God has placed us all.

Lessons on Developing Young Leaders

Elizabeth Tamez PhD, New Generation3

We are united in our desire to see young people be an integral part of and leaders in the church. The question is, how? In this session, we draw from the work, experiences, and research of seven Latin@ leaders whose congregations and parachurch groups are leadership incubators for young people in their communities. We will explore practical concepts to expand our imaginations and know-how in fostering innovation in the church towards developing young leaders.

Life Together in Christ: Indigenous Peoples, Refugees, Immigrants, Pilgrims, and the Challenges of Christian Unity in a Global Context

Cheryl Bear, Nadleh Whut'en, Dakelh Nation and Dumdenyoo Clan
Maria Eugenia Cornou PhD, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Najla Kassab, World Communion of Reformed Churches
Roberta R. King, Fuller Seminary
Mark MacDonald, World Council of Churches
Phillip McKinley, Dublin City University

Today, more people than ever before live in a country other than the one in which they were born, and the number of displaced people is at a record high. According to the United Nations, in 2017 the number of migrants reached 258 million, and in 2018 an unprecedented 70.8 million people around the world had been forced from home by conflict and persecution. Half of the latter are under the age of 18. Throughout Scripture the people of God have been called to love the stranger (Lev. 19:34) and to serve those in need (Matt. 25:35–40). How are different Christian communities around the globe responding to the challenges of our times? How do Christian hospitality and social justice relate to worship? How do churches’ responses to the migrant crisis inform our worship practices? How does public worship form God’s people to love and serve the most vulnerable? Join us in this fascinating conversation with panelists who will share their unique experiences in a variety of contexts around the globe.

Liturgy as the Church's Primary Teaching Tool

Jonathan Hehn OSL, University of Notre Dame
Dominique DuBois Gilliard, Evangelical Covenant Church

Fewer and fewer Christians, it seems, experience catechesis outside of corporate worship. Biblical and theological literacy is low. As leaders, should we be worshiping differently to directly confront this reality? The result need not turn worship into a simply didactic event but could instead shape it into a doxological engagement with God that is deeply aware how worship forms people as Christians.

Loving Our Muslim Neighbor: An Interview

John A. Azumah, University of Ghana
Cory Willson, Calvin Theological Seminary

What is it like for a theologian and minister to live and work at the intersections of Islam and Christianity and the Global South and North? What spiritual practices from the majority world help sustain faithful Christian witness in multireligious contexts? What might this teach those who lead worship or congregational life? Join this conversation with John Azumah, who is an ordained Ghanaian minister in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, a theologian, and a professor of world Christianity and Islam who has taught on four continents. Hosted by Cory Willson, professor of missiology at Calvin Seminary.

New Song. A Skillful Song.

Wendell Kimbrough
Swee Hong Lim, University of Toronto
Kate Williams, GIA Publications, INC
Greg Scheer

Those of us who feel the call of Psalm 33 to write new songs must remember that the psalm also tells us to play skillfully. In this seminar we will focus on the skills of songwriting for congregations, digging into what it means to balance inspiration and perspiration. Join these singer-songwriters as they speak about their approaches to creating new texts, new tunes, and the combining of texts and tunes. Some time will also be spent discussing participants’ song submissions. Attendees of all levels and musical styles will benefit from this seminar.

Praying at the Table, Praying at the Font

Calvin Symposium on Worship
Lester Ruth, Duke Divinity School

For 2,000 years, one central component of Lord’s Supper and baptism liturgies has been compelling doxological prayers modeled in part after the pattern of the psalms and Jewish prayers of thanksgiving. But for Protestants who are a bit allergic to pre-written or set prayers, these symphonic doxological prayers may seem unusual or strange. Come to this session to explore with four worship teachers from four Protestant traditions some insights and learning about introducing or re-introducing robust prayers of thanksgiving at the font and the table in ways that can also introduce children and new believers to the grand metanarrative of the gospel.

Presenting Scripture Well in Worship

Jeff Barker, Northwestern College

Join this workshop to learn from an array of performed examples (live and recorded) that model effective communication of Scripture for both individual and group presentations.

Psalm Singing and Bringing Our Whole Emotional Lives into Worship

Michelle Higgins, Faith for Justice
Isaac Wardell, Trinity Presbyterian Church

Wardell and Higgins will describe leading worship in the contexts of their worship services in St. Louis and Charlottesville and explore how using the psalms can help people bring their whole lives into worship. They’ll discuss how the psalms give voice to lament for violence in our communities, emotional trauma, and words of life for our rejoicing. We’ll spend time both discussing the psalms and singing psalms together.

Psalm Singing and the Mission of the Church

Wendell Kimbrough

Why sing psalms? Does it matter how we sing them? For many, psalm singing is a nice idea (because they’re in the Bible), but not essential to the mission of the church. In this workshop, songwriter and worship artist Wendell Kimbrough will share from personal experience and biblical conviction why he believes the church cannot thrive without singing psalms. He’ll share the vision that informs his work as a songwriter and how he’s connected the dots between the Great Commission, emotional wholeness, and the challenge of the psalms. We’ll spend time singing and have a lively conversation.

Reading the Apocalypse in the 21st Century

Clair Mesick PhD, Calvin University

Of all the books of the New Testament, Revelation is perhaps the most intimidating. A few passages offer clear spiritual and pastoral insight for modern Christians—Christ coming on the clouds, the victorious Lion who appears as a sacrificed Lamb, the new heaven and new earth. But others are riddled with challenges: rampant violence, questionable depiction of women, bizarre symbols, befuddling visions, and the text’s widespread use in predicting the end of days. Can Revelation be salvaged? This workshop will address the challenges of reading Revelation, off er some strategies for thinking through them, and conclude with refl ection on what the Apocalypse off ers 21st-century Christians, such as its value for the topics of empire, injustice, and ecology.

Reclaiming the Role of Story in Worship

Jeff Barker, Northwestern College

Our God is a storytelling God. God’s book is a rich collection of stories. God’s church is a storytelling church. This seminar is a rich collection of storytelling examples from the Bible, history, and contemporary lives, using forms as simple as a solo testimony and as complex as enacting scenes from the missionary biography Iowa Ethiopia.

Soul-Shaping Practices for Pastoral Leaders: A Conversation

Dale Cooper, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Satrina Reid, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

In his book Telling Secrets, Frederick Buechner said, “Ministers in particular, people in the caring professions in general, are famous for neglecting their selves with the result that they are apt to become in their own way as helpless and crippled as the people they are trying to care for and thus no longer selves who can be of much use to anybody.” In this workshop we will explore and converse together about some practices vital to developing and maintaining one’s spiritual vitality, thus to become ever more mature in Christ and to serve others well.

The Bible in Public Worship and Daily Life in an Age of Declining Biblical Literacy

John A. Azumah, University of Ghana
Jonathan Hehn OSL, University of Notre Dame
G. Sujin Pak, Duke Divinity
Melanie C. Ross, Yale Divinity School
Chris Schoon ThD, Christian Reformed Church in North America
John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

This session will feature several biblical scholars and pastoral leaders who love deep engagement with Scripture and who love to explore connections between the Bible and the rough-and-tumble world of ordinary life in a variety of cultural contexts. What practices of communal Scriptural engagement— including the way we read, sing, preach, and pray in relationship to Scripture in public worship—promise to strengthen our love of the Bible? How can we respond to declining biblical literacy and short, social-media attention spans with compelling, engaging approaches? Each panelist will identify a case study of one biblical text in their area of expertise in relationship to these key questions.

The Bowed Head: How Preachers Deal with Grief

Scott Hoezee, Calvin Theological Seminary
Cornelius Plantinga Jr., Calvin Theological Seminary

All pastors preach and counsel during seasons of grief. Such grief may be personal, congregational, national, or global. Grief has many causes, locations, and contours. It may vary by object and intensity. This presentation will explore multiple facets of grief with an eye toward helping participant preachers guide people through diffi cult seasons of life. The presentation will ponder such topics as the nature and causes of grief, healthy and unhealthy forms of grief, biblical approaches to grief, and intelligent addresses to grief in worship and preaching.

The Christian Year and Ordinary Life

Christopher Flesoras PhD, Saint Anna Greek Orthodox Church
Elizabeth Y. Sung, Regent College
Lisa M. Weaver, Columbia Theological Seminary
Joanna Wigboldy, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

All calendars provide a rhythm and shape to our lives. The Christian year—Advent through Pentecost and Ordinary Time—is a calendar that provides a faith-filled rhythm that can order our time and deepen our discipleship. How does the Christian year shape our engagement with everyday life? How does orienting our worship around the Christian year affect a congregation’s life? Lisa M. Weaver will begin the seminar by providing a brief introduction to the Christian year and how it can reorient our view of time, and then panelists will reflect on the formative nature of the Christian year in individuals and communities.

The Formative Power of How We Listen to Worship Music

Anna Nekola, Canadian Mennonite University

How do you listen to worship music? What technology is involved? What sensory experiences are significant? How do you interpret and evaluate them—and then explain them to others? In every culture and century, listening practices shape singing practices. Together, they shape our “praying through singing” practices. Come to this workshop to explore with fresh eyes aspects of our ordinary engagement with music that we rarely pause to examine, and to explore what this could mean for faithful, vital worship ministry today.

The Gospel, Christ, Spiritual Disciplines, and Personal Transformation: Examining Dallas Willard’s Account in Light of the Biblical Vision of Salvation

Elizabeth Y. Sung, Regent College

In this session, we will distill and examine several major features of Dallas Willard’s paradigm-shifting explanation of the logic of salvation according to Scripture as set forth in his magnum opus, The Divine Conspiracy. His exposition of salvation clarifies, reframes, and reconnects key biblical teachings about the triune God and the nature of the kingdom of God as ultimate reality; the person and work of Jesus Christ; and the ramifications of the gospel for a full personal appropriation of salvation via discipleship to Jesus, with particular reference to spiritual disciplines. We will consider some of the ways that Willard’s expansive account offers correctives and a more adequate, practicable, and effective alternative to the various axiomatic theological explanations and practical strategies currently offered in Christian academic, churchly, and popular circles.

The Human Leader: Leading from Weakness

Mandy Smith, University Christian Church
Noel Snyder, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Joanna Wigboldy, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

How might human limitations empower rather than impede our leadership? Mandy Smith, author of The Vulnerable Pastor, will explore themes related to vulnerability and weakness in leadership and ministry. Interspersing teaching with guided roundtable discussion, this seminar will empower you to lead out of your deep humanity.

The Psalms as a Spiritual Guide

G. Sujin Pak, Duke Divinity School

Luther and Calvin often remarked that the psalms express the whole spectrum of human emotions, making the psalms a compelling tool of instruction for the church. Calvin famously called the psalms an “anatomy of all the parts of the soul” and saw them as a central key to unlocking the teachings of Scripture and illuminating the central spiritual practices of the Christian life (i.e., worship and prayer). This workshop will explore several ways that Luther and Calvin employed the psalms to support Christian practices of worship, prayer, and discipleship (i.e., spiritual formation). We will look at key themes in their interpretation of the psalms with an eye to comparisons and contrasts between Luther and Calvin and a focus on a handful of psalms as case studies.

The Worship Team: Principles for Collaborative Worship Planning

Kevin J. Adams, Granite Springs Church
Nikki Lerner
Maria Monteiro, Baptist University of the Américas
Ruth Ann Schuringa, Immanuel Christian Reformed Church
Noel Snyder, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

For many pastors, worship musicians, and other church leaders, collaborative worship planning is an ideal that we strive for yet often struggle to achieve. This seminar will discuss strategies for maintaining healthy team dynamics and enhancing collaborative worship planning. Sharing practical tips and stories from the “front lines,” we will help you take your next steps toward greater collaboration in worship planning and leadership at your church. Consider attending this seminar with other team members to enhance your learning!

Universal Design for Worship in Action: Cultural, Curricular, and Personal Application

Elizabeth Bajema
Barbara J. Newman, All Belong Center for Inclusive Education
Kevin Timpe, Calvin University
Herbert H. Tsang, Church Music Ministry of Canada
LaTonya McIver Penny, New Mount Zion Baptist Church

Learn from our panelists what universal design for worship looks like from their experiences within an adult small group Bible study, the African-American church, family life linked to church life, and the Chinese church in Canada. The rich expertise represented in the panelists will be sure to inspire and impact your own worshiping community.

Visio Divina: History, Practice, and Resources

Rachel Smith PhD, Taylor University

This workshop introduces visio divina (an extension of lectio divina), an ancient Christian devotional practice combining meditation on Scripture in relation to images as a means of deepening engagement with Scripture. Contemporary practice of visio divina commonly includes not only visual images, but music and poetry. The workshop includes a brief historical overview, an introduction to the actual practice of visio divina, and some of the many resources readily available for individuals and groups interested in exploring how this practice might deepen devotional life.

What Makes Christian Worship Trinitarian?

Cornelius Plantinga Jr., Calvin Theological Seminary

The doctrine of the Trinity is old, deep, and mysterious. How should Christian trinitarianism manifest itself in worship—that is, beyond simple repetition of the trinitarian formula? How might deep trinitarian worship bless God and ourselves? How might it even affect the way we look at each other after worship is over?

What Was Lost

Elise Erikson Barrett

Nearly a decade ago, What Was Lost: A Christian Journey Through Miscarriage was written as a personal and pastoral response to a dearth of Christian resources for a loss that is complicated emotionally, communally, and spiritually. Awareness has increased over the past ten years, but persons continue to struggle to fi nd faithful honoring of a common but often unspoken grief (nearly one in four pregnancies will end in miscarriage). In this workshop, author Elise Erikson Barrett will facilitate a conversation about how the church accompanies women and families who have lost pregnancies.

When the Story about a Song Changes How We Sing the Song

Emily R. Brink, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Swee Hong Lim, University of Toronto
Anna Nekola, Canadian Mennonite University
Lester Ruth, Duke Divinity School
Eric Washington, Calvin University

If a worship song is a self-contained item with text and tune, able to stand and be used independently of its origins, why do worshipers like to know the background stories behind the hymns and choruses they love? Does it make a difference when we know something about songwriters, their context, and the situation out of which specific songs come? Does the desire to know a song’s history tell us more about the song or about ourselves? This seminar on songwriting stories will explore these questions and more.

Worship Behind Bars: How Liturgical Practices Can Change a Prison

Todd Cioffi, Calvin University
Dominique DuBois Gilliard, Evangelical Covenant Church

We live in an age of mass incarceration. Although the United States makes up approximately 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. incarcerates nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. As Christians, how should we address mass incarceration in the U.S.? This seminar explores the powerful effect two ministries are having at the Richard Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan. Just over ten years ago, Celebration Fellowship Church was planted behind bars at Handlon. For a decade, this church has grown in numbers and in Christian community, helping to transform Handlon from the inside out. Nearly five years ago, Calvin Seminary and Calvin University started the Calvin Prison Initiative (CPI), which offers inmates a chance to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Faith and Community Leadership and provides Christian and moral leadership in prisons. Together these ministries allow inmates to move from worship to the classroom and back again and build a Christian worldview that equips them to be agents of renewal across the prison, powerfully transforming the prison culture. Additional participants from Celebration Fellowship and the CPI program will join the discussion.

Worship God with the Dance! The Deep Connections Between Worship and Dance

Kathleen S. Turner, Greater Allen AME Church

The guiding question for this workshop is: What is the relationship between liturgy and liturgical dance, and how does such a relationship enhance church worship? This workshop will explore the ways in which Scripture, liturgy, and sacred song create avenues for expression and interpretation by and through liturgical dance movement. These avenues of movement expression and interpretation help to bring clarity and comprehension to both liturgy and one’s knowledge of the Most High God. It will pay particular attention to the use of the body as an expressive instrument that embodies and displays reflective thought and honest emotion as expressed in Christian worship. During the one-hour session, songs concentrating on the symposium theme of “Living in Hope and Grace” found in 1 Peter will be explored through liturgical dance choreography. This is a condensed presentation of the Thursday seminar.

Worshipping with the Psalms Across Times and Cultures

Carlos Colón, Baylor University
Maria Eugenia Cornou PhD, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Maria Monteiro, Baptist University of the Américas
Rebecca Snippe, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Marcell Silva Steuernagel PhD, Southern Methodist University
Martin Tel, Princeton Theological Seminary

Psalm singing has been practiced by Christians from many traditions throughout history and has shaped the spiritual life of many believers and worshiping communities in different parts of the world. The psalms are powerful texts expressing a wide variety of human experiences and emotions, and their use can deeply shape believers’ hearts and minds. In this seminar we will explore ways and resources to practice congregational psalm singing by drawing from a variety of cultures and traditions with help from Calvin Institute of Christian Worship’s newest bilingual hymnal Santo, Santo, Santo / Holy, Holy, Holy (GIA Publications, 2019).