The Calvin Worship Symposium, Jan 2014

2014SymposiumwebimageIt is a testament to CICW that thousands of people travel to Michigan in the dead of winter each year to participate in their Worship Symposium.  This year, like every year, there is a fantastic list and lineup of speakers, workshops and seminars.  The conference as a whole will focus on the book of Exodus this year.

Here are a few of the seminars and workshops that I hope to check out.


Seminar 1: Rhythms of Desire, (Jeremy Begbie and James K. A. Smith)                                            
A seminar with presentations by philosopher Jamie Smith and theologian Jeremy Begbie, exploring the theme of desire in worship, drawing especially on music. It will include a dialogue between Jamie and Jeremy, live performance at the piano, and extended time for discussion with the audience.

Seminar 9: A New Song. A Skillful Song, (Greg Scheer with Ruth Duck and Bruce Benedict)
Those of us who feel Psalm 33’s call 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 Ruth Duck, Bruce Benedict and Greg Scheer, three songwriters who also spend much of their time editing the works of others as they discuss their approaches to creating new texts, new tunes, and combining texts and tunes.


Plenary sessions (repeated Saturday), 10:15 – 11:15 am

  • The Mystery of Worship, Jeremy Begbie
  •  Strengthening Gospel-Shaped Prayers of the People: A Spirit-Shaped Agenda for the Next Decade of Worship Ministry, Eric Sarwar, Anne Zaki, moderated by John Witvliet

A18: Finding and writing hymns for the liturgical calendar, Latifah Phillips
Latifah Phillips, of Page XVII, will be discussing the value of hymns in worship and walking through her process of finding, arranging, and writing hymns for Page CXVI’s Calendar Project, a project dedicated to using hymns to meditate on the liturgical seasons of Advent through Easter.

A20: Loving God Intimately: Worship with the Anaheim Vineyard Fellowship, 1977-1983, (Lester Ruth and Carrie Steenwyk with Andy Park and Cindy Rethmeier)
Have you ever wondered where Contemporary Worship came from? This workshop will explore one source for the changes that have swept around the world since the 1970s: the Anaheim Vineyard Fellowship and the ministry of its pastor, John Wimber.  The heart of the workshop will be interaction with two key early Vineyard musicians, Cindy Rethmeier and Andy Park. What insights might be gained about the future of “contemporary worship” by looking at its past?

B14: The Musician’s Church, (Tom Jennings – Redeemer NY)
How do we attract professional musicians, even those who are not (yet) believers, and help them to fully integrate into our churches? How do we disciple them, and engage their skills without burning them out? How do we address our own inadequacies in dealing with professionals? Tom Jennings shares insights from 20 years of ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, a church that nearly 300 professional musicians – from members of the New York Philharmonic and Broadway stars to rap producers – call home.

B16: One Pilgrim’s Progress, John Kohan
In this workshop, John Kohan tells how his purchase of a painting seven years ago developed into the Sacred Art Pilgrim Collection, two associated websites, and a church art exhibition program, offering practical advice to those who are interested in developing religious art or working with church art collections.

B18: Biblical Principles of Worship, Ron Man
How do we balance the need for biblical fidelity with the need for cultural sensitivity and relevance in our worship? This seminar will consider some of the unchanging, transcultural, non-negotiable biblical foundations for our worship, which also allow for a tremendous amount of freedom and creativity as we put these principles into practice.

C5: Singing Scripture in Worship for the Non-Liturgical Types, Bruce Benedict
It is often difficult to find resources (beyond the psalms) to sing scripture in worship and even more, how to place them meaningfully in worship. We will examine resources from recent hymnals and various ecumenical perspectives on bringing the riches of scripture to musical worship. To help us in that effort, we will also evaluate and sing a number of different settings of the songs of Moses from Exodus (and Revelation).

Friday Vespers, 4:15 – 5 pm

  • Everlasting to Everlasting: A Cantata for Congregation based on the Hallel Psalms, composed by Greg Scheer
    Performed by Greg Scheer and friends, with Neal Plantinga, liturgist.
    College Chapel
  • Jazz Vespers
    Tom Jennings, liturgist and pianist, with Jonathan Gilley, bass, and Fred Knapp, percussion. Seminary Chapel
  • Worship led by Latifah Phillips of Page CXVI
    Spend a late afternoon of worship with Latifah Phillips, singing hymns, hearing stories, and getting a sneak peek of the new hymns from the upcoming Calendar Project. Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium


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