Calvin Worship Symposium 2017

Hope College Worship was invited to lead a service again at this years Worship Symposium. The theme for services this year was the book of Revelation. We planned a service that was inspired by Revelation 4-5.

You can watch the whole service HERE.

You can download this years Worship Symposium program catalog HERE.


Prelude: O Lord, You Are My Light  (Jess Alldredge)

God’s Greeting and Call to Worship
inspired by Revelation 1:4–8

Before the Throne of God Above (Charitie Lees DeCheney Bancroft, Vikki Cook)

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty (traditional)


Confession (Rev.Lauren Taylor)

Sanctus (Bethany Brooks)

Assurance (Rev.Lauren Taylor)

All Things New (Green Carpet Players)

Litany Prayer: “Thou Who Wast Center
(Christina Rossetti, based on Revelation 5)

Jesus at the Center (Israel Houghton)
recording forthcoming…


Prayer for Illumination Revelation 4 and 5
Message: “The Mountains Are Out” (Trygve Johnson)

Revelation Song/Digno y santo (Jennie Lee Riddle)

Prayers of the People (Rev. James Ellis III)

The Lamb Has Overcome (Luke Morton)


Valediction (from Revelation 22)
Behold, Jesus is coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of this book.
Behold! Jesus is coming soon to judge the earth with righteousness and truth.
He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.”
And let the one who hears say, “Come,” and let the one who is thirsty come;
let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
Jesus is coming soon. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!


Hope College Worship services at Calvin Worship Symposium 2016

Earlier this semester Hope College Worship was busy over at Calvin’s (shhh) Worship Symposium.  We led morning and evening services on Thursday at the CFAC and also backed up Sandra McCracken during her afternoon vespers services.  Below I’ll provide some brief info on the music and liturgy we used.

All Creatures of Our God and King – Traditional, arrangement by Hope College Worship

For the Beauty of the Earth – Traditional arrangement by Aaron Niesquist and A New Liturgy

Confession of Sin (BCP) / Assurance – Psalm 103

Here is Love – traditional, arrangement by Ian Yates & Hope College Worship
By His Wounds – traditional, arrangement by Isaac Wardell & Hope College Worship

Apostles Creed – video for universal design

All Hail Christ – original by Hope College Worship

Vespers with Sandra McCracken
Title: My Soul Finds Rest In God Alone

Opening Prayer – O Gracious Light
O gracious Light, pure brightness of the ever-living Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun, and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing thy praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Thou art worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices, O Son of God, O Giver of life, and to be glorified through all the worlds.
Songs Of Invitation
Trinity Song (unpublished)
My Help, My God – Psalm 42
Prayer for Divine Guidance
Open my lips, O Lord,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence
and take not your holy Spirit from me.
Give me the joy of your saving help again
and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
World without end. Amen.
Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing (B)
Come Light Our Hearts – Rain for Roots
A Collect for Grace
Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as
you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength,
so you never forsake those who make their boast of your
mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Psalm Reading – 62-63 excerpts
Song – My Soul Finds Rest (Psalm 62)
Prayer (Read together as musicians continue quietly)
We have sought to find rest in places that only make us weary and empty.  Almighty God, give us your peace and quiet us from within.  We have looked for a place to hide from the storm, from the heat of the day, and from the fear that comes over us at night.  Be our eternal home, our rest, our shelter and our strength. We turn away from tthe shallow springs of self-reliance to drink from your living water that we may be satisfied.  We return again to you, our Father.  Satisfy us again with your abundance, Holy Spirit.  In every age, O LORD, you have been our refuge.
Psalm Reading – Ps 126
Rock of Ages Cleft For Me
(Augustus Montague Toplady/Trad)
Psalm Reading –  Ps 40
Closing Prayer –
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours
of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and
chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise him all people here below
Praise him above ye heavenly hosts, praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen
 Let us bless the Lord.
 Thanks be to God.



Cardiphonia Compilation – Psalms 135-150


Cardiphonia is excited to release the first in a new series of compilations focusing exclusively on the psalms.  You can find them at a new bandcamp address  We started with the last section of book five – Psalms 135-150.  This section of psalms contains a lot of familiar psalms and phrases and is a great illustration of the many types of psalms (Praise, lament, thanksgiving, etc). From hear we hope to cover the rest of the psalter over the next ten years!  The new collection is two albums and 30+ songs demonstrating a wide variety of approaches to singing the psalms in modern worship. Our hope is that every community might find something that connects musically with their congregation.  One consistent voice I’ve heard is that churches would love to sing the psalms but that it is difficult to find versions that sync with their musical culture. Obviously this particular compilation only scratches the surface of musical options available.

Wherever the Psalter is abandoned, an incomparable treasure vanishes from the Christian Church. With its recovery will come unsuspected power.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Songbook for Both Albums + introduction to the Psalms by Ron Man

Other Psalms resources:

Singing Laments

Seven Reasons to Sing the Psalms

Songs for the Sojourn – a worship grant in the Psalms of Ascents


Bruce Benedict – is the Chaplain of Worship Arts at Hope College and helps organize things at Cardiphonia.
Caroline Cobb – is a musician and songwriter from Palo Alto, CA by way of the great state of Texas.
Christie Chew – is a san francisco songwriter and musician at City Church, Mission Site.
Coastland Commons – is a collection of musicians and artists working in the Seattle, WA area.
Craig Harris – a songwriter and seminary student at Covenant seminary in St. Louis, MO
David Potter – is a songwriter and worship leader at Coram Deo Church.
Gathering Sound Collective – is a group of worship leaders, planners, and artists who are passionate about worship in local congregations.
Greg Scheer – is the worship director at Church of the Servant in Grand Rapids, MI and an associate of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Jeff Bourque – is the Director of Worship at Grace Community Church in Nashville and the genius behind
Jered McKenna – is the music director at Mitchell Road Presbyterian in Greenville, SC
Kaitlyn Ferry – is a songwriter and a member of the Green Carpet players at Redeemer Knoxville.
Kelsey Vaughn – is an RUF intern and member of the Green Carpet players at Redeemer Knoxville.
Kingsborough Hymns – a retuned hymnal project from Park Slop Pres in Brooklyn, NY
Luke Morton – is a pastor and musician at Green Lake Presbyterian church, in Seattle WA.
Music from the Gathering Church – the brainchild and studio chops of Jeff Crawford and crew.
Nathan Partain – is the worship director at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN
Rick Jensen – is a founder of the liturgy fellowship and currently leads worship at Trinity Church Oxford, England.
The Alone Instrument – is the music ministry of Columbia Presbyterian Church, Columbia SC spearheaded by Kenny McWilliams.
The Crossing Music – is the music ministry of The Crossing in Columbia, MO
The Gentle Wolves – are members of the worship team at Servants Church in Austin TX – wrangled and produced by Richard Kentopp.
The Welcome Wagon – is the work of Vito and Monique Aiuto.  They pastor Resurrection Pres in Williamsburg, NY and release music through Asthmatic Kitty Records.
Tim Nicholson – is the worship director at Lexington Pres and producer behind Lux Mundi Music.
Trinity Anglican Music – the music ministry of Trinity Anglican Mission in Atlanta, GA produced by Marty Reardon.
Wendell Kimbrough – a songwriter, worship arts director and artist-in-residence at Church of the Apostles in Fairhope, Alabama.
Wes Crawford – Wes Crawford is a noted jazz player and music director at Redeemer Fellowship in Kansas City, MO

Resources for the Calvin Worship Symposium 2014

2014SymposiumwebimageHere is a collection of links, posts, and pages to check out during the various presentations this week.

Symposium 2014 on the Interwebs

You can watch a number of videos of services and plenary’s HERE.
You can read back over twitter comments, links, and pictures at #wsymp14

Songwriting Seminary (Thursday)

Master List of Retuned Hymn Artists and Projects (check other tab for albums)
google doc

Blog – Top 30 Retuned Hymns

Interview – Kevin Twit on Bobby Gilles “My Song in the Night” page

Information on fellow presenters Greg Scheer and Ruth Duck

Canticles Seminar (Fri/Sat)

PDF of Modern Scripture Songs from The Verses Project and Caroline Cobb Music

PDF Songbook of songs based in biblical canticles (40+ Songs)

PDF and Album Links for the Cardiphonia Compilation

Highlights from Symposium

Hallel Psalms Vespers – Greg Scheer
You can watch a vespers service of music written to the entire Hallel Psalm collection from Greg Scheer.  Here is greg’s contribution to our Hallel Psalm compilation.

Anne Zaki –
Her talk on how to pray for the church in difficult international situations was incredibly helpful and moving. You should be able to watch above.

Jeremy Begbie and James KA Smith
Mostly Jeremy discussing how the ‘musterion’ of the gospel is about the revealing of Jesus Christ. Very helpful stuff…and none of us will ever listen to the music to downtown abbey the same again! 

Heidelberg – Songs from the Catechism by Jeremy Zeyl
jeremy and I had a moment as brothers in the work of setting ancient catechisms to music! Listen to his songs at his SOUNDCLOUD account.

Upward Call – Devin Pogue and Carl Chombo
enjoying this new ‘retuned hymns’ project from folks in the Chicago area.

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


Singing What We Believe – Calvin Seminar

In June I traveled up to Grand Rapids, MI to participate in the summer seminar series that Calvin College sponsors each summer.  The particular seminar that I contributed to was called “Singing What We Believe” and was directed by Bert Polman, the head of the music department at Calvin and a Senior Research Fellow for Calvin’s Institute of Christian Worship (Worship Renewal Grants, Worship Symposium, et al).  You can read the seminar description below…

Here is the Seminar Description:

Congregational songs have often been called the lay persons’ “handbook of theology” as “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” have a unique mix of doxa (worship) and logia (teaching) which shape and express the life of Christians. This seminar will  explore initially the theology of hymn texts, based on an analysis of some 250 classic hymn lyrics and a similar number of contemporary Praise-Worship texts. Then the seminar participants will discuss the relationship between the theological themes of such texts and the prevalence of what sociologists of religion (Christian Smith, et al) have termed “moralistic therapeutic deism.” In other words, this interdisciplinary seminar will focus not only on doxa and logia but also on praxis, and is expected to raise issues about current religious convictions and practices of Christians.

Reading on Hymnody and CWM:

Our reading focused primarily on the following books, articles, and a collection of 250 classic hymn texts (largely from the “Hymns for Worship” collection) and 289 of the most popular CCLI songs from August 1997 through Feb 2012.  The collection of writings focused around hymnody and CWM was brought into conversation with the books and articles streaming from Christian Smith’s research on the state of adolescent religion in American and MTD (Moralistic Therapeutic Deism).

1. S. Paul Schilling: The Faith We Sing, How the Message of Hymns Can Enhance Christian Belief (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1983) (out of print)
2. Robert Woods & Brian Walrath, eds.: The Message in the Music, Studying Contemporary Praise and Worship (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007), esp. chapters 1-7
3. Edward Lee Steele: Theological Themes in Contemporary Hymnody (PDF)

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

1. Christian Smith & Melina Lundquist Denton: Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005)
2. Christian Smith & Patricia Snell: Souls in Transition: The Religious & Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009)
3. Al Mohler: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism – Our New Religion (2005)
4.  Christian Smith, On “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” as U.S. Teenagers’ Actual, Tacit, De Facto Religious Faith. (2005)
5. Michael Horton, (video) What is Moralistic Therapeutic Deism? @ The Resurgence


In setting up this class Dr. Polman had a hunch that through a broad textual analysis of the most popular CWM (CCLI) songs from the past decade or two (in comparison with classic hymnody) he might be able to draw some corollaries between the trends that Christian Smith has found in his research on MTD and themes prevalent in CWM music.  And while there are certainly some similarities it is very difficult to draw any broad conclusions about the state of orthodoxy in the church simply from CCLI results. (Which don’t speak to the broader teaching of the church, the framing of songs in their context, etc).   Many of the hymn texts have issues just as well as the CCLI song lyrics when it comes to clearly communicating orthodox views on God, sin, humanity, salvation, etc.  In two followup posts we will look at MTD more closely and provide some suggestions on how to address each of the  theological fallacies of MTD with wise and discerning song choices, or at least how to mitigate many of the CWM lyrics with thoughtful song ‘framing.’

The class was incredibly challenging with the intensity in which we examined songs texts.  Because worship songs function for us as wholistic units of text, music and context it felt at times like we were exposing the songs…laying out the texts as naked uncovered entities.  I’ve certainly never devoted as much time as I did during the week to analyzing song texts – and that with a very diverse group of scholar/practitioners. For this privilege I am extremely grateful as I now have a whole new set of skills and eyes to use when thinking about the texts that we sing and how they shape our faith.

It was particularly fantastic to share conversation with Kevin Twit (RUF/Indelible Grace), Steve Guthrie (Colleague of Jeremy Begbie and Prof at Belmont College), and Paul Richardson (noted Baptist hymnologist).

The work of the class will eventually show up in a paper to be presented at the Hymn Society’s annual meeting, and I will certainly link to that when it gets published.

Resources for Ash Wednesday

Psalm 133 “Like the Dew of Hermon” (c) 2007 Aaron Collier

Late getting to this post, but as I’ve been working on our Ash Wednesday service i was having a hard time getting past the ash bit.  Even with my more more liturgical bent anointing with ash seemed like a difficult proposition.  This may be because I’ve had death in my family in the last couple of years.  So I decided to create an un-ash wednesday service for this year.

My church is holding their service next week in a lovely theatre space in downtown Raleigh (REP Theatre).  It will be an intimate look at the early ministry of Jesus and reflections on 1) how we are called to follow him in self-surrending obedience to the Father, 2) how we are called to die to self and live to Christ as we remember his/our baptism and 3) how we are called to pursue a life of continual repentance, confession, and renewal.

Instead of placing ashes on foreheads we are going emphasize the opposite side of the same coin by anointing everyone with oil as they come forward for communion.  This is a far richer and more biblical action and is a powerful reminder of the realities we have experienced in our baptism (cleansing, healing, life).  It it also a clearer expression of a life of prayer and fasting represented in Matthew 6.

You can download a PDF of our service HERE.

Here is a brief synopsis from The Worship Sourcebook:

“Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. By the fourth century the Western church determined that the Lenten period of fasting and renewal should correspond to Christ’s forty-day fast (Matt. 4:2), and, by counting forty days back from Easter (excluding Sundays, which remain “Feast” and Resurrection Celebration days), arrived at the Wednesday seven weeks before Easter. At one time Lent was primarily viewed as a period during which converts prepared for baptism on Easter Sunday, but later the season became a general time of penitence and renewal for all Christians. Thus Ash Wednesday became the day that marked the beginning of the Lenten renewal.

The aim of Ash Wednesday worship is threefold: to meditate on our mortality, sinfulness, and need of a savior; to renew our commitment to daily repentance in the Lenten season
and in all of life; and to remember with confidence and gratitude that Christ has conquered death and sin. Ash Wednesday worship, then, is filled with gospel truth. It is a
witness to the power and beauty of our union with Christ and to the daily dying and rising with Christ that this entails.

Traditional Ash Wednesday Services:

Christ Covenant Presbyterian – Chicago, IL
City Church – San Francisco, CA
Redeemer Presbyterian – Knoxville, TN
Redeemer Presbyterian – Indy, IN

Collect for Ash Wednesday:
(Book of Common Prayer)
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


(See more from Bobby Gilles blog “My Song in the Night”)

Breathe, O Breath of God – Nathan Partain
Out of the Depths – Psalm 130 (Karl Digerness)
God, Be Merciful to Me – Psalm 51 (Christopher Miner)
Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy – Southern Harmony arr
The Secret Place – Red Mountain Music
Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken –  Indelible Grace
Why So Heavy? – Red Mountain Music

You can find more resources for LENT here.

Design Charrette for the Lord’s Supper

Last Saturday architects, engineers, and designers of various stripes from our church gathered together to participate in a charrette.  For most architects this is common parlance for any collaborative session in which a group of designers work intensively on creating a solution to a problem.  (The term originated with french architectural students in the 19th century).  The goal is to create a useable product in a limited amount of time with available resources.

In this instance it was a gathering to both brainstorm and design a solution to the rustic folding table we have been using for the Lord’s Supper for the past couple of years. Our church is currently involved in a worship renewal grant program with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship focused on teaching and renewing our practice of the Lord’s Supper.

We met first thing on Saturday morning and after fueling up with some great food and coffee I laid out a brief overview of biblical and historical concerns that would feed into the day.

There are an overwhelming number of viewpoints in which to consider the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.  So we decided to focus on the common names and the biblical themes which those envision (drawn in part from The Worship Sourcebook)

  • Lordʼs Supper” conveys that Jesus himself is host of the supper and that we celebrate this feast in obedience to Christ. The Lordʼs Supper is a ʻnewʼ covenant rooted in remembering the OT story of redemption. (The LS is an active community event reflecting God’s pursuing actions in Christ)
  • Communion” highlights the intimate union we experience with both Christ and fellow believers. [Unity and Fellowship, horizontal and vertical elements]
  • Eucharist” (based on the Greek word for “thanksgiving”) names this feast as a meal of gratitude.  As we reflect on the gracious gift we receive in Christ we are led in turn to think of those who need our gifts. (ethical dimension of the supper)
  • Marriage Feast of the Lamb” The Lordʼs Supper is an eschatological event. It points both into the past through ʻanamnesisʼ and into the future through promise.  (In the Feast of the Lamb we are both fed, and we work to feed the future faithful)

The Lord’s Supper has expressed itself in various architectural manifestations throughout history. We took a tour of a brief cross-section.

  • The roman lounging table .
    How it is believed Jesus took the last supper.
  • The Medieval Alter. (the mass)
    – The ‘high alter’ and communion rails (the people separated from the meal.  Movement from meal to sacrifice)             – Davinciʼs ‘Last Supper’ another example of an inaccurate, if not iconic, visual portrayal.
  • Scottish Long Table

    The Scottish long table.
    The meal returned to the people.  A large thin table is built in the central aisle where the church literally sits together and eats the bread and wine.

  • The puritan ʻfamilyʼ table.
    Home as a little church. How most of us visually recognize the Lord’s Supper today. The Table, more or less, resembles the size, height, shape of the dining table.

Issues of the symbolic table:

– People don’t sit at this table. (Should be made higher so easier to see from congregation?)

– People aren’t fed at this table literally. (Doesn’t need to have a large top)

– Large number of people approaching all at once. (more like a buffett? Wedding imagery possible here?)

– How much burden to express direct biblical imagery? (Cross, Nails, Trinitarian, vertical vs. horizontal,

– Visual is front of table, not top. (Unusual focus for typical table)

From 9am-noon we had four groups of three begin the brainstorm process.  They wrote down themes, explored their own understandings of the Lord’s Supper, suggested shapes and structures that were evocative and tried to let their imaginations run wild.

Then after lunch everyone gathered back together to get a bird’s eye view of the mornings work.  Each team took turns talking about their thoughts/initial designs.  One architect took notes of similar themes and repeated design elements.

From here a smaller team will fashion the final design.  Then we will hand off that design to our engineer/builders who will construct the table. We’re very excited that a father of one of our college students is a blacksmith.  Here is a pic of him welding our legs.

Our fiber artists will then create a number of pieces to attach to the front of the table for each church season.  The table will hopefully be finished during the summer.

[shuh-ret] noun
– a final, intensive effort to finish a project, especially an architectural design project, before a deadline.  from the old french meaning ‘cart.’

Calvin Worship Symposium 2012 – Reflections

image (c) Erik Nykamp "A Tree Planted"

PDF – 2012 Program Book (workshops and worship)

Video and Audio from workshops will be posted here

It’s not often that you get the opportunity to worship with over 1500 people from dozens of different countries, cultures, and denominations.  This diversity is one of the chief joys of participating in Calvin’s Worship Symposium held every year up in balmy Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The theme of this years symposium was ““When Life is Prayer” with a special focus on the Psalms.  This theme corresponded with the publication of a new psalter “Psalms for All Seasons” that every single attender received. (Cardiphonia contributed Psalm 120)


Participating in this seminar:

Seminar 3: Tune My Heart to Sing Your Praise: The Re-tuned hymn (and psalm!) movement in the context of the broader culture, hosted by Greg Scheer and James K.A. Smith and featured Bruce Benedict, Sandra McCracken, Kevin Twit, Eelco Vos, and Isaac Wardell.
When Kevin Twit and RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) began setting historic hymn texts to new tunes, who knew it would grow into a movement with contributions from Indelible Grace, Sojourn Music, BiFrost and others? And who knew that in Europe a similar approach would rejuvenate singing the Psalms? Several leaders in this movement will discuss the cultural background, perform examples of their own songs, and discuss the future of this movement. We’ll give special attention to ways of using this repertoire in the local church.

– Here is a list we put together for the conference of all of the “re:hymned” albums we know of.

Leading worship

For over 900 people on Friday and Saturday mornings with Greg Scheer, Kevin Twit, Karl Digerness, and Sandra McCracken.

Set List:O God, Our Help in Ages Past (Ps90), To You, O God, I lift up my Soul (25C), Praise the Lord, Sing Hallelujah ((148C), Jesus, Draw me ever Nearer (Getty), Wait for the Lord (Taize), Justice will Roll Down (McCracken)

Friday evening there was a mini-festival to celebrate the new psalter and a diverse group of musicians gathered to play their various compositions led by Martin Tel the chapel director at Princeton Seminary.  We were invited to play our Psalm 120 and were the featured ‘folk’ group of the night.  We show up at about the 38:00 min mark.

Helping with these workshops:

B3: The Psalms of Ascent during Holy Week
The Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134, also called the psalms of pilgrimage) are a collection of 15 psalms that the Israelites sang as they journeyed each year to Jerusalem for Passover.  This session will explore these psalms as resources for leading your congregation on a journey singing and praying with Jesus through Holy Week.

Psalm 130 "Like the Watchman Waits for the Morning" (c) Aaron Collier, 2007

It was also great to see Aaron Collier’s Psalm 130 up in the hallway and included as program art.

C12: Developing Vertical Habits, a panel with Worship Renewal Grant recipients, moderated by Betty Grit
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.

Hearing these plenary sessions from NT Wright and Walter Bruggeman.

  • Performing a Counter World: the Alternative Reality Offered by the Psalms for the Worlds We Inhabit. Walter Brueggemann

“The dominant world given to us by our culture is not the real world,” he said, “and we need not inhabit it. In a world without God there are only idols. The Psalms mediate to us the covenant-making God of Israel.”

  • Praying the Psalms: Personal, Pastoral, Theological and Liturgical Reflections.  N.T. Wright (video here)

“The Psalms work in us and invite us,” he said, “to live in the radically alternative world that is both creational and covenantal.”

There was even time for a fun outing into the usedbook utopia of Grand Rapids led by the experienced hand of Kevin Twit.

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