The Music and Liturgical Arts Committee, a part of the Ministry of Worship of Central Presbyterian Church, has received a Vital Worship Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The grant will fund a year-long project during which the Music and Liturgical Arts Committee will plan events with an emphasis on the way that playing together informs our faith and builds our community. It is one of 28 grants totaling more than $350,000 awarded for 2016 by CICW to churches and schools across North America.
“We learn a tremendous amount from these programs,” said CICW director John Witvliet, “from the wisdom demonstrated in designing them and the insights gleaned from implementing and adapting them as they unfold. We look forward to sharing insights from these projects with a larger audience in our future programming over the next several years.”
Project director David VanderMeer says: “Our Vital Worship Grant will encourage members to open themselves to experience the glory and beauty of God as expressed in creation and in creative playful activities with the intention of helping them experience joy in worship and in the world around them. Some of the planned activities include: A multi-generational Explore the Arts event which will include trying out musical instruments, dance, drama, painting, creative writing, and even cooking! In the fall we will have several small study group activities, all focused on the Theology of Play. In the winter we will have a Jazz in Worship seminar, and six sessions on Ways to Play together, and then during Lent we will offer Prayer Stations during worship that connect prayer and play. This year-long program will culminate with a congregational worship and feast celebrating the activities we experienced throughout the year.”
The CICW’s Worship Grants program (formerly known as the Worship Renewal Grants Program) is now in its 17th year and has seen more than 750 projects funded since its inception.
“This year,” said Kathy Smith, leader of the Vital Worship Grants Team, “CICW approved proposals from 17 denominations, 14 states and one Canadian province, 20 congregations and church plants, 4 regional church bodies, and 4 college and seminary communities.” An advisory board of pastors and teachers from a variety of backgrounds gave valuable assistance in the grant selection process.
For the 2016 grant recipients, learning will begin in earnest this June when project directors for all the new grants gather on Calvin’s campus to dialogue not only with CICW staff, but also with the recipients of the 2015 grants, who will come to campus to share the results of their year-long projects.
“We are intrigued that so many projects relate to storytelling in worship,” said Smith, “and we look forward to a collaborative time of worshiping and learning together and sharing those stories to encourage one another.”
The Vital Worship Grants Program is generously supported by Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. Founded in 1937, the Endowment’s major areas of concern are community development, education, and religion.
For more information on the grants program, including a complete list of this year’s grants recipients, please see: worship.calvin.edu/grants.