Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Announces Brent House as One of Their Grant Recipients

CALVIN INSTITUTE OF CHRISTIAN WORSHIP ANNOUNCES BRENT HOUSE AS ONE OF THEIR GRANT RECIPIENTS

Brent House, the Episcopal Center at the University of Chicago, has received a grant in support of a project – dubbed “Mosaic” – which aims to refresh traditional forms of Christian worship by juxtaposing classic Christian texts with ostensibly secular songs, texts, and images.   The Rev. Stacy Alan, chaplain at Brent House, explains, “The Judeo-Christian tradition has always been rooted in sacred texts which it has understood as alive: they not only speak to us but, in a mysterious way, listen as well, allowing us to see ourselves in new ways.”  The Worship Renewal Grant was awarded by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

This project is the fruit of an ongoing effort to build connections between the diverse communities which Brent House touches (university groups, local churches, area seminaries, the Hyde Park neighborhood).  Project Director David Newheiser explains, “We believe that Christian worship requires two forms of openness which remain in tension: on the one hand, it requires a responsiveness to the particular needs of worshippers; on the other hand, it demands a willingness to welcome the approach of a God who asks us to grow in uncomfortable ways.  Our aim with Mosaic is to offer such hospitality through invigorated worship while attending with care to the challenging, sometimes troubling, dimension of Christian faith.”  To this end, Mosaic will host a series of services throughout the coming academic year, and it will host a biweekly discussion group which explores the dialogue between sacred text and surrounding culture.

This year, the program’s tenth, CICW will award almost $500,000 to support a variety of worship renewal projects in 43 churches and organizations across North America.  “The proposals we receive from all over North America offer us an expansive education,” says CICW director John Witvliet. “They show us how prayerful, resourceful leaders in a remarkable variety of contexts are thinking about the needs of the church and opportunities for ministry.”  For a complete list of this year’s grant recipients and summaries of their projects, see the Grants section of the CICW website: www.calvin.edu/worship.

For 2009 grant recipients, learning begins in earnest this June, when project directors gather at Calvin College to dialogue with 2008 recipients and CICW staff.  “We have found that this annual ecumenical gathering of committed, creative worship leaders provides opportunities to begin collaboration that can continue long after the grant year,” says Betty Grit, Program Manager of the Worship Renewal Grants Program.

This year, CICW received proposals from 22 denominations and 26 states and 2 Canadian provinces. An advisory board of pastors and teachers from a variety of backgrounds assisted in the grant selection.  Grant recipients for 2009 represent congregations and schools from 15 denominations in 20 states and 2 Canadian provinces.

The Worship Renewal 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.  The next application deadline for the Worship Renewal Grants Program is January 10, 2010. For an overview of the grants program and information about the application process, see the Grants section of the CICW website: www.calvin.edu/worship.

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