Learning, Connecting, and Worshiping

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Where would you go to see the largest number of Christian Reformed pastors in one place? Synod? No. You would go to the Calvin Symposium on Worship, held each year at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Mich.

More than 100 CRC pastors attended the conference, which drew a total of 1,500 people, one third of them from the CRC. Hosted by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and the Center for Excellence in Preaching, the three-day event offers a wide variety of speakers and rich ecumenical diversity.

More than 160 members of the CTS community attended the symposium. Classes were canceled on one day so students and professors could take advantage of the opportunity to learn from presenters such as Kenneth Bailey, Michael Card, Dallas Willard, and a host of others.

Sixteen seminary faculty and staff offered workshops on topics such as “The Holy Spirit and Worship” with Mariano Avila, “Providence, Preaching, and Pastoral Care” with John Cooper and Scott Hoezee, “An Invitation to the Liturgy of the Hours” with Pat Zandstra, “Baptized Children and the Lord’s Supper” with David Rylaarsdam, “Discerning Your Calling” with Heidi De Jonge, “Beyond Bullet Points: Creative Uses of Visual Technology for Preaching” with Mary Hulst, and “What Shapes the Sermon?” with Arie Leder and John Rottman.

In addition, the seminary hosted a special conversation for students and faculty with New Testament scholar Kenneth Bailey on looking at Scripture through Middle Eastern eyes, and a faculty discussion with sociologist Gerardo Marti on multicultural churches.

Along with all the opportunities to learn, the symposium offers an opportunity to renew friendships and meet new acquaintances, including guests from more than 30 countries and members of over 40 denominations.

Check www.calvin.edu/worship/sympos/ for recordings of this year’s sessions and updates about next year’s speakers, and think about sending a team from your church in 2009.

About the Author

Rev. Kathy Smith is senior associate director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, adjunct professor of church polity at Calvin Theological Seminary, and adjunct professor of congregational and ministry studies at Calvin University. She is a member of First CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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