School receives grant for worship renewal project

The Wake Forest University School of Divinity has received a worship renewal grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The grant will fund a year-long project through which the School of Divinity will offer a series of worship practicum courses to provide students with hands-on experiences in worship leadership. The project will give ministry students opportunities to practice and reflect theologically about how worship leaders “do,” or embody, theology in worship. It will also invite students to explore relationships between public leadership, worship leadership styles, and varied worship traditions. The grant is one of 28 grants totaling more than $300,000 awarded for 2013 by the CICW to churches, schools and seminaries across North America. 

“These projects have much to teach us,” said CICW director John Witvliet, “and we are eager to learn from them. But we know too that worship renewal is not something that human ingenuity or creativity alone can produce or engineer. It is a gift of God’s Spirit, a gift for which we pray, rather than an accomplishment we achieve. So, even as we announce these grants, and as we look forward to the work these recipients will do in the coming year, we also pray.”

“We have outstanding worship leaders in Winston-Salem and the surrounding area,” said the School of Divinity’s professor of worship, Jill Crainshaw. “Through this project, students will have a chance to learn from local leaders who serve in congregations or who teach and lead sacred music courses and choirs at several local colleges and universities.” Courses offered through the grant will include topics such as The Art of Praying in Public, Worship and Music for Pastoral Leaders, Public Reading of Scripture, Worshipping with Children and Youth, and Hymnody as Ministerial Art.

The CICW’s Worship Renewal Grants program is now in its 14th year and has seen more than 600 projects funded since its inception.

“This year,” said Betty Grit, manager of the Worship Renewal Grants program, “the CICW received proposals from 16 denominations, 24 states and four Canadian provinces.”

An advisory board of pastors and teachers from a variety of backgrounds assisted in the grant selection and the 28 proposals being funded represent congregations and schools from 11 denominations in 15 states and twoCanadian provinces. 

For the 2013 grant recipients, learning will begin in earnest this June when project directors for all 28 grants gather on Calvin’s campus to dialogue not only with CICW staff, but also with the recipients of 2012 grants, who will come to campus to share the results of their year-long project.

“The getting-together of both old and new grant recipients is intentional,” said Grit, “and fruitful.”

“It is an opportunity,” she said, “for learning and conversation that encourages and provides resources for worship renewal. It is a wonderful time together for the grant recipients.”

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.

For more information on the grants program, including a complete list of this year’s grants recipients, please see:


Media Contact: Mark Batten



Categories: Grants, News, Spiritual Life, Worship