Congratulations to Peter Slofstra, with Sylvia DeVries, Karen Gerritsma, Abraham Hoff, George Langbroek and Alan Vandermaas. Their work on "Pay Attention to the Dreams: Resources for an Advent and Christmas Series" (RW 41, September 1996) won them first place in the worship category at the 1996 God Uses Ink (GUI) conference—devoted to recognizing some of the best books and articles by Canadian Christians published in 1996. GUI is an annual national conference, sponsored by Faith Today magazine, consisting of three days of workshops for novice to experienced Christian writers in all disciplines.


The National Council of the American Guild of Organists has approved "A Position Statement on the Use of Prerecorded Music in Worship." The text is as follows:

Since its inception in 1896, the American Guild of Organists has supported the role of its members in worship. Its central purposes are "to advance the cause of organ and choral music, to increase their contributions to aesthetic and religious experiences, and to promote their understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment."

As we anticipate the new century, the Guild appreciates what technology has to offer clergy, musicians, and congregations. At the same time, the Guild strongly believes that the human element in worship leadership, whether it be from the lectern, pulpit, or organ loft, is irreplaceable. Because worship is an encounter between the God of life and human beings created in God's image, its modes of expression should be authentic expressions of living persons (paraphrased from "Resolution on the Use of Prerecorded Music in the Liturgy," National Association of Pastoral Musicians, July 12, 1991).

Prerecorded substitutes cannot replace living, breathing worship leaders, who interact with living, breathing congregations. The use of recorded choirs, organs, and cantors, although it may seem to serve an immediate need, has the effect of discouraging the local community from marshaling the resources necessary for authentic celebrations (excerpted from "The Snowbird Statement on Catholic Liturgical Music," Nov. 1, 1995).

The Guild urges churches and synagogues to resist the temptation to replace the offerings of the community with such impersonal devices as taped accompaniment tracks, instrumental reproductions, prerecorded sermons and prayers, and the like. Rather, the Guild advocates the cultivation of live music-making, preaching, and praying in communal worship.

Critical to this endeavor is the continuing development of musicians who will be equipped to seive congregations now and in the future. For its part, the Guild is encouraging new organists through its Pipe Organ Encounter projects around the country, training current musicians through its continuing education efforts, and recognizing outstanding achievers through its certification and competition programs. The Guild urges all worship leaders, lay and ordained, to join in a commitment to programs that will assure integrity in worship and worthy praise of Almighty God.


In RW 45, we identified Tim Brown with "Hope Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan" (p. 13, "Top Ten Ways to Keep Advent Preaching Fresh"). More correctly, Tim Brown teaches at Western Theological Seminary, which is next door to Hope College, both related to the Reformed Church in America. We knew that! But the caption slipped by. Sony, Tim.

Also in RW 45 we neglected to provide the copyright information on the hymn "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light" (p. 34). To use that song in worship, please use a copyright license such as CCLI or contact the publisher. The correct information is © -1970, Celebration (admin, by The Copyright Co., Nashville, TN; 1-615-244-5588).


We are exploring the possiblity of putting more articles and resources online. The idea is that for an additional fee, subscribers could elect to print out resources directly from a protected e-mail address. Currently, subscribers can request a computer disk for the resources in a given issue. Sometimes we have offered a particular resource on e-mail, and the response has been very positive.

The RW staff would like your feedback:

  1. Would you like more resources available online?
  2. Would you be willing to pay an additional subscription fee (say $10.00-$15.00 extra) for that service?

Simply send us an e-mail, subject Electronic RW, with your "yes" or "no" answers to those questions, along with any other feedback you might want to offer. Send to


Based on the number of calls we get that begin with, "Do you have any resources on ...", we're convinced that many of our readers aren't aware of our Index of all back issues, updated annually.

Especially if you save back issues, as we know many of you do, you'd probably appreciate having a copy available. To order, simply call 1-800-333-8300 and ask for #2250-0009RW. The cost is only $5.45 US or$7.35 CDN+GST.


The technology for putting all the song texts in the Psalter Hymnal on computer disk has been available for some time, but copyright issues have prevented us from doing so. However, with the continuing development of online technology, publishing companies have now begun to give limited permission for the sale of song texts on computer disks, and we are happy to announce the complete "electronic edition" of the 1987 Psalter Hymnal.

The entire collection of song texts in the Psalter Hymnal (with only one exception from a cantankerous publisher!) is now available on 3.5" computer diskette in MS-DOS format, permitting you to print out song texts for bulletin use or for overhead projection systems. There are several obvious advantages to this new electronic edition of the Psalter Hymnal: You will no longer have to rekey the song texts, and you can be assured of correct spelling, punctuation, and line breaks. Also, you will have complete control over the type size and font for your particular needs.

Copyright permissions are still required, however. Just as churches need permission every time they reproduce copyrighted materials from a print edition, they also need permission to use songs from this electronic edition. To make things as easy as possible, every song text on the disk is followed by complete information for contacting the publisher. Many songs will be covered by licenses that can be purchased annually from agencies such as CCLI or Licensing. However, not all publishers belong to those agencies; for example, G.I.A. and Oxford require separate licenses and must be contacted directly.

To order, this electronic edition of the Psalter Hymnal, call CRC Publications at 1-800-333-8300 and ask for "Song Texts on Disk" (#2100-1010RW). The price is $75.00 (US) or $101.25 (CDN).


In September 1997, a bold new venture began, the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, designed to bring both rigorous scholarship and practical resources to enrich Christian worship in churches throughout North America. The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship will be housed on the campus of Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and will work closely with Calvin Theological Seminary and the Christian Reformed Church of North America.

The working mission statement features two central tasks: to promote scholarly study of the theology, history, and practice of Christian worship, and to contribute to the renewal of worship in congregations throughout North America.

John Witvliet—no stranger to Reformed Worship readers (see p. 11)—was appointed the first director of the Institute. He is uniquely suited to the task. A music major at Calvin, he went on to earn a master's degree in theology at Calvin Theological Seminary, a master's degree in choral music at the University of Illinois, and master's and Ph.D. degrees in worship and theology at the University of Notre Dame. His academic credentials are buoyed by his experiences as a congregational worship leader, musician, researcher, and writer. In addition to serving as Institute director, Witvliet will assume teaching responsibilities in Calvin's music and religion departments and at Calvin Theological Seminary.

Witvliet says the timing for Calvin's new Institute is ideal, since in recent years worship has become a topic of vital concern for many congregations. "Worship commands almost instant interest and attention," he says. "In the last decade every Christian tradition has seen changes in patterns of worship." Studying trends—looking at current shifts through historical and theological spectacles—will be one of the tasks of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.

The Institute plans to promote interdisciplinary work—bringing together artists, theologians, cultural anthropologists, missionaries, musicians, historians, sociologists, pastors, and worship leaders to share their expertise.

This vision has led to an aggressive and broad-based set of proposed initiatives. The scholarly side of the Institute's task will be carried out through courses, library resources, conferences, and publications. The Institute will provide courses on worship at both Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary. It will develop library resources to support the scholarly study of worship and to provide practical worship resources for local congregations. It will sponsor scholarly conferences, publish volumes of research on worship-related topics and host guest lectures and artists.

The practical side of the Institute's mandate will be addressed through workshops, published music, and resources and consultations. The Institute will sponsor such events as the annual Symposium on Worship and the Arts held at Calvin each January and the quadrennial Conference on Liturgy and Music (COLAM) of the Christian Reformed Church, as well as workshops in local congregations across North America. The Institute will also be available to consult with congregations on commonly asked questions: How do we find a good worship leader? What training should they have? How do we design good worship space in our new church building? What criteria do we use for choosing the best of both historic and recently written music for worship?

"In all these efforts," says Witvliet, "our goal is to move beyond unwarranted divisions over worship styles. We want to be constructive, encouraging public worship that is both spiritually vital and theologically grounded." For more information, contact John Witvliet or Cindy Holtrop at 616-957-6806 or 957-6822


The Christian Reformed Church (CRC) and the Reformed Church in America (RCA) plan to jointly produce a hymnal supplement, due out in the year 2000. The Psalter Hymnal is ten years old already and Rejoice in the Lord has been out for twelve years. Authors or composers who have materials for the committee to consider should send them to Dr. Emily R. Brink, editor, Music and Liturgy Office, 2850 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560-0001.


Louisville, KY, January 31
Erlanger, KY, February 2
Bowling Green, KY, February 7
Nashville, TN, February 9
Chattanooga, TN, February 16
Memphis, TN, February 21
Knoxville, TN, February 23
Charleston, WV, March 7
Parkersburg, WV, March 9
Liberty, MO, March 14
Lebanon, MO, March 16 Saint Louis, MO, March 21
Columbia, MO, March 23

Winter 1998 Renew Your Worship! workshops with Robert Webber on blending contemporary and traditional worship. Webber has devoted several years to covering most of North America with these one-day leadership training workshops. Contact the Institute for Worship Studies, P.O. Box 894, Wheaton, IL 60189; 708-510-8905.

Grand Rapids Ml, January 9-10, 1998
Eleventh Annual Symposium on Worship and the Arts, Calvin College. Presenters include Anton Armstrong, Carl Daw, John Ferguson, Tom Long (not the one from Princeton) and the drama group "Friends of the Groom." Contact Department of Music, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Ml 49546; 616-957-6253; fax 616-957-6266.

Grand Rapids, Ml, July 12-16
Annual conference of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, hosted this year by Calvin College, with Emily Brink and John Witvliet as local chairs. The theme is "The Transformation of Congregational Song—a Generation of Change," including lectures by Michael Hamilton (cultural history), Karen Westerfield Tucker (liturgical history), Nathan Mitchell (literary critique), Neal Plantinga (theological critique), and Horace Boyer (musicological critique). Come for a stimulating week of meeting with dozens of hymn composers and authors (including John Bell and many others) and some of the most wonderful singing you'll ever experience! Scholarships are available for full-time students. Contact: The Hymn Society, Dr. Carl Daw, Executive Director, 1-800-THE HYMN.

Reformed Worship 46 © December 1997, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.