Colam 99: Dying with Christ, Rising with Christ

Last July more than three hundred people from four Canadian provinces and eighteen states gathered to worship and learn together at COLAM 99, a worship conference for the whole family. The biannual summer conference was cosponsored by Reformed Worship, the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and the host institution, Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa. Reflecting the subscription base of Reformed Worship itself, about two-thirds of those who came were from Christian Reformed congregations; the other third were from a dozen other denominations, including Baptist, Episcopal, Evangelical Covenant, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Reformed Church in America, United Church of Canada, and the United Church of Christ.

The name COLAM (Conference on Music and Liturgy) has stuck, even though the offerings have been expanded to include drama and visual arts involving the whole family. This year COLAM added three new features: student scholarships, a composition contest, and a pre-COLAM seminar. Fifty-five people registered for the pre-COLAM intensive seminar “Hands-on Worship Planning” led by John Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and “Hands-on Music Planning” led by Emily Brink, editor of Reformed Worship.

What was it like? The words “spiritual retreat” sum it up; for many the worship services were the most important part of the conference. Together everyone praised God and lifted up the needs not just of worship leaders but of the whole church. The photographs on these pages will provide a taste of what was a rich feast for all who came.

Joanne Draayer (Sioux Center, Iowa) won the instrumental composition contest with her organ variations on Genevan Psalm 65.

Greg Scheer (Talahassee, Florida) (on the right), won the choral/vocal composition contest with his setting of Psalm 98. He is pictured here with conference leaders Chip Stam and Jorge Lockward as they rehearsed before everyone sang it together. The music is available without charge on his website:

Tom Long, Jocelyn Sluka, and Marilyn Hunter, members of Friends of the Groom, performing one of their dramatic sketches. They presented an entire evening of drama on Friday night as well as leading the Scripture readings during the worship services. Their e-mail address is

Jonathan Vogel, Lee Mellema, and Brian Mol showing the results of their print- making class. COLAM for KIDS also included choir, handbells, Orff instruments, signing, and recreation.

Members of the Liturgical Banner workshop transporting the banner they made over to the chapel for the final service. Clockwise from lower left: Virginia Gordt, Elinor Noteboom, Joanne Alberda, Marcia Allspack, Wendy

Kevin Soodsma (LeMars, Iowa), Kim Gordon (Brandin, Manitoba), Carrie Spronk (Edgerton, Minnesota), and Florene Woudstra (Edmonton, Alberta); four of the six student scholarship winners. Pictured separately is Denise Postma (Ireton, Iowa)

Horace Boyer leading one of the sessions on black gospel music.

Conference leaders Marva Dawn and David Cherwien relaxing together before the drama evening.

Reformed Worship 54 © December 1999, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.