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Thanks for a Good Twenty Years

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as editor since RW began twenty years ago. This journal has shaped my identity as much as or more than my work editing three hymnals. I was hired by CRC Publications to prepare the 1987 Psalter Hymnal, a brand-new position I thought would last just a few years. Preparing the hymnal for the churches was one thing, but preparing the churches for the hymnal came with many other questions attached, questions being asked by newly formed worship committees. Responding to those questions is what sparked the beginning of Reformed Worship.

Initially I wondered if we would run out of ideas, articles, resources. We never did. Instead, both interest and challenge have only increased, as Christians everywhere continue to search out what it means to be faithful to God when we gather for worship. I’m convinced that the need is as great as ever for Reformed Worship. But I’m also convinced that it’s time for me to cheer on a new editor and take a smaller role in RW.

Part of making that decision is my delight that Joyce Borger agreed to become editor, starting with the next issue. For more on Joyce and a picture of the whole RW staff, please see page 48. It’s been a joy to work with them!

Thanks . . .

The staff joins me in giving thanks for many others as well that have contributed to Reformed Worship these twenty years:

  • to all those who asked for a journal like RW, then have subscribed faithfully, many for all twenty years, often writing with new ideas, telling us they save all their back issues, and continuing to challenge us.
  • to hundreds of people who submitted service resources and articles. For 80 issues, RW has filled 3,840 pages with service resources and articles.
  • to more than sixty editorial council members and consultants who served three-year terms, gathering twice each year to provide wise critique and counsel. A few years ago, their role expanded to include concerns also of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. The names of the current council members and consultants are listed on the inside front cover, but our thanks go back over twenty years to all of them!
  • to the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW). Three years ago, when CRC Publications was going through a tough period financially, John Witvliet offered me a position at CICW, and then offered one gift after another of encouragement to RW. I would like to thank CICW for their support in
  • underwriting the Church Profile column.
  • picking up the major share of expenses for our editorial council meetings.
  • providing funding for advertising RW.
  • providing funding to help us put RW back issues online—see the exciting announcement on the inside back cover.
  • providing free registration and lodging for former council members at the 2006 Calvin Symposium on Worship, as well as providing a reception for all former authors present at Symposium in this anniversary year.
  • providing countless contacts for future article and resources through Symposium and other gatherings! In turn, RW happily supports the work of CICW by publishing many of the articles and resources generated by CICW.



Parting Words . . .

Finally, I’d like to leave as editor with a text that has been very close to me and many others the past several months: the promise Jesus gave to his disciples before he ascended into heaven, the words that end Matthew’s gospel:

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

That text formed the theme for the Reformed Ecumenical Council meetings in Utrecht, the Netherlands (see p. 47). I had the privilege of planning and leading ten daily worship services for those meetings with a team from CICW. That theme was so rich, we followed it also for the Calvin Symposium on Worship in January.

Every time the people of God gather for worship, we meet to “remember and believe” that God is with us still—in our lives, in our world, and as an active participant in every service. When we meet for worship, Christ is in our midst, the great High Priest, through the Holy Spirit opening our hearts to hear God speak to us, and bringing our imperfect worship perfectly before the Father as an acceptable sacrifice of praise to our triune God.

My prayer for Reformed Worship and for you all is that you rest in that promise, searching out the many facets of what it means to worship in the presence of a loving God who is with us always.