Worship Study Programs
Brochures for two different worship study programs were recently sent to the RW office.
"Exploring the Dimensions of Worship" is a seminar for members and leaders of the local church. The seminar, intended for a weekend retreat, is led by Dr. Paul Engle, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America. For brochure contact: Bible Discovery Seminars, 2545 Berwyck SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506,(616949-0523).
The Institute for Worship Studies (IWS) is a program of independent study directed by Dr. Robert Webber, worship specialist and professor of theology, Wheaton College.
Several courses (each 12-15 weeks) are offered for Continuing Education credit; study is done at home with evaluations by phone and letter.
For brochure contact: The Institute for Worship Studies, 219 Franklin, Wheaton, IL 60187, (708) 665-3895.
Copyright Licensing Agreement
Christian Copyright Licensing, Inc. (CCLI) recently formed to help churches who use copyrighted song material in their bulletins and don't always know how to get permission. For an annual fee based on the size of your congregation you can use well over 1000 titles with no further need to request permission. For brochure contact: CCLI, 7031 RE.Halsey Street, Portland, OR, (800) 234-2446 or (503) 257-2230.
Reformed Worship Reader's Survey
A few months ago, the Reformed Worship staff sent a survey to all of our readers, asking them to evaluate the publication. We received responses from about 500 people involved in different phases of worship planning—pastors, organists, liturgists, and even students—people from a wide variety of backgrounds, denominations, locations, and church sizes. Many respondents gave us interesting proposals and helpful advice as well as their opinions, ranging from exuberant praise to suggestions for RWs discontinuation!
The survey revealed that most subscribers are quite satisfied with the ratio of articles to resources in the publication. Many of the worship service resources have proven useful—especially seasonal service planning, liturgies, song suggestions, and bulletin covers. The survey also indicated widespread use of the Common Lectionary for at least parts of the year. One reader writes: "Please keep up the good work! We could no longer live without you!" And another: "Your magazine is interesting, helpful, and a wonderful resource for our church." Many indicated that RWis used often in their worship committee meetings.
Subscribers suggested that we address several additional issues. Many would like to learn more about the history behind Reformed liturgical practices and some of the theoretical principals that guide our worship—in other words: "Why do we do what we do?" Some readers asked for a more intensive analysis of the role of music in the worship service. Others expressed a strong concern for finding ways of including children in the worship service.
Small church representatives wrote in, suggesting that many of the programming materials need to be "scaled down" in order to meet their needs. (The average church size of respondents was between 225-250 in attendance on Sunday mornings.) Some readers from small churches wrote in with such comments as "What worship committee?" and "I am the worship committee!"
Readers also suggested that we evaluate our use of "high church" liturgies. They pointed out that often such liturgies are uncomfortable and unfamiliar to the average person in the pew and may be a hindrance to evangelistic efforts as well. "I have a sense that R W is for mature Christians only" one reader told us. "In an ideal setting, evangelism is done outside the church. But we must consider that non-Christians are in worship as well. How are they relat-ing to what we are doing?"
Here are some more reader comments and suggestions:
"It is the most used journal in my resources."
"... helpful, educational, stimulating."
"Don't get too far removed from the traditional Reformed mode of worship."
"I am disappointed that we ignore the Heidelberg Catechism/ Westminster Confession in RW. I think we could serve the majority... better if we showed how to construct a liturgically sound worship service around Lord's Days in the Heidelberg Catechism, for example."
"Keep Schaap writing! His stories can deal with issues like no didactic article could."
"It's great to have a publication that takes the rich history of Reformed worship seriously."
"More emphasis on worship. Less emphasis on Reformed."
"Since you serve a wide range of liturgical styles, I find there's always something for everyone."
"Too liberal! Too liberal! Too liberal!"
"I'd like to see more encouragement of psalm singing/learning/appreciation ..."
"For ecology's and economy's sake,... please consider ceasing use of the... glossy paper. If s expensive; it glares in most light; it's tougher to recycle; if s heavy. Use lighter weight paper and save on postage as well as on the cost of repairing worker's hernias."
"Please do not forget that the genius of Reformed worship practice was a rediscovery of preaching. Our worship leaders and congregations need to be continually reminded of the centrality of the WORD and preaching."
"You are publishing an excellent magazine... It fills a distinct need in the denomination and our congregation."
The staff would like to thank all those who took the time to complete the survey and give us their input. Your feedback is always appreciated and serves to help the staff make Reformed Worship an even better publication.
April 23-26,1990, Grand Rapids, MI
Preaching Today: A conference for pastors of the CRC and RCA. Speakers: Ian Pitt-Watson, Bruce Thielemann, William Willimon. Contact the Rev. Dirk Hart, CRC Board of Home Missions, 2850 Kalamazoo SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560, or the Rev. Robert Bast, RCA Office of Evangelism, 17060 South Park Ave., South Holland, IL 60473.
June 17-22,24-29,1990, Montreat, NC
Conferences on Worship and Music (same conference each week) featuring The Presbyterian Hymnal: Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Songs, scheduled for release this summer. Leaders include Joan Salmon-Campbell, William Mathias, Todd Wilson, Thomas Troeger, Donald Busarow, Robin Leaver, Patrick Miller, Michael Kemp, Roger Mc-Murrin, Carol Doran, and others. Contact: Montreat Conference Center, P.O. Box 969, Montreat, NC 28757, (704) 669-2911.
July 8-11,1990 Charleston, SC
The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada annual conference: Celebrating 350 years of North American Hymnody. Speakers include Alan Luff, Barbara Owen, Carlton Young, Hugh McElrath, Russell Schultz-Widmar, Emily Brink, Bert Polman, Paul Westermeyer, William J. Reynolds. Contact: The Hymn Society, Box 30854, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX 76129, (817) 921-7608.
August 1-3,1990, Flat Rock, NC
Psalmody Conference. Contact: John W. Stodghill, Chairman, Pleasant Hill Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Route 2, Box 42, Heath Springs, SC 29058.
August 6-10,1990, Oberlin, Ohio
A four-day course in organ hymn accompaniment taught by Walter Pelz and assistants on the campus of Oberlin College with their 17 practice instruments. Classes for all levels: beginning to advanced. Contact: The Hymn Society, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX 76129. (817) 921-7608.