We are very grateful that Howard (Howie) willingly shared the wisdom he gleaned through out his years of ministry with Reformed Worship. Since 1990 he has written over eighteen articles and resources for RW, all infused with his pastoral heart. Howie passed away just before Holy Week and while these are his last words to us here on Earth we look forward to engaging with him again as we worship together in the new heaven and earth. —JB
Articles by this author:
- A Series on the Belhar Confession
The following is a collection of building blocks for a series of worship services based on key themes from the Belhar Confession. This series is adapted from the longer version available on the website of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (worship.calvin.edu.) A few notes:
- Five Services on Joyful Living
Philippians has been the focus for Bible study groups on the campus of Calvin College and Hope College in Michigan during this past year. More than 1,500 students participated in small-group Bible studies, which often included a combination of faculty, staff, and students. A number of churches across the country also joined the study.
Norma de Waal Malefyt (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Howard Vanderwell (email@example.com) are Resource Development Specialists at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. This article is adapted from their new book (see box) based on many years of fruitful collaboration as senior pastor and music director at Hillcrest Christian Reformed Church, Hudsonville, Michigan.
Liturgy Training Publications, Archdiocese of Chicago, Ill., 2003. 57 pp. $4.00. www.ltp.org.
Linda Clark, Joanne Swenson, and Mark Stamm. The Alban Institute, 2001. www.alban.org. Book (137 pp.) and video.
Many books and articles are written about worship today, especially about the style of worship. But these three authors and the Alban Institute have found a way to deal with the issues in a very compelling way.
Imagine listening to a conversation in which people identify themselves by numbers. One person says, "I'm a 1." "I'm a 2," says another. Someone else chimes in, "I'm a 1.5"; still another claims to be a 1.2, Everyone laughs.
How familiar are you and other members of your congregation with the Belgic Confession? Although the Belgic is one of the doctrinal standards of churches in the Reformed tradition, its language and format have tended to relegate it to a back shelf when it comes to planning worship. Many Reformed churches have had a long-honored practice of regularly preaching through the Heidelberg Catechism, but few include words from the Belgic in their liturgies.
A copy of this article, complete with graphics, is available at the end of the article.
This series of messages was prepared for the worship life of Hillcrest Christian Reformed Church for Lent 1999. Our intent during this season was to help members of the congregation to slow down the pace of life, to think reflectively and devotionally about their relationship with God by focusing on the person and work of their Savior.
WE APPROACH GOD IN GRIEF AND SORROW
Prelude: "Duet No. 2 in F Major," Beethoven unaccompanied flute and bassoon
The Call to Worship
Hymn: "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise" PsH 460, PH 263, RL 7, TH 38
Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting
Congregation of Jesus Christ, in whom are you trusting?
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
The Opening of Worship
"Jesus, Still Lead On" (Haan, Cherwein)
"Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise" (Burkhardt, Powell)
Reading: Psalm 90:1-2
The Call to Worship
Reformed covenantal theology and the sacrament of baptism both say that children are an integral part of the church. But our words and actions often communicate quite the opposite. In a variety of ways the church tells its younger members, "Grow up and then you'll count!"
Church worship can easily be destroyed by extremes. The same is true for the worship planning process. One extreme occurs when no one is ultimately in charge; the other occurs when everyone is. Establishing a worship committee can help churches avoid these extremes.
Carol Doran and Thomas H. Troeger. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1992.160 pages.
The moment is charged with excitement and anticipation—the beginning of the most important hour of the week. The council has had their time of prayer for this worship service. The prelude is well underway. The worshipers are in their seats, and the pastor is seated on the platform. Everything is planned and prepared and ready for worship.
Many churches send out the message that the morning worship service is the most important one by including most special events in that service. We do the opposite. Baptisms, professions, and our choral music ministry are usually part of the evening service. In addition, every six to eight weeks we try to schedule a special service of praise that focuses on lifting the congregation into a celebration of joy.