December 1999

RW 54
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • The liturgical seasons of Lent and Easter call for divergent musical expressions from an organist. Fortunately, many composers have worked to create beautiful new works for organ for these seasons. I reviewed over fifty recently released works from major publishing houses. The following collections are those I found most rewarding for worship and inspiring for congregational singing. Each is marked E (Easy), M (Moderate) or D (Difficult).


  • With the increase of seniors among us has come a growing demand for local pastors, lay leaders, and ministry groups to conduct worship services in senior citizens’ centers and rest homes. Leading the elderly in worship can be a most rewarding experience. But it also presents its own challenges. Here are some things to keep in mind when addressing the elderly.

  • led and narrated by Robert Webber with a live congregation. Wheaton, Ill.: Institute for Worship Studies, 1999. Available from IWS, (630) 510-8905; fax: (630) 510-0601;

    Robert Webber, who has been offering numerous one-day workshops around the country (see current list below), has pulled together many of his ideas in a six-session video course. The videos include segments of actual worship services that model what he teaches.

  • 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.

  • Q. We have conflict on our worship team that is very frustrating to our congregation. What have other churches done to work with this?

    A. To my surprise, this is the most frequently asked question we receive here at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Perhaps this is the inevitable result of having many more people involved in worship leadership than a generation ago. Three primary strategies appear to be the most common and helpful.

  • African-American religious music has a life that is unique to its culture. Spirituals and black gospel music embody the rhythmic elements of syncopation, improvisation, metric variety, fervor, and simplicity with lyrical melodic phrases. The four songs on these pages use all of these elements and more. These hymns, all of which will be included in the new supplement Sing! A New Creation, are excellent choices for the Lent and Easter season. They transcend race, culture, and musical tradition, and are enjoyed by those who sing them.

  • In New York City I saw a Japanese garden made up of nothing but gravel and a solitary rock. The rock was placed off-center, the ground around it clean of everything, and the gravel raked painstakingly. That garden is a lesson in “less is more.”