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Content about Multiethnic worship

March 1, 2007

It was an ordinary Sunday morning for the church in Obala, a village 40 kilometers from Cameroon’s capital city of Yaoundé. But for me it was anything but ordinary as I witnessed the evangelical power of singing that called people to worship the triune God.

March 1, 2007

In August 2006, the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship sponsored an amazing trip to the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore. Nine Institute staff members, myself included, spent a month meeting with worshiping communities there.

March 4, 2004

When Andy and Sarah Kim bought a row house on Wingohocking Street in the Hunting Park section of North Philadelphia a few years ago, they did so because they wanted to be a part of the community and ministry of Spirit and Truth Fellowship. They are raising their three children among neighbors who are mostly Puerto Rican and African American. Andy, a graduate of nearby Westminster Seminary, is a social worker in the city, serves as an elder at the church, and leads one of the Wednesday night “growth cells” at his home.

September 1, 2002

Some of you may have noticed my new byline as “senior research fellow” for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. With the completion of the new hymnal Sing! A New Creation, I had thought of kicking back a bit, but instead I accepted an invitation to join the growing staff of the Institute, which has had a close relationship with Reformed Worship throughout the Institute’s short five-year history. So now I serve in two arenas for the support, encouragement, and renewal of worship on the congregational level.

September 1, 2002

I-to Loh and Pablo Sosa are highly respected authorities on congregational song, I-to Loh on Asian hymnody, and Pablo Sosa on songs from Latin America. We’re thrilled that both are planning to come to the 2003 Calvin Symposium on Worship and the Arts, and they’re looking forward to seeing each other again—previously they’ve worked together in international ecumenical conferences, including the World Council of Churches. Here is a brief introduction to both.

The Hymns of I-to Loh
March 2, 2002

How do our sisters and brothers live and worship in Cuba, a land stereotyped for decades as hostile to Christian worship and witness? What can we learn from those members of Christ’s family? The story of their interwoven life and worship challenges and inspires far beyond their borders.

August 31, 2001

Increasing numbers of churches are celebrating World Communion Sunday on the first Sunday of October. It’s a service I look forward to more each year, especially as I get to know brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. Early this year I met several in Geneva, Switzerland, when I had the privilege of attending an International Consultation on Reformed Worship.

May 31, 2001

North American communities are dotted with evidence that we are no longer primarily a biracial culture. People from other nations can be found in apartment buildings, schools, grocery stores, malls, and recreational venues. But too few of them are entering their local churches. Because culture is a strong component of any group’s sense of cohesiveness and community, most churches are primarily monocultural.

The book of Acts, however, demonstrates that multicultural fellowship is both possible and  rewarding!

March 1, 2000
Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1999. 264 songs plus liturgical resources including psalm settings. $12.50.
December 1, 1999
Bulletin Note

The Passover Seder is a celebration observed in Jewish homes with relatives and friends. It is led by an elder member of the family, but all who attend are active participants. The celebration tells the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt three hundred years ago. It includes special activities to hold the interest of children.

December 1, 1999

Three years ago I was due for a sabbatical and was looking forward to learning about worship life in Reformed communities in other countries and cultures. But instead I stayed part-time in the office while also becoming interim director of music at my home congregation.

March 1, 1999

This is the second of Hawn’s three-part series on global music.


[The] community dimension is perhaps the essential aspect of African music. . . . [Africans] do not want to distinguish the audience from the musicians at a musical event. (1)
—John Miller Chernoff

December 1, 1998

The setting is a Protestant church in Havana, Cuba. The sanctuary is packed on this hot, humid June Sunday afternoon. Following the reading of la palabra de Dios (the Word of God), the pastor delivers the sermon. He speaks of esperanza (hope) and la paz de Cristo (the peace of Christ) during this “special time”—a euphemism used by Fidel Castro to refer to Cuba’s crumbling economy and the resulting suffering of the people.

May 31, 1998

On the first Sunday of October, increasing numbers of churches participate in World Communion Sunday, a time when Christians everywhere celebrate what it means to belong to "the holy catholic church, the communion of the saints." Indeed, the church is the one body of Christ, our head. In Holy Communion, we most deeply celebrate our oneness in Christ.

August 31, 1997

Three wise men
Children dressed in costumes representing some nationality. Each carries the flag of the country represented; for our drama we chose

—Europeans (Germany)
—Asians (Japan)
—South Americans (Venezuela)
—Native Americans (Canada)
—African (Malawi)

[Stage is two levels of risers, empty except for a floor mike, a lectern, and a candle. Angel enters.]

March 1, 1997

Last summer Pastor Anduwatju was in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the site of the 1996 meeting of the Reformed Ecumenical Council a group that includes thirty denominations in twenty-one countries. During a break in the meetings, I had the opportunity to meet him and learn something about worship in his Indonesian setting.

—Emily R. Brink

RW: Please describe your church in Indonesia.
May 31, 1996

Let me tell you about my friend Fou Luang. Fou Luang came to our country amid the vast exodus of refugees from Southeast Asia in the 1970s. He and his family fled from their home in Laos and from the people they loved in a hill-country tribe called the "Mien" (pronounced mee-enr). Like most refugees from those war-torn countries, Fou Luang had experienced more trauma in the weeks and months it took him to reach the U.S. than most of us will know in a lifetime.

March 1, 1994

All Christians have big celebrations on Christmas and Easter. But I wonder how many churches remember and celebrate the day of Pentecost. When I look back at my church life at home, I cannot remember having a special celebration service on the Sunday of Pentecost. Maybe that is the Korean Presbyterian Church way. But I do not think it's the right way.

May 31, 1993

Worldwide Communion Sunday (or 'All Nations Heritage Sunday/' as it is often called in the Christian Reformed Church) is held each year on the first Sunday of October. The day presents a wonderful opportunity to broaden the perspective of the local church and experience and celebrate "the Communion of the Saints," as is professed in the Apostles' Creed.

August 31, 1992

On the Navajo reservation, many congregations are small. People know each other well, and the informal worship service flows naturally into a fellowship meal. Families worship together, feeling no need for nurseries or childrens worship. If it gets a little noisy, the minister just speaks a little louder!

The service that follows is told in narrative and outline form. See the sidebars in this article for specific examples of prayers and other liturgical elements common to a typical Navajo Christian Service.

May 31, 1992
Funerals in Other Cultures

Funeral traditions are potent. They touch our hearts. They express our deepest understandings of life and death. They form major landmarks in the life of every one of us.

Funeral traditions are enduring. They change slowly, if at all. Each subculture, and each group within a subculture, seems to have its own ways of marking the end of life.

March 1, 1992

Stephen Githumbi, raised in a Kenyan village and later educated in theology in the US, has had close experience with the Christian church in both cultures. He offers the following observations on celebration in African worship as "a way of living out the Christian faith that can be instructive to the American church."

August 31, 1991




Songs of Praised:1

December 1, 1989

Sacred choral music from the Afro-American tradition

In the past thirty years, particularly since Vatican II in the Roman Catholic Church, there has been a continuing growth of interest in non-Western sacred choral music. Every denomination has diligently sought to assimilate this music into their worship services. Many have been unsuccessful because of a lack of performance-practice knowledge of the material and the sheer frustration of acquiring the music in written form.

August 31, 1989

If you were to attend a Sunday service at the Korean Community Church of Lakewood, California, you would need to decide which one of their three congregations to join in worship.

The first is the Korean-speaking congregation, composed primarily of about a hundred Korean- American adults, that worships in the sanctuary of Mayfair Reformed Church (from which the congregation currently leases space). Rev. John Y. Kim is the pastor and primary worship leader of this congregation.