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News from the Hill April 16, 2014 | back to index

Andover Newton receives Calvin Institute’s Vital Worship Grant

NEWTON CENTRE, Mass. (April 15, 2014) — President Nick Carter is pleased to announce that the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) in Grand Rapids, Michigan has awarded Andover Newton Theological School a Vital Worship Grant.

The grant will fund a year-long project through which Wilson Chapel will become a setting where students and faculty discern theologically sound and liturgically effective uses of visual media in worship. It is one of 31 grants totaling more than $300,000 awarded for 2014 by the CICW to churches, schools and seminaries across North America. 

image“We are grateful for the opportunity to think deeply about how visual media might aid our worship,” said Adam Hearlson, Assistant professor of Preaching and Worship & Director of Wilson Chapel. “Clergy are increasingly being called upon to create multi-sensory worship opportunities, and we at Andover Newton are committed to training future clergy who are equipped and ready for such a task.” The Visual Media Project at Andover Newton is designed to facilitate discussion around the many ways in which moving and static pictures might be faithfully employed in a worship setting. “At different points in Christian history, the visual image has been used as a creative medium of worship, and the Visual Media Project will work to recapture the spirit of our forefathers and foremothers whose worship was deepened by the presence of visual images,” says Hearlson. “We are excited to partner with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship as we begin such an ambitious project.

“We learn a tremendous amount from these programs,” said CICW director John Witvliet, “from the wisdom demonstrated in designing them and the insights gleaned from implementing and adapting them as they unfold. We look forward to sharing insights from these projects with a larger audience in our future programming over the next several years."

The CICW’s Worship Grants program (formerly known as the Worship Renewal Grants Program) is now in its 15th year and has seen more than 600 projects funded since its inception.

“This year,” said Kathy Smith, leader of the Vital Worship Grants Team, “CICW approved proposals from 13 denominations, 21 states and two Canadian provinces. The 2014 group includes 22 congregations and regional church bodies; seven colleges, universities and seminaries; and two ministry organizations.” An advisory board of pastors and teachers from a variety of backgrounds gave valuable assistance in the grant selection process.

For the 2014 grant recipients, learning will begin in earnest this June when project directors for all 31 grants gather on Calvin’s campus to dialogue not only with CICW staff, but also with the recipients of the 2013 grants, who will come to campus to share the results of their year-long projects.

“The synergy between old and new grant recipients is exciting,” said Smith, “because so much learning happens through conversations over meals and while viewing posters produced by the concluding grant projects.”

The Vital Worship Grants Program is generously supported by Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. Founded in 1937, the Endowment’s major areas of concern are community development, education, and religion.

For more information on the grants program, including a complete list of this year’s grants recipients, please see: