Professor Awarded Grant

Father Andrew Hofer awarded Vital Worship Grant

Reverend Andrew Hofer, O.P., Associate Professor of Patristics and Director of the PFIC Doctoral Program, was recently awarded a Vital Worship Grant for 2019 by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. The grant will support Father Hofer’s sabbatical during the 2019-2020 academic year during which time he will be working on a new book titled, Patristic Preaching: The Word of God Becoming Flesh.

The book will study the lives and words of early Christian preachers in order to harvest ancient wisdom for the transformation of lives today. The subjects of each chapter of the book will cover a diverse range of cultures, languages, times, and needs. Preachers from the Greek, Syriac, and Latin Churches will be included who lived between the third and early seventh centuries.

The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) has announced that Father Hofer is among the 14 Teacher-Scholars to receive a grant for the 2019-2020 academic year as part of its Vital Worship Grants Program.

This new stream of the Vital Worship Grants program recognizes that teacher-scholars in many disciplines have a unique role to play in strengthening and nurturing the life of Christian worshiping communities. These inaugural teacher-scholar grants will engage disciplines traditionally associated with worship such as theology and music, but also from philosophy, history, education, and African American Studies and women’s studies. These projects have a variety of emphases—intercultural music, patristic preaching practices, worship and earth care, worship across the spectrum of ability and disability, Sabbath keeping practices, women’s leadership, congregational worship and affordable housing, worship and social justice advocacy, and more—but have as a common purpose a desire to both deepen people’s understanding of worship and strengthen practices of public worship and faith formation.

Kathy Smith, leader of the Vital Worship Grants Team, said, “We are delighted to join with these distinguished scholars to explore the ways that scholarship in different fields can contribute to the deepening of worship practices in congregations. We were grateful for a number of excellent proposals and are eager to facilitate their learning and ours, regarding worship across North America.”

This year’s recipients include scholars at five research universities, four seminaries, and five regional Christian colleges. They represent eight states, one Canadian province, and the District of Columbia.

Each grant (ranging from $11,000 to $18,000) will fund a research project beginning in 2019 that shows promise to serve worshiping communities by strengthening Christian public worship practices.

This is the inaugural round of the Teacher-Scholar stream of the Vital Worship Grants Program, which has been awarding grants to Worshiping Communities since 2000. This new stream of grant-making seeks to foster vital worship by supporting teacher-scholars in any field as they do integrated research that connects worship with other disciplines of study and practice. The goal is to advance the flourishing of Christian public worship practices in worshiping communities.

“Teacher-scholars from a wide variety of disciplines have so much to contribute to congregations and parishes—helping us all see things we otherwise might miss, offering access to essential wisdom for ministry. We are grateful for each of these teacher-scholars and the promise of their work for strengthening congregational life,” said John Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.

Since it began in the year 2000, the Vital Worship Grants Program has now awarded 827 grants to churches, schools and organizations across North America for projects that generate thoughtfulness and energy for public worship and faith formation at the local, grass-roots level. An advisory board of pastors and teachers from a variety of backgrounds assists in the grant selections, and the program is generously supported by Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. Founded in 1937, the Endowment’s major areas of programming are religion, education, and community development.

For more information on the grants program, including a complete list of this year’s grants recipients, please see worship.calvin.edu/grants.

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