Congratulations! Eden Seminary’s Professor of Worship and Preaching, Christopher Grundy, has been awarded a $17,500 Teacher-Scholar Grant for the 2022-23 academic year by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, one of 16 to be given this year. Dr. Grundy will be coordinating a project aimed at inspiring congregations to begin establishing the kind of local, outdoor worship spaces that are needed for an era of ecological crisis and recovery. The project will focus on fostering imagination about worship spaces that can help to draw people into a deeper relationship with their natural environment, experience that environment as sacred and sacramental, form them spiritually as agents of ecological justice and recovery, and help them to process and respond faithfully to increasing ecological disasters. The point is to shift not just the language, symbolism, and subject matter of worship, but also the locations and embodied practices in worship spaces designed for an era of ecological crisis.
The project includes events to which the public is invited. Watch for these events in the fall of 2022 and the spring of 2023. These public events will launch and then cap off a cross-disciplinary design competition for theological students of Eden Seminary and landscape architecture students of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University, St. Louis. Competition teams will include both seminarians and landscape architecture students. The design contest will provide a vehicle for conversation, imagining, and grounding of theory in actual designs. Work on designs and accompanying narratives for the competition will be built into coursework offered at the two schools. A second public event, held in the spring of 2023 will reveal winners of the competition and provide an opportunity for the winning teams to present their designs to the public.
In support of this project, Dr. Sonja B. Williams, Dean of the Seminary writes, Dr. Grundy’s “keen sense of how to balance innovation with tradition in worship have been central to the formation of a whole generation of students. As the world continues to come to grips with climate change, environmental racism, and increasing climate disasters, this project promises to foster much-needed imagination among worship leaders and students of the sacred.”
This program is made possible through a Vital Worship Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Michigan, with funds provided by Lilly Endowment Inc. Since 2000, Vital Worship grants by the Calvin Worship Institute have been awarded to worshiping communities and teacher-scholars in 45+ states and provinces and in 40+ denominations across the spectrum of Christian traditions, including Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, and Non-Denominational communities. Geared toward teacher-scholars in any field doing integrated research that connects worship with other disciplines of study and practice, the grant funds a research project that shows promise to serve worshiping communities by strengthening Christian public worship spaces. 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.