The IWS Family Newsletter

July 2006                                                        June Session Edition                                      Volume 3, Number 3

In This Issue

Click to go to the article.

·   In this issue

·   Seminar reflections

·   Seminar feedback

·    Keifert analyzes IWS

·    Congrats new grads!

·   New on the Web site

·   Coming: Borecki in India

·    McClaren in 07
























From the seminar:

"The church isn't meant to be a showplace for music.  Rather, music must serve the liturgy and the liturgy must serve the Word" (Harold Best, Alumni Seminar 2006).































From the seminar:

"Applying discernment and appropriateness in choosing church music is a matter of conscience-ridden, prayer-driven choice- making as compared to concern for what other churches are doing.  Church growth by envy is a terrible thing" (Harold Best, Alumni Seminar 2006).

























We need your thesis abstract

DWS graduates: If you have not yet emailed your thesis abstract to me, please do so today.  As our Web site goes public these lists will be a valuable research tool.  Thanks to all of you who have already sent yours.  Check out the thesis lists--this is clearly a deep reservoir of knowledge and practical application.

























Keifert on his IWS experience:

"I saw a group of people having fun—delighting in learning and being with one another—while working hard.  I saw no one not fully engaged" (Patrick Keifert, June 2006).



























Keifert on his IWS experience:

"You are giving respect to practitioners as serious theologians.  I saw in every single class practitioners, without apology, being invited to do hard theological reflection on their experience and being honored as persons who do so.  That’s a big deal.  You are sitting on the top of a revolution in theological education" (Patrick Keifert, June 2006).




























Keifert on his IWS experience:

"I saw exemplary team teaching.  This is a high virtue and hard-won achievement"  (Patrick Keifert, June 2006).


















Contact Information
The Institute for Worship Studies
Florida Campus
151 Kingsley Ave.
Orange Park, FL 32073

Ph: 904.264.2172
Fax: 904.278.2878

Director of Alumni Activities and Editor of Anamnesis
Kent Walters
7323 Westlane Ave.
Jenison, MI 49428
H: 616.457.5234

C: 616.304.9363
W: 616.538.9350 ex 15
Fax: 616.538.3564

In This Issue . . .

We remember and celebrate the blessings of the recent June Session in this edition of Anamnesis. 

We all know that IWS in a unique community and that God works in deep and significant ways in this place and people.  He has done remarkable things in our lives and in the lives of those we serve as a result of our IWS experience.  May you be renewed and relive the joy on the journey in reading about God's hand--ever present and ever faithful--in the events of the June Session at IWS.

Kent Walters

Serving as your link to the IWS community

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Reflections on Alumni Seminar 2006

Our third annual alumni gathering in Orange Park was a memorable occasion in many ways.  We began on Saturday with a lunch meeting with Bob followed by the viewing of his Wednesday presidential address on video (click here for the audio link and handout link).  The remainder of the afternoon was spent visiting classes. Some of us gathered at Carrabba's on Saturday evening for some great food and conversation.  Highlights on Sunday included joining the Grace Anglican (formerly Grace Episcopal) family in worship at Orange Park High School, and participating in the commencement service that evening. The two-day seminar with Dr. Harold Best occurred on Monday and Tuesday and was very well received.  During the evenings we were able to attend the practicums.

Enough of the dry details.  How about some more pictures?  Click on the link to jump to the picture page on the Alumni Web site.

The following testimonies provide personal reflection on the event, which, true to IWS form, was refreshing and life-changing. 

Back to Scripture (Steve Blasdel - Beta, DWS 2003):

Harold Best's seminar was a reminder of how encompassing worship is and its significance in our lives. His presentation was comprehensive, well thought out, biblical, and applicable in today’s church. I plan to review the notes I took later this summer, but the first impact was to draw me back to scripture and consider where I have strayed from what I know to be true biblically. I greatly appreciated the interaction with him and former classmates.

Truly Inspirational! (Brian Walrath - Alpha, DWS 2002):

[Editor's note: sorry for big picture, Brian.  It just seemed right.]  

The Alumni Seminar was a great time of learning and discussion...just like the 'old' days. It felt good to be back in class (without the pressure of homework to follow) and it was also nostalgically sweet to hear some of my former classmates posing questions like they used to do. I appreciated Harold's flexibility and his willingness to alter his lecture plan, distribute his notes, and then 'wing it' with Q & As that took us more 'organically' and less linearly through his planned agenda. I was blessed by his depth of knowledge, but more so by his vulnerability and candor in sharing his own ongoing pilgrimage spiritually and intellectually. That was truly inspirational! (When I grow up I'd like to be as much a life-long-pilgrim/learner as I see Harold and Bob are.)

New Resolve for Worship Renewal (Robin Ziegenfuss - Delta, DWS 2004):

Harold Best had a tremendous influence on how I perceive the role of music in worship through his book, Music Through the Eyes of Faith.  So when I heard he was going to speak at the Alumni Seminar, it was a foregone conclusion that I would attend.  This was my first trip back to the school since graduating in 2004.  It was great listening to Dr. Best talk about his philosophy of worship and participating in discussions with him about his thoughts and ideas.  He was personally transparent, professionally inspiring, and academically challenging.  Well worth the price of admission!  An added benefit was the opportunity to renew friendships.  I also got to meet current students and reassure them that, indeed, it is possible to graduate!  It was great to experience the camaraderie and to enjoy the morning worship with Darrell.  I was flooded with memories while I was there and left with a new resolve and determination to continue to push for worship renewal in my home church.  It was a personal and professional blessing to attend.  I am already looking forward to next summer.

A Spiritual Retreat (Liz Wetherby - Aleph, MWS 2004):

As is true of my entire experience at IWS, the Alumni Seminar ministered to me deeply.  It was a privilege to be there. Just being on campus was a spiritual retreat.  These highlights come to mind: singing the prayers before meals and the wonderful arrangement of "The Lord's Prayer" in worship, being with our remarkable and God-centered faculty, hearing Darrell's chapel messages as he explored the signs and wonders of Pentecost, worshiping in the practicums.  All this was richness that could only come from God.  On top of all that, it was a beautiful gift to sit under the teaching of Harold Best. At times I felt (as someone else put it) as if I were trying to take a sip of water from a fire hydrant.  There was a fullness to his teaching and a sweetness to his spirit that made academic knowledge go straight to the heart. His presentation was deep and authentic and my life is tremendously richer and my service to God more meaningful as a result of his teaching.  I recommend the Alumni Seminar to all alumni. In every way it is a continuation of the unique educational experience that is only found at IWS (without the homework!).  Thanks to those whose efforts and vision made it possible.

The Unexpected (Linda Borecki - Zeta, DWS 2005):

Based on what I have experienced of IWS life and events, the June reunion was not exactly what I expected.  I arrived anticipating the enlightenment and adrenaline rush of Big Scheduled Events--lunch with Bob and alumni, seminars with Harold Best, graduation pomp and circumstance.  Those all were great, but I left remembering and changed most by the unexpectancies--small graces that catch me off-guard and then lodge in my memory.  Here are a few.  When I returned to the abode of the family who housed me each semester, my host said, “Welcome home.”  A Darrell Harris phrase from a chapel message lingers: remain in readiness.  Kent Walters blew the tough-as-nails Alpha class image by rendering an unceasing stream of camaraderie, nurture, and Excedrin.  Carla Waterman’s eloquent prayer of healing for my killer headache, “Dear Lord, please fix Linda’s head,” still makes me laugh. (God and Excedrin did the trick.) One more:  Ex-Grace Episcopal Rector Sam Pascoe was assisting in communion in the sanctuary from which he is now exiled, and while others were singing, praying, or meditating upon transcendent meta-narrative truths, I was watching Sam serve under the authority of a visiting priest who did not know the community and its rhythm of liturgy.  I waited to see what wry sarcasm or one-upmanship might occur.  Yet during communion the presider referenced Sam and deferred to his silent and subtle leading of liturgy via eye contact and body language.  I was impacted by the humility and gentility they exhibited in trying circumstances.  Just another serendipitous grace to be expected in the cosmic story of salvation (and IWS).

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Alumni Seminar Feedback

As promised, here is a summary of the comments received on the evaluation forms at the conclusion of the Alumni Seminar in June. We received responses from 14 of the 18 registrants present and the following data was compiled from those forms.

Evaluation and Feedback Responses

1)     We extended the seminar to include activities on Saturday based on input from last year’s registrants.  How did we do?  Please comment on the schedule and planned events.


·   Everything was just right (10)

·   Prefer longer (2)

·   Prefer a 2-day format (2)

Positive Comments (things liked):

·    Lunch with Bob

·    Worship at Grace Anglican

·    Being free from Sunday responsibilities

·    Visiting classes (11)

·    Saturday PM meal with alumni (11)


·    More time with Bob

·    More time to visit classes

·    Session with the speaker on Saturday


One of the great things about the IWS family is that we (alumni) are always welcome to come early for and leave late from the seminar event in order to visit classes, attend chapel services, etc.  So, you are free to craft your own “retreat” schedule.  I’ll encourage the faculty to have additional copies of their class notes/syllabi available for future sessions.

2)     Based on the above, would you like to see a shorter or longer timeframe for the entire seminar? If so, what would you delete or add?


Most everyone liked the timeframe (Saturday noon through Tuesday afternoon).  3 people felt it could be longer to include more time to visit classes and/or to extend the seminar time with the speaker into Wednesday morning.  Note: scheduling is always limited to the speaker’s availability.

3)     Please comment on the speaker and seminar content.



The responses were consistent in praise

and high marks for Harold Best. 


Here are the comments:


  • Outstanding

  • The “Best!” literally and figuratively. 

  • A real treat.  Rich.

  • A very rich time.  Real and personal.   

  • Probably a bit slanted toward the musician.

  • Harold was excellent. I had not engaged the topic as deeply as this seminar presented it.

  • Excellent, excellent, excellent! He deals with things rarely if ever touched and does it all humbly yet with authority.
  • Good! Interesting and helpful even though we strayed a little at the end dealing with sexuality.  Relevant, but would have rather spent more time on his books.
  • Harold was so wonderful.  I appreciated his heart and openness.  I am so grateful to God for these days.
  • Dr. Best was excellent.  Content was superb.
  • We have truly sat at the feet of a master.
  • Excellent, though I wish the content was more deliberately connected to the broader issue of worship.
  • He was wholly present.
  • Giving us the outline and notes was great.  The question/answer times were most helpful.
  • Incredible! I really wasn’t looking forward to this seminar that much, but his spirit and humility totally captivated me. I have been in a place of apathy and dryness.  His words, especially on Monday morning, were a source of life and refreshing for me.
  • The better portions (in my humble opinion) were the times Harold ditched the outline and shared from his heart or responded to questions.

4)     Is June the preferred month for the annual seminar or should we consider doing it during the January Session?


·    13 of 14 responders prefer June to January.  Several commented on the benefit of being able to attend the graduation in June.  (It was really great to have so many grads process in their regalia!).

·    A couple people suggested that we consider a gathering both in June and January.  Perhaps that will be necessary in the future as our preferred class size and available space limits us to 20-25 registrants.  And, some alumni haven’t been able to participate in June due to ministry constraints.

5)     What suggestions do you have to improve future seminar events?  Suggested speakers, topics?  Logistical or organizational ideas?


·    Several speaker suggestions were made, along with the idea to plan more alumni meals during the session, and to consider a seminar on senior pastor-worship/music pastor roles and relationship.

·     I, too, have considered for some time the value of addressing the staff relationships issue in the seminar context.  It seems that we could easily plan a seminar on this topic and invite the pastor and worship pastor to attend together.  Do you have any suggestions for a speaker/facilitator?  Perhaps a senior pastor-worship pastor team would be good.  Can you imagine the impact the IWS community could have on staff relationships and worship in general in this context, not to mention the potential healing of stressed or fractured relationships?  From my informal calculation, the majority of IWS church musicians/pastors are experiencing or have experienced moderate to significant stress in relational and/or theological/philosophical areas with members of their church staff. 

·    What are your thoughts?  I’ve started a post on the Alumni Message Board on the subject.  Let’s get some dialogue started from which we can gain some sense of perspective on the range of issues that most often produce stress and steal joy in the journey.  How is the Lord granting grace and humility in your situation?

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Patrick Keifert Visits IWS

Dr. Patrick Keifert is Professor of Systematic Theology at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and also spends considerable time in research and consulting around the world through Church Innovations, a non-profit institute he helped found. 

He spent a day on campus in June visiting classes and interacting with students and faculty.  Bob invited him to share about his work and ministry with the IWS community that evening unaware that as a part of that talk he would offer a critical analysis of IWS as a result of what he had experienced in his visit.  Listen to his truly remarkable and perceptive comments about IWS (audio link 16:05).

Read a few of his observations in the sidebar on the left.  To read more, click here.

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Congratulations to our 2006 Grads!

The fifth IWS Commencement was held on Sunday, June 18 in the context of another inspiring eucharistic service of worship.  We welcomed 23 new members into the IWS Alumni Association that night.  We're now 121 strong!  [Click to see the 2006 "regalia" pics].

Click to see the commencement bulletin and graduates insert.

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New on the Alumni Web site

I always concentrate on adding resources, pictures, audio files, etc. after each of the sessions.  And, of course, after the June session I expand the Alumni Directory and thesis lists by adding the new graduates and their thesis titles.  So, there is a lot of new stuff.  You've seen some of it if you have clicked on the links above.  There's more.  Go to the Web site and browse around.

I'm especially excited to be able to make the audio links available.  You can easily download some inspiring listening on your computer or portable mp3 player.  Burn a CD to listen to in the car. 

AND--I will soon begin editing video files of the session with Harold Best and other video recordings from the archives to make available on the Web site.  Be patient though, this will take a little time.

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Alumni Focus: 30 Days in India

Linda Borecki (Zeta, DWS 2005) spent 30 days in India last January.  Read about her experiences in the next edition.

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Alumni Seminar 2007

Start planning now to attend next year's post-graduate event.  The dates are June 16-19, 2007 and our guest will be Brian McLaren on the topic of the emerging church.  Save the dates on your calendar.  More details later.  Brain McLaren's Web site.

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